Best Virtual Boutique - 2005
When most girls are little, they dream about growing up to be princesses and supermodels, picture-perfect brides and pageant queens. When 35-year-old Lou native Beqi Brinkhorst was a kid, she dreamed of running her own business. Brinkhorst fulfilled that childhood fantasy five years ago, when she ditched her graphic-arts career to start up her self-titled, retro-femme clothing line and Web site featuring the kind of flirty frocks and sexy shirts that can make any grown-up gal feel like a fashionista. With her postwar-inspired ready-to-wears -- paisley pencil skirts with ruffled hems, pastel-hued boatneck tops, form-fitting sundresses cut from watermelon-patterned fabric -- Beqi spawned a style that's all pin-ups and pulp novels, gal Fridays in film noirs and Kim Novak in Picnic. Her look's not just unique, it's truly one of a kind. Each order is handstitched by Beqi, chez Beqi (she shares a home in Brentwood with her Teamster husband), she never makes more than a dozen of each design, and she sells them at way-below-mall prices (most dresses under $50, most shirts and skirts below $30). Beqi's clothes have been featured in Glamour and German Elle Girl and can be bought locally at Fifi's on Grand and Annata in Maplewood. Be on the lookout for them at the next Social Distortion gig or tattoo convention, where Beqi's femme-inist clientele can often be spotted in droves.