Coyote DeGroot and Maria Tzeka/Photo: Tamara Dolson
Coyote DeGroot, the owner of Labrabbit Optics, an eyewear boutique on Ashland, threw a party on Saturday, May 19, because, as he puts it, “Why not?” His business started out as an offhand enterprise as well, beginning in his apartment three years ago. A few friends came to him for frames and lenses, telling other friends and coworkers to go to him for great eyewear as well. Soon, DeGroot had a business and he opened Labrabbit Optics a year and a half ago to deal in vintage and exclusive modern frames. Read the rest of this entry »
You might call this news a feast for the eyes: designer eyewear boutique Oliver Peoples opens its newest boutique, in Chicago’s Gold Coast, on July 9.
“Chicago has always been a target city for us to open an Oliver Peoples Boutique,” says David Schulte, CEO. “The city’s rich design, art and architectural heritage, in addition to the sophisticated people who live there, are a perfect match with our brand.” The new store even features a limited-edition frame sold exclusively at the Chicago location—a unisex style with eighteen-carat gold lenses and custom stamping and packaging.
The new Chicago location has similar design to Oliver Peoples boutiques across the nation, but with a couple of hints at Chicago’s culture. Its ash wood and concrete floors give a nod to the brand’s aesthetic: simplistic, sartorial and sexy. The store’s general manager, Chad Lissak, says the store “creates a unique retail experience that is more reminiscent of a contemporary gallery than a typical frame shop.” Lissak has been a part of everything involving the new store, from finding the location to putting the last frame on the shelf.
The boutique experience (as opposed to buying Oliver Peoples at a distributor location) offers the customer a more tailored experience. “Our eyewear stylists are extremely knowledgeable and can offer custom fittings to help you select the perfect frame taking into consideration all of the elements. We have on-site opticians for any and all prescription needs,” Lissak says. (Sarah Alo)
Oliver Peoples, 941 North Rush
3350 N. Lincoln, (773)477-2670, eyespyoptical.com [ratings]
Goods: Men’s, women’s and children’s prescription frames and sunglasses. Designers: Anne et Valentin, Lafont, ic! berlin, Persol, Francis Klein, Oliver Goldsmith, Ray-Ban. Owner: Alissa Fields has been selling specs in Lakeview for ten years. Vibe: Retro. With funky chairs and decorations adorning the turquoise, bird-muraled walls, the scene is totally groovy. Price Range: Moderate-Expensive. The Look: Retro. The store features exactly what you would expect from its décor—loud, plastic and uniquely shaped frames galore. Shopper’s Perks: An in-house doctor makes the store a one-stop shop with prescriptions and exams readily available on Thursdays and Sundays.
Eye Spy Optical
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
1756 W. Division, (773)489-4848, dvoptical.com [ratings]
Goods: Eyewear for men and women. Designers: In addition to offering the largest selection of Oliver Peoples and Paul Smith frames in the city, the store sells Alain Mikli, Face à Face, Lindberg, IC! Berlin, Salt, l.a. Eyeworks, Mykita, Orgreen and a new collection by Tom Davies. Owners: Chris Foreit and Brian Hofmeister opened the shop as an outpost of hard-to-find, high-style eyewear, and Dr. Ezra Atikune was brought on for optometric guidance. Vibe: The corner boutique has a sleek and minimalist feel, with local artists’ work hung on the walls. Glass cases showcase two-tone plastic and titanium frames in every color of the rainbow, leopard-print Jackie O. frames and barely there eyewear by Orgreen. Price Range: Expensive-Luxury. The Look: From contemporary, classy specs to futuristic statement pieces. Shopper’s Perks: It’s a one-stop shop. Go for a checkup at the doctor’s office in back and then select your new favorite accessory.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
1869 N. Damen, (773)782-1660, redeyeoptical.com [ratings]
Goods: Eyewear for men and women. Designers: Household names like Kala and Ray-Ban are mixed in with a few high-end frame designers, including Modo and Jai Kudo. Owner: Optometrist Matthew Gifford. Vibe: Men’s and women’s eyewear with trendy, classic and vintage-inspired frames covers every inch of shelf space. Optician Colleen Clarke will whisk you in with a warm welcome. Price Range: Moderate to Expensive. The Look: Except for the pink titanium and tortoise shell owl-eye specs (which are a favorite among architects and photographers), the styles are relatively understated. Shopper’s Perks: With an onsite optometrist and optician, you’re sure to find your peepers’ perfect match.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
Red Eye Eyewear