Russian couture comes to Lee Branch store

Published 3:37 pm Monday, September 20, 2010

Manager Lynda Criswell offers fine gowns at the Alterations2SuitU at the Tux Shop.

Couture is a French term meaning fine dressmaking, fashion design and exquisite tailoring.

In times past, one would travel abroad to find an expert couturier.

Today, experts in dressmaking are typically found in larger cities, but there’s one in Shelby County.

A new business just opened in the Tux Shop at Lee Branch in Greystone. It’s called Alterations2SuitU. The name doesn’t do justice to the person behind the scenes, an especially gifted lady in the sewing craft, a couturier.

Her name is Yelena Williams, a Russian immigrant who came to America with her husband and son more than a decade ago.

Today, she owns three stores: one located in Lee Branch, one on Valleydale Road and one in Birmingham. Her son is a student at Jefferson State Community College.

Now that school has started, the season approaches for homecoming pageants and holiday parties. Not so far in the future will be proms, then weddings. Here’s the point: Alterations2SuitU is so much more than alterations, yet those are done there, too.

“We redo what other dressmakers attempt to hem and tuck,” said Lynda Criswell, manager of the Lee Branch store, which is to the right of Panera Bread in the Tux Shop. Here shoppers will also find formals to rent or purchase, with brand names like Fabiana and Jessica McClintock. Rental tuxedos are available for special events, weddings and proms. Also, all made-to-order clothing — suits, gowns, dresses or costumes — will be completed with great finesse by Williams.

There’s more to the story of Williams. She is a true survivor, enduring a medical tragedy in Russia, and later the death of her husband here in America.

“In spite of troubles she’s always upbeat, looking on the positive side,” said Criswell. Today, Williams goes forward in her life, undaunted, exhibiting true courage and inner strength, surely gifts from God’s own hand.

“If you need expert dressmaking, you’ll not find any better than Yelena Williams,” said Criswell. “She can make to order anything you need, whether special event costumes or a wedding dress.

Her quality is the finest, whether pageant or a party.”

Some of Williams’ expertise includes custom tailoring, relining, leather, fur and drapery.

Custom design orders are no problem.

You may reach Williams at 995-0004.

Hours of business are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The store is closed Sundays and holidays.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at gsherrer07@yahoo.