Bella Isola Boutique
Absolutes describe subtropical couture; weather, sand and sun mean lighter fabrics—certainly fewer of them—―brighter colors and a nautical-beachy feel to fit geography and the festive spirit of Caribbean-style living along the Gulf of Mexico. But, it seems, island fashion reaches deeper; perhaps it’s isolation, because local rules limit the encroachment of chain stores. And while regulations don’t stop boutiques from carrying Parisian or New York fashion, it does mean shops offer lifestyle choices unique to Sanibel-Captiva.
Claudine Wells, at her Bella Isola Boutique on Sanibel, describes island couture as “shabby chic, sort of the hippie-beach look,” she says. “Our customers love it. Our store is like entering a dream closet. It’s how we’re different.”
Our store is like entering a dream closet. It’s how we’re different.” —Bella Isola’s Claudine Wells