Mannequin Boutique Pays It Forward

Second-hand meets helping-hand in Over-the-Rhine.

Kenwood Towne Centre may be Cincinnati’s most efficient place to score the latest fashion booty, but for those who prefer the thrill of the chase, there is Mannequin. Moe Rouse’s resale shop on Vine Street packs loads of unique pieces into its small space. Her vintage room is stocked with looks that could easily fill the closet of Mad Men’s Betty Draper: a mink cape from Shillito’s ($125), a ruffled peach lingerie jacket ($30)—plus several vintage items from dearly departed local labels like Gidding-Jenny and Carolee.

Most items are donated from, as Rouse puts it, “great women in the city,” and the proceeds benefit seven area charities including Freestore Foodbank and UCAN Spay/Neuter. Rouse’s penchant for charity work goes way back: For years she has collected high-end cast offs and vintage items from stylish friends, having periodic sales and donating the proceeds. Mannequin was born when Northpoint Realty donated a year-long lease on an Over-the-Rhine storefront. “I love being down here,” says Rouse,“It’s youthful and energetic.”

Turning away from the vintage collection, I found a brand new Laundry cocktail dress in fuchsia chiffon ($75), a pair of Dries Van Noten wedge sandals, a dead ringer for Kate Middleton’s wedding gown, and labels like Escada, BCBG MaxAzria, and Ellen Tracy. Rouse is also planning her own steampunk jewelry line.“I don’t know anything about making jewelry,”she says,“but I have a glue gun and an idea.”

Photograph by Chris Smith
Originally published in the August 2011 issue.

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