Presented by Land Rover Des Moines
Land Rover Des Moines

Founder Faythe Dornink, left, and her daughter, designer Sarah Dornink, right, operate Dornink Couture in Des Moines' East Village.

Haute Couture Designed and Crafted in East Village

Ah, the French Room at Younkers – that was high fashion. Perhaps it inspired Des Moines native Roy Halston to design his elegant clothing.

The French Room and Halston are both long gone. But quality ladies’ clothing lives on in the city. You can have your own, bought ready to wear from several fashionable shops, or even custom designed for you exclusively at Dornink Couture in the East Village.

Faythe Dornink founded the shop that bears her name in 1981. Her daughter Sarah literally grew up surrounded by the business, as it operated from their home in early years. Sarah went to the University of Iowa, majoring in mathematics, and then to fashion school in New York, then returned to join her mom as head designer in the shop at 518 E. Grand Ave.

Men typically acquire custom-made clothing – suits, certainly – for work. That’s not so much the case with women, whose focus seems to be on finely tailored clothes they can wear to a special event, such as a charity outing. Weddings are a big deal, both for bridal gowns and designs for mothers of the bride (or groom).

Clients will sometimes come to Dornink with photos of a piece of clothing that has caught their eye. They might want a different color, or a slight change in the shape. And of course, they will get to choose a fabric of their own. Sarah Dornink says all of their material comes from suppliers in California and New York.

The showroom and fitting rooms are upstairs, while the work gets done in the basement by Faythe, Sarah and two assistants.
"We cut and sew everything here," says Sarah.

The Dorninks and their crew can spend as a much as 40 hours cutting, sewing and stitching all of this finery together. Because these garments are custom made, and conform so precisely to each client’s body, Sarah Dornink says her shop can attain a high degree of comfort with the clothing it offers. Pricing will not stress a customer, either, as a mother-of-the-bride outfit runs an average of  $700-$800.

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Legacy Bridge

Fashion Shows Raise Money and Style

A lot of fashion wear and custom-made clothing gets shown off to Des Moines audiences at charitable events and design shows.

Past, present and future shows include Runway Ballet, staged to benefit Ballet Des Moines. There also is a fashion show hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphona Society’s Iowa Chapter, and the Black Tie Gala put on by the Variety Club of Iowa. The nonprofit Iowa Army of Pink, which seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of dense breast tissue, is hosting a fashion show and luncheon April 13 at the Hyperion Club in Johnston.

One of the more ambitious events is the fashion show held annually by the Department of Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management at Iowa State University. Thousands of people crowd into Stephens Auditorium on ISU’s campus in Ames to watch 100-plus models showcase neckwear, dresses, suitsanything that will fit on your bodythat are all designed by students. Judges from the design world are on hand to award smart efforts.

We also have the Bubble Ball, coming up on April 6 at the Iowa Events Center. This is not high fashion but rather fun fashion since it features dozens of designs that all usebubble wrap! More than $1 million has been raised by this event over the years to fund the work of ChildServe. The charity provides the bubble wrap, and professional and amateur designers provide some pretty wacky outfits.

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Denton Homes
801 Chophouse

Home Sales Fall to Three-Year Low

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that existing home sales dropped 1.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million units last month.

That was the lowest level since November 2015 and well below analysts’ expectations of a rate of 5.0 million units. December’s sales pace was revised slightly higher. The drop in January came after months of weakness in the U.S. housing market. Existing home sales were down 8.5 percent from a year ago. >FULL ARTICLE

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