At first glance, Kathryn Kerrigan seems like just another tempting shoe store in Bucktown. However, once you step past the all-glass storefront you’ll notice that the boutique is a bit grander than all the others. Literally, bigger is better at Kathryn Kerrigan; the store only carries shoe sizes 9-13.
Have you ever noticed how, at a sample sale, all the frenzied women are battling for the size sevens, eights and nines while it’s all calm and collected in the size-twelve aisle? Although the majority of women do wear sizes seven-to-nine, as the new store’s owner Stephanie Sack puts it: “women of size are an underappreciated and overlooked market.” And Sack is capitalizing on this notion. Read the rest of this entry »
As the saying says, “it’s all in the name.” And for this contemporary men’s and women’s boutique, the name exudes both the story and the sophistication behind the store, before even stepping in the door. Sir & Madame is a boutique and clothing line founded by husband-and-wife team Brian and Autumn Merritt. The Merritts, however, are no strangers to the Chicago fashion circuit. In 2006, they opened Solemates, which dished up street-smart footwear for those whose urban chic hailed from top to bottom.
They certainly mastered the art of the cool shoe, but closed the store down to embark on a new adventure, moving from their Lincoln Park location over to the even hipper Ukrainian Village. Autumn appreciates being able to “feed off the energy of other local businesses.” Regardless of the cachet of the neighborhood, Sir & Madame holds its own, oozing a sense of nostalgia mélanged with a modern sensibility, or as they call it “classic with a twist.” Read the rest of this entry »
For Michael Blossom, history and fashion go hand-in-hand. In 2007 he opened Florodora, a high-end women’s boutique featuring a vintage-inspired collection of clothing and accessories, some of which are designed and produced locally. The boutique is located in the South Loop on the first floor of the Monadnock Building, a historic landmark for the city, but also a personal landmark for Blossom. His grandmother worked on the seventh floor of the building in the early twentieth century. Everything about Florodora is inspired by that time period: from the antique chandeliers and ornate wooden furniture pieces inside the store, to the clothing, handbags and jewelry.
Blossom’s newest venture also combines fashion and history. Florodora Shoes is located just south of Florodora and on the same block, at 348 South Dearborn. After some research on the Monadnock Building, Blossom learned the corner retail space that now houses Florodora Shoes has been home to multiple businesses, most interestingly, two different shoe stores. From 1902 through the 1940s, a shoe store named Hassel’s occupied the space. In the 1950s, a retailer named Hardy moved in, and also sold shoes. “You could tear up this carpet and find ‘Hardy’ in places,” Blossom says. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Kevin Dick
It’s a week after opening, and Cerato owner Tracey Glibowski is reordering Kristin Hassan’s drapey asymmetrical “Flow” tanks; a lone Jlee Silver maxidress—equal parts Hamptons and Mt. Olympus—hangs in the corner, the last in-stock representative of its kind. In other words, it’s been a pretty good first week at the new Southport women’s clothing boutique, which is dedicated to showcasing primarily local designers.
The store is clearly a labor of love for Glibowski, a former advertising exec whose recent layoff inspired her to turn her passion for fashion into a career. Surveying the store, a spartan-but-not-sterile space with exposed brick and country-chic blue wallpaper, she seems a little bit amazed at how well things have turned out. After all, Glibowski started with a concept but no insider knowledge of the Chicago fashion scene—she says she discovered many of the designers she features by trolling the internet. So far, though, she seems thrilled with the results.
“It’s a partnership,” she says of her designers. “I hope they’re in it for the long haul.” Which doesn’t mean she’s stopped combing the city for new talent—in time, she’s definitely looking to add new names to her roster, which currently includes Kate Boggiano, Eskell, Anna Fong, frei designs, jules, Avery Layne, Horacio Nieto, and Shorty Clothing, along with Hassan, Silver and a handful of out-of-town imports. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s Friday night and the sounds flowing off the DJ’s decks easily drown out the traffic outside the doors on Milwaukee Avenue. But the noise doesn’t seem to faze the boisterous crowd of sneaker heads, hipsters, bloggers and beauty queens gathered within, checking out the new wares and, of course, each other. Just like another shoe-release shindig for the St. Alfred’s regulars, perhaps, but we’re a long way from Niketown, tiger. This is Nike+St. Alfred’s coming-out party.
