Patrice Gentile makes clothes that are part Hitchcock heroine, part Southern belle—and all feminine. Her line, Aliceanna, is a modern homage to a time when women wore pearls even for a trip to the grocery store. In addition to the leading ladies of 1950s films, Patrice's inspirations include her grandmothers, Alice and Anna (hence the name). Anna's uniform was her trusty A-line dresses and pearls, and Alice always epitomized practicality. Though they were polar opposites in their fashion sense, Alice and Anna always looked polished and pressed.
Descended from a long line of seamstresses and tailors, Patrice, 27, grew up in Pasadena, Maryland. She received a degree in fashion design from Virginia's Radford University. After spending a year in New York (where she became disenchanted designing accessories), she moved to Annapolis. Now, she sews each piece of her clothing by hand and names each one after a friend or family member.
Boutique owners in Maryland and Washington, D.C., have taken notice of her clothing, and her line is carried by shops such as Annapolis' Vivo! and Baltimore's Doubledutch Boutique. This month, Patrice debuts her ready-to-wear line (from $125) at Nana in Washington, D.C.
"What I love about the South is that women have this way of dressing that is fun and beautiful," Patrice says. "I like to design clothing that makes a woman feel lovely, with a bit of whimsy thrown in."
Patrice's trademarks are high natural waists, pleated skirts, and carefully placed ruffles. Her latest favorite creation, "Louise," is named after her mother. The navy cotton sateen dress features a fitted bodice and a wide-flared skirt with three ruffled tiers.
Where To Find Aliceanna:
6 Fleet Street, Annapolis; vivoannapolis.com
3616 Falls Road, Baltimore; doubledutchboutique.com
3068 Mount Pleasant Street NW., Washington, D.C.; nanadc.com