By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Feb 14, 2010 at 4:28 PM

As Maureen Post reported last month, Milwaukee Street is the new home of Boutique Larrieux, an upscale retailer offering an extensive selection of contemporary designer apparel and accessories for women ranging from sizes 12-24.

Owner Lydia Hamilton, Milwaukee area native and a plus-size woman herself, is seeking to increase the local selection in what she considers an underserved market, she says. Her new shop at 717 N. Milwaukee Ave., is Milwaukee's exclusive plus-size retailer for American designer Kenley Collins, finalist on Project Runway Season 5, and the store will also feature choice selections by Lundström, David Meister, Not Your Daughter's Jeans and Monif C.

It's slated to open to the public on March 16, but before she officially opens, she needs a face to represent the store's presence in the city.

So, she's hosting a beauty contest. Boutique Larrieux's Next Beauty Contest is searching for Milwaukee's own plus-size beauty to establish a new platform for the full figured fashionista, says Hamilton. The winner will serve as an ambassador for curvy women who possess keen style sensibility and an appreciation for all things fashionable.

The grand prize includes image consultancy, complete with a makeover and a new wardrobe valued at $500, and beauty advising from a M.A.C Cosmetics makeup artist. The contest winner will also serve as a Boutique Larrieux fit model and will be featured in an upcoming Boutique Larrieux photo shoot. The contest culminates with various public appearances including VIP access to the March boutique launch celebration and an appearance on TMJ-4's "The Morning Blend."

The contest required each applicant to submit a photo, but that doesn't mean Larrieux is limiting beauty to the outside only.

"The Boutique Larrieux woman is inspirational; she encourages other women to search for the best within," says Hamilton. "Always authentic, she does not seek to conform to the direction of the masses or adhere to what outside sources dictate plus fashion to be. She views apparel as an extension of her own personal style, yet still recognizes that she has more to offer than just her outward appearance."

Hamilton wants her woman to push the envelope and take changes with her style by exploring new trends.

The boutique is accepting submissions through Tuesday, Feb. 23.

• All applicants must be plus-size women ranging from size 12-24
• All applicants must be residents of the greater Milwaukee area or able to travel to Milwaukee
• All applicants must be 18 years or older
• All applicants must be available for appointments on all of the following dates: March 5-7, March 9 and March 13

Click here to enter.


Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”