Sirens at the Beach, an upscale boutique lingerie store in Grayton Beach, celebrated its first anniversary April 18 with a trunk show and soiree.
Formerly working as an assistant manager at Tommy Bahama's for four years, owner Darcy Pentel felt the need to branch out.
"I opened Sirens out of necessity from a need to find proper undergarments that fit without sacrificing femininity," she said.
Once she recognized the need, she began doing her research and flew to the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris in January 2012.
"It was hard to get anyone to talk to me there, though, since I went without knowing anyone, and I didn't even own a store at that time," she said.
Attending the show, however, opened her eyes to the possibilities and she saw thousands of different lines of lingerie.
She also met British designer Michelle Blenkinsopp from Cornwall, England, one of the few designers who was open to hearing about Pentel and her aspirations. Now more than a year later, Pentel returned the favor by inviting Blenkinsopp and her Shell Belle Couture collection to the States to help celebrate the store’s anniversary.
Blenkinsopp is an internationally acclaimed designer who has designed for several global lingerie brands, but this was her debut trunk showing in the United States.
Blenkinsopp said much of her inspiration comes from her love of vintage lingerie and finding them by scouring flea markets. That love leads her to use intricate styling in her creations. With an eye for detail and a nostalgic approach to design using silk prints, French lace and appliqué techniques, she uses a variety of fabrics, laces, colors and forms. She devoted her efforts to lingerie more than 20 years ago when she created Shell Belle Couture.
Pentel is a native of Miramar Beach, as is her father. She attended the University of Florida and studied art history and classical studies. This is her first business venture as owner of a shop.
Pentel believes she has an eye for femininity and function, which leads her to be a natural at what she does.
"At the same time, I wanted to bring lines here that are not readily available here or in the United States," she said.
Sirens carries 25-30 different lines from various designers.
"I always search for the newest up-and-coming designer," she said.
In her shop, expect to find the ever-day basics of bras, panties, loungewear, and resort wear — in cotton, fancy lace or bridal patterns, all in 1,000-square feet of space.
To learn more about Shell Belle Couture, visit www.shellbellecouture.com.
Visit Sirens at the Beach online at www.sirensatthebeach.comor call 850-213-0021. You can also find them on Facebook.