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Nothing to wear? Shop offers a designer dress good for one night

or her 26th birthday, Kellie Hernandez wanted to get all glammed up for a night on the town, but her champagne tastes — designer dresses and professionally styled hair and makeup — didn’t quite square with her modest salary as a medical assistant.

Fortunately, she had an inside line to a modern version of Cinderella’s godmother — her friend Antoinette Sotelo.

Sotelo recently opened Dollhouse Cilhouette, an upscale dress-rental boutique that also offers hair styling and professional makeup for clients. Her business strategy: Why spend $200 or more on a dress you’ll wear once or twice instead of applying that money toward renting a dozen fabulous frocks?

A slim young woman with a keen interest in fashion, Sotelo is a fan of Rent the Runway and similar websites but less enamored of gambling on a gown that might not look as good in person as it did online.

So she looked at the success of bridal rental gown companies and thought the same logic might apply to cocktail dresses. Why rent online, she reasoned, if you have a chance to check out the fit of a dress before handing over the fee?

So she left her day job in finance and opened Dollhouse Cilhouette last December. The unusual name combines Sotelo’s given name along with that of co-owner Priscilla Freyta. It’s housed in a narrow west Denver storefront that previously served as a bridal consignment shop.

There are two clothing racks, one with dressy jackets and one full of cocktail-length dresses. The frocks sparkle with sequins, offer floaty bits of sheer fabric, sport rows of ruching that go into next week, or maintain clean, classic lines that would look right at home at a “Mad Men” party.

The sizes range from 0 to 16, and the rental fee ranges from $10 to about $60, depending on the original price.

“I think this is an awesome idea,” Hernandez says.

“I love Bebe, but I’ll only wear a dress for one occasion, maybe two, and the dress goes to waste because I don’t want to be seen in it again. And when she added the hair stylist and makeup, I thought, omigosh, I can do all of it there and not have to go from place to place.”

Packages that combine a dress rental, hair styling and professional makeup start at $88. Sotelo also offers private parties for three to five clients.

For $143 per person, they get the store to themselves for up to 7 1/2 hours, plus a memory book of photographs, full makeup and hair styling, and access to any dress, purse or jacket.

A Beautiful Bride package, with a detailed updo and professional makeup, also is available.


Dollhouse Cilhouette
When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment
Where: 4014 Tennyson St.
Info: 720-389-5489, or

By Claire Martin

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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