The global shoe giant and the Chicago sneaker mecca have teamed up in a promising retail collaboration that’s taken over the Hejfina space next door to Saint Alfred’s storefront on Milwaukee Avenue, starting this Thursday, and lasting through this summer’s World Cup, at the least. The pop-up shop offers selective Nike sportswear, most notably its licensed soccer gear from competing countries, Saint Alfred x Nike Co-Lab pieces and exclusive artist collaborations. Read the rest of this entry »
Model: Erin Gipson/Ford
Heidi Hess never planned on being a designer. “I was a radio personality for ten years,” she says. “I just didn’t love it anymore… it was time for me to do something else.” Revamping her entire professional m.o., the Chicago native turned to a career she admittedly didn’t know much about. “I have a broadcast degree,” she says. “I openly admit that I wasn’t schooled in fashion.” Turns out she didn’t need to be.
Drawing on her love of knitwear, she began selling her own designs to other boutiques in 2004. “It just grew,” she says. “I [just] figured it out each year.” Hess says she’s “always looking for new ways to make knits.”
Designing custom pieces for women, Hess says she can outfit just about anyone, from super-petite to plus-size ladies in just about anything and everything knit. And beyond—2010 will see Hess venturing into “more of different textiles… I’m always looking for new fibers to blend.” Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been just six weeks since the opening of Sarca, but the store has already made its mark on the Chicago fashion scene—and its closets.
Opened in early December by Alexis Cozzini, the high-end women’s clothing shop is a treasure trove of edgy finds. “I had known just in the back of my mind over the years brands that I wanted to have in my store when I opened it,” Cozzini says. She’s certainly had a lot of time to ruminate—she broke into the fashion biz at the tender age of 15.
“I worked in Lincoln Park at Celeste Turner,” she says. “It’s not there anymore, but it was like the hottest boutique at the time. I worked there after school in high school… and I loved it.” Read the rest of this entry »
1444 N. Wells, (312)664-2222
Goods: Men’s and women’s apparel, jewelry and accessories. Designers: Genetic, Citizens of Humanity, Ella Moss, Splendid and Junk Food are all in rotation at this premium denim boutique. Owner: 25-year-old Mallory Ulaszek may be young, but when it comes to denim, she knows her stuff. “I’ve been shopping for premium denim since I was like, 10!” she says. Vibe: Loud tunes and bright colors put the final spin on this edgy little shop – it’s a total rocker’s paradise. Price Range: Moderate to Inexpensive. The Look: Rock and roll all the way. Amongst the Jimi Hendrix tees and record-based display cases you’ll find everything you need to channel your inner superstar. Bring back the ’80′s with some acid-wash jeans, or go back a little further with a hip tye-dye scarf: no matter what decade you’re going for, Ulaszek pays homage to it Shopper’s Perks: All of the art is up for grabs – all you have to do is ask!
As summer months fade into fall, it’s easy to get a case of the blues. But new denim-based boutique City Blue Denim & Apparel is here to prove that’s not always such a bad thing.
Celebrating their grand opening November 6, owner Mallory Ulaszek says her Old Town shop is one part rock and one part roll. “[The store] is basically revolved around being… a denim and simple apparel boutique where it’s casual and comfortable and it has a little bit of a rock ‘n’ roll edge,” she says. “I carry styles that a lot of places don’t carry.”
Like the celeb-driven brand Genetic, for example. “It’s a big denim player right now,” Ulaszek notes of the high-end label. “It’s something that’s a little more edgy and different.” Read the rest of this entry »
This past Thursday, the highly anticipated Spanish retailer Zara hit Michigan Avenue in a flurry of champagne, cementing its status as an envoy of chic, accessible, moderately priced clothing for men, women and children. The three-story venue is the first heart-of-Chicago outpost of the international favorite; until now, the only Zara in the Chicago area was in Skokie.
Crafted to give customers a more accessible shopping experience, Zara’s interior is certainly easy on the eyes. Granite tiles sparkle with the soft, flattering light from decorative floating orbs, while plentiful mirrors and even benches leave shoppers focused on their hunt for the perfect addition to their wardrobes, and less on their back pain. Decorated in a monochromatic palette of gray, black and white, the store is at once grand and demure, and like pricier upscale boutiques allows its clothes to take center stage. Read the rest of this entry »