First Look: Aura Boutique in Uptown

Uptown has just gotten a little more Instagram-worthy with the opening of Aura Boutique. The new store sells some of the hottest labels and looks found on the coasts—and in the feeds of Instagram stars. The look is body-conscious, low-cut, crop-topped, and high-waisted in a neutral palette, a style that has derived from the pervasive influence of the Kardashians, Jenners, and Hadids. While some of Aura’s offerings skew on the young side, many of the sleek styles hold appeal for a variety of ages, such as body-con evening gowns with sculpted shoulder pads, luxe loungewear, high-waisted jeans, fashion-forward athleisure wear, super-soft tees, and delicate jewelry by Mottla Grace, a mother-daughter duo out of Edina.

Owners Ellie Berquist and Kya Walker, who met five years ago while they were students in the fashion merchandising and marketing program at Art Institutes in Minneapolis, focused on finding brands that aren’t already available in the Twin Cities when they shopped at retail markets in Las Vegas and New York City. “I always struggled with finding something to wear to an event,” explains Berquist. “When you show up, everyone’s wearing BCBG or something from Macy’s. We want to help people avoid showing up in the same look as someone else.” 

Most of the brands the store carries aren’t found anywhere in the Twin Cities, such as Zhivago, Bossa, Dr. Denim, Quay Australia eyewear, Jessica Matrasko jewelry, and Brunette the Label, plus high-cut one-piece swimsuits by cult brand Private Party, which the store had customized with “MPLS.”

The store plans to launch an e-commerce site in the next month, where Berquist says she expects the store will build most of its business. But the storefront is worth an IRL visit: The one-time Wuollet Bakery has been extensively remodeled, taking out the walls, raising the ceilings, and replacing the floor for a look that is truly Instagram-worthy. Case in point: The interior even features a floral backdrop to encourage shoppers to take selfies. As selfie-queen Kim Kardashian would say, Slay.

Aura Boutique is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sundays from noon-5 p.m. (closed Mondays) @ 2447 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, auraboutiquempls.com

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