As a cosmetology student in Atlanta, Vanessa Y. Barron was plugged into the Southern fashion scene.

As a cosmetology student in Atlanta, Vanessa Y. Barron was plugged into the Southern fashion scene.

Upon moving back to her native Ohio, Barron figured Columbus could use a little "Southern flavor." Bella Boutique, the shop she recently opened at the northern end of the Short North, brings together her passions for beauty and fashion.

Bella Boutique carries women's clothing and accessories and offers eyelash extension services and MAC makeup sessions on Friday and Saturday nights. The boutique also sells "Indian virgin hair" - thick ponytails of real human locks, ready to be used as extensions.

"It's trendy, it's chic," Barron said of the shop. "It's something new, hot, fresh."

Silver mannequins and sheer black curtains line the shop's floor-to-ceiling windows. The decent-sized space's shiny gray walls are splattered with paint, and a black chandelier hangs over the register.

The edgy-meets-dressy environment perfectly complements the clothing selection. Skirts, dresses and jackets are the staples, but they aren't prim and proper - Barron hand-picks pieces from off-the-beaten-path labels in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

"A lot of people are interested in the dresses," Barron said. "The dresses and the skirts people are going crazy over right now."

The current selection includes dresses with cutouts, miniskirts covered in structured ruffles and form-fitting dresses with military details.

The store's handbags - mostly clutches - covered in ruffled silk or bejeweled from top to bottom are especially eye-catching.

Two- and three-finger rings have been extremely popular, Barron said. She has styles that look like a row of studs and others that have a feather motif or say "love."

The shop's grand opening is combined with a clearance sale to make space for fall merchandise such as sweaters and outerwear. Leggings and light jackets are already in stock, and you can expect boots to arrive just in time for winter.