By Carol Fryday, Bloomfield Development Corporation
It’s a cold, grey February day on Liberty Avenue, but you only have to step inside Allure, Ellen Levick’s warm and inviting boutique, to see the world in bold, bright technicolor.
For over twenty-three years, this Pittsburgh artist has curated a multi-colored, multi-textured, and multi-cultural collection of women’s apparel at her storefront in Bloomfield.
Levick, a petite blond with a pedigree that includes Fine Art degrees from both Seton Hill and Carnegie-Mellon Universities, enjoys dressing in clothing from her own collection. Today she greets customers in black leggings overlaid with an asymmetrical yellow net vest and bright, lemon-colored boots—apparel not likely to be found at the local mall.
Though Levick points out that chain stores serve a purpose, she is interested in helping women develop their own, unique style. To that end, she infuses her shop with inventive displays designed to inspire, arranging richly woven textiles with patterned purses, bold belts, and her own, one-of-a-kind jewelry, wall art, and sculpture.
Given that Levick’s wares are designed to both fit and flatter a variety of shapes and sizes, she has acquired a devoted clientele, regularly shipping goods pictured on her store’s Facebook page to customers across the country. This repeat business may also have something to do with her philosophy of “carrying pieces that are ultimately practical because they can be worn worn in a variety of situations.”
When Kathy Greene of Mt. Lebanon emerged from the dressing room in a long, black skirt with a leopard-print waistband, Levick showed how it could be dressed down during the day, with a t-shirt and jean jacket, or dressed up for evenings out with a camisole and shear blouse.
Levick’s eclectic taste is derived from a broad and diverse range of sources. She has traveled extensively, spending time in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania; and for three years, lived in the Middle East where she was drawn to the colorful outdoor bazaars where vendors loudly hawked everything from live chickens to handmade rugs.
Though it may seem a bit of a leap, Levick ended our conversation with a brief description of how her work has been impacted by Quantum Physics, the repetitive and infinite patterns found in fractals, and the theory that all physical aspects of the universe are interconnected.
Thus, Levick provides an environment where her clientele has an opportunity to see that contrasts in textures, colors, and shapes are integral part of the whole. It is this sense of wholeness that Levick seeks to both partake of and to impart, making a visit to her shop an Alluring proposition.