Named after George and Mary Bailey’s daughter Zuzu from the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life, ZuZu’s Petals on Thayer is equally as cute and charming as that young girl who once lit up the silver screen. Owner Lois Hollingsworth along with manager and buyer Dorna “D” Schaffer have impeccable taste for selecting high-end and designer women’s dresses, jewelry, lingerie and assorted apparel and accessories. From the sidewalk, the boutique (which has been open in Providence for 18 years) bears festive window displays that hint at the girly treasures waiting inside.
ZuZu’s carries seasonal items, and the first thing of note upon entering through the front door is a rack of sophisticated designer bikinis, in prints and solids, grouped together by color. Just beyond the swimsuits stands a glass case full of antique-looking jewelry. The dainty charm bracelets by Catherine Popesco’s La Vie Parisienne stole my heart; tiny Eiffel towers and fleur-de-lises bedecked the Parisian bracelet, while miniature horseshoes and emerald-colored shamrocks blinged-out the Ireland sparkler. I could envision myself sitting poolside in the black strapless two-piece, the gold- plated bracelet on my wrist, sparkling in the summer sun.
Speaking of warmer weather, D tells me that all of their dresses – which ZuZu’s is most known for – are transitional pieces that can be worn from spring into (and throughout) the summer. New spring dresses – in all the bright, punchy colors you’d expect – have just come in, and more summer frocks will arrive at the end of April. While perusing the racks, the timeless sound of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice filled the air; D has great taste in clothes and music. Making for an even more enjoyable shopping experience, she offered to hang up the two items I held in my hand within seconds of me grabbing them off the racks.
The whole gang is here: Betsey Johnson, Lilly Pulitzer, Rebecca Taylor, BCBG Max Azria, Susana Monaco and Nicole Miller. Shelly Segal was there too, with her Laundry. My eye went immediately to the sequin numbers (typical), then to an adorable navy and white Ikat shift by Shoshanna. There were floral dresses perfect for a wedding shower and jeweled ones that would be ideal to show off on the dance floor at a prom or wedding. A number of body-con bandage dresses and Tibi structured minis took my mind far, far away. Vegas anyone?