Casey Aulisa’s dream bells dress, a best ivory “princess brawl gown” lined with lace, chunk and pearls, took a year to accomplish and several all-encompassing alterations afore it was accessible for her airing bottomward the alley Friday in La Grange.
The 23-year-old bride-to-be accustomed at Eva’s Bridals of Oak Lawn to aces up the $3,500 dress on Wednesday, aloof in time to see the bazaar go up in flames. Eva’s was destroyed, bargain to a blend of burst and angled animate and a accumulation of hundreds of broiled dresses, including Aulisa’s.
The bonfire created agitation and ambiguity Thursday amid brides-to-be, bridesmaids, bells planners and parents.
“I apperceive there could be worse things, but you absorb your accomplished activity cat-and-mouse for this day,” said Jeanna Piunti, 38, who absent her Maggie Sottero clothes with a tank-style top in the fire. “I’m nine canicule away, and this happens. This is a above accident for a wedding.”
But the bonfire additionally led to an access of generosity, as several bells dress shops as able-bodied as above brides came to the accomplishment with offers to accord gowns.
Aulisa said that aural 24 hours afterwards the fire, at atomic 50 bodies offered to accord her a bells dress.
“At aboriginal it was so hard,” Aulisa said. “It was like, what am I activity to do now? But it all affectionate of makes you apprehend how abounding acceptable bodies there are.”
Aulisa didn’t accept to await on strangers. Her quick-thinking maid of account looked up conjugal food on her corpuscle buzz and begin one that would adapt a dress for Aulisa in time for her bells day.
The anticipation of accepting a donated dress beneath than three weeks afore her destination bells in Cozumel, Mexico, drew tears of joy from Kiyona Horne, 32, of Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood.
She had cried all night afterwards acquirements the strapless clothes she bought Monday was ruined.
“I anticipation it was a dream,” she said.
Donated dresses for those who absent a clothes are actuality accustomed by the Conjugal Expo Chicago Luxury Show. Dresses can be alone Sunday at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 E. North Water St.
Eva’s Bridals, which opened in 1964, has set up a acting home at 6101 W. 95th St. and a hot line, 630-747-1911, for customers.
“We’re accomplishing aggregate we can,” Eva’s buyer Ronia Ghusein said Thursday.
Ghusein, acutely distraught, formed with brides from the affair allowance of adjacent Palermo’s restaurant and in the aback seats of cars. She said she was able to get a clothes identical to one absent in the bonfire for a helpmate who is accepting affiliated Saturday.
The bonfire that gutted Eva’s, one of several bells shops forth the active 95th Artery corridor, began about 3 p.m. Wednesday and acquired the shop’s roof to catch and collapse. The bonfire acutely damaged a adjoining Radio Shack and a lingerie bazaar at the end of the band capital the shops share, said Oak Lawn bonfire Chief George Sheets.
No one was afflicted the fire, which charcoal beneath investigation. It does not arise to be suspicious, Sheets said. He said he does not accept a bomb blackmail and consecutive Dumpster bonfire Friday at David’s Conjugal beyond the artery from Eva’s is accompanying to the fire.
“We haven’t had any adumbration that it is suspicious,” he said.
While firefighters went about their work, bride-to-be Piunti spent Thursday antagonism through conjugal shops and boutiques aimlessly analytic for a white gown.
“It was aggregate I wanted,” she said of the clothes absent in the fire. “It looked perfect. It fit like a glove, and I admired aggregate about it. This dress had been cat-and-mouse its accomplished activity to accommodated me.”
The Dyer, Ind., woman had accomplished the aftermost capacity of her bells detail Wednesday. She active off on the amusement and surveyed the abbey amplitude one aftermost time.
Then her accessory called, her articulation arise with panic.
“Where is your dress?” she yelled. “Did you aces up your dress?”
Piunti anticipation her accessory was joking. “I said, ‘What’s wrong? Did it go up in flames?
“She said, ‘Jeanna, I’m not alike joking. It austere down.'”
Piunti said her affection fell to her stomach.
She skipped assignment Thursday to shop, but she still couldn’t acquisition addition adaptation of her dress.
“I’ll accept to go with article off the arbor now,” Piunti said. “I don’t appetite to abrasion a dress that 100 girls accept approved on and touched. It kills me to anticipate of it, but what am I activity to do?”
Tribune anchorman Cynthia Dizikes contributed to this report.
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