Make Believer: Vintage Fashion Expert Lori Lindberg helps you Dress Up for Halloween and for Life

-Menswear, -Vintage, -Womenswear, Lakeview No Comments »

Lori Lindberg photo: Fernando Castillo

By Marla Seidell

It’s a quarter to noon on an unseasonably warm Thursday in October, and Lori Lindberg, owner and buyer at Clothes Optional Vintage in East Lakeview, is in high gear. The Classic Vinyl station (on Sirius FM Satellite) is cranked up, spinning tunes by Deep Purple, Joe Cocker and Led Zeppelin (all her favorites), and she’s sipping on a skim latte from Caribou, in between chatting with this curious journalist, fielding calls and tending to customers. Dressed funky chic—Lucky Brand tight-fitting jeans, blue-and-brown cowboy boots, a lacey black tank top and a zebra-striped hooded sweatshirt, her long dark hair tied back in a braid, Lindberg is an eternal child of the seventies, with a friendly openness and passion for do-it-yourself fashion, art and music that feels, well, a bit Joplin-esque.

Janis Joplin created her plain yet sensual look by piecing together clothing and accessories from thrift stores, she sewed and designed many of her own costumes, and loved to smoke and talk about “groovy” things. Lindberg doesn’t sing or perform, but she’s like Joplin in many ways: she sews and fixes up clothing (both her own stuff and pieces in the store), loves vintage, and is also quite fond of smoking, talking and hanging out. Unapologetically hip and sexy in minimal makeup and a frequent smile, Lindberg doesn’t look like the forty-eight-year-old mother of three grown daughters, let alone a grandmother. She looks like the kind of person you want to kick back with and have a beer and a good laugh.

Referring to her rocker outfit with a deep, throaty laugh, she says, “I was watching Kiss [on ‘Good Morning America’], and I got inspired.” Read the rest of this entry »

Open For Business: AllSaints Spitalfields

*New Boutiques, *The Nationals, -Menswear, -Womenswear No Comments »

The new AllSaints Spitalfields store on Michigan Avenue may be mistaken for an art gallery, vintage clothing factory, or even a modeling agency. The front of the store boasts 800 vintage Singer sewing machines, harkening back to the roots of the fashion industry. Ruggedly good-looking, stylish men and women greet customers at the entrance. And the entire store is so thoroughly decorated and atmospheric that you just don’t know where to look.

Since it started in the UK in the mid-nineties, AllSaints global expansion has led to ten U.S. standalone stores, a U.S.-specific website, and fourteen concessions in Bloomingdale’s nationwide.

The Chicago flagship store is a continuation of this expansion, and expansion is just the right word for the 11,000-square-foot space. A large glass atrium at the entrance looks as if the Michigan Avenue spot has turned into an industrial European train station. After gazing up at the sewing machines, the interior has a multitude of cinematic spotlights filling the ceilings, and the entire store has a rough, worn-in, distressed feel. Sewing-machine-like hardware and structures grace the floor and many of the whitewashed brick walls, which rise up forty-two feet before hitting the ceiling. The majority of the store’s fixtures are salvaged, and any that aren’t are handmade in the UK. There is a huge projection screen stretching across the entire store. Read the rest of this entry »

Open for Business: Scoop NYC Gold Coast

*New Boutiques, *The Nationals, -Accessories, -Menswear, -Women's Shoes, -Womenswear, Gold Coast No Comments »

Scoop NYC is taking things slowly—its second store in Chicago, just opened in the Gold Coast, comes about four years after the company entered Chicago with its Bucktown location at 1702 North Milwaukee.

So what’s different about the new store?  The 4,800-square-foot Gold Coast store reflects an updated version of Scoop, says Heidi Hoelzer, the buyer director and divisional merchandise manager. “We will open the store with our best product and brands and, after spending more time with the Gold Coast Scoop customer, we will edit as necessary. I think we will see more tourists in our Gold Coast store than we do in Bucktown, with a higher demand for designer items,” says Hoelzer.

For this reason, the Gold Coast Scoop store will add Roberto Cavalli and Missoni to its designers roster, which includes Helmut Lang, Alice & Olivia, Free City, Burberry, Camilla Skovgaard, Anya Hindmarch, Zac Posen, Dsquared, Billy Reid and Simon Spurr. “From the best shirt, denim, blazer, cocktail dress, or beach cover-up to a strappy sandal, we have it all under one roof for men and women,” Hoelzer says.

Under that roof are two stories of men’s and women’s merchandise, with women’s clothing, accessories and shoes on the first floor and a glass staircase leading to menswear on the second. A 375-square-foot terrace provides event space, and Scoop expects to host a book signing event for the authors of “Who What Wear,” as well as trunk shows and charity events. (Sarah Alo)

Scoop NYC, 1011 North Rush, (312)649-9880

Open for Business: Atelier

*New Boutiques, -Menswear, -Vintage, -Womenswear, Near North No Comments »

Go gallery-hopping, buy beautiful clothes, then sip a glass of bubbly and nibble on dessert. Art and fashion at Atelier, then food and wine at Prosecco. “Now we have a one-two punch,” says Kathryn Alvera, co-owner of both Atelier and Prosecco, although it’s really more of a one-two-three-four punch.

Walking into Atelier is like stepping into the closet of a mature but hip art collector/clotheshorse: paintings, photographs and antiques coat the velvet walls and wooden countertops. The clothing is well-organized and dense, but there’s certainly a lot of it (for both men and women), and it ranges from cheap (I eyed a thrifted $10 C&C tank) to bank-breaking (vintage Lanvin, Chanel and Stella McCartney).

Atelier will also be working with legendary tailoring house Cesare Attolini to design custom suits. Alvera says “It’s something of a coup” that the prestigious Neapolitan suit-makers are partnering with her boutique, which opened in April, but she’s convinced the exquisite suits, with prices reaching far upwards of $4,000, will find a niche among sartorial Chicagoans. Read the rest of this entry »

Open for Business: Egoist Underwear

*New Boutiques, -Menswear, Lakeview No Comments »

Some men feel constricted by underwear. Others feel constricted by their underwear choices. Or they have—until now, thanks to the opening of Egoist Underwear, a new Boystown men’s boutique specializing in underthings, swimwear and loungewear from around the globe.

Owner Sylvester Jurczynski, who opened the shop in late June but only recently hosted the store’s “Grand Opening” sale, is unromantic about the store’s genesis. “I hated my job,” he says, “and I saw a niche in this neighborhood.” So far, he says, he’s been right: business is good. While he’s not making the hard-sell—or maybe I’m not the target demographic?—Jurczynski obviously knows his underwear. Read the rest of this entry »

Open for Business: Sir & Madame

*New Boutiques, -Mens Shoes, -Menswear, -Women's Shoes, -Womenswear, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

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 »

By Design: Donaldo Smith

-Menswear, Designers No Comments »

It may be summer in the Windy City, but in the world of design, it’s a different season entirely. Just ask Donaldo Smith. “Spring 2011!” he declares triumphantly. “[That’s when I’ll make] my first introduction to the public.”

As the only male designer in residence at the Macy’s on State Street Chicago Fashion Incubator, Smith has been hard at work on his conceptual menswear brand, Killian Gui.

“Come spring, I have high expectations,” he says. “That’s when it will be in stores.”

For Smith, it’s been a long time coming. “I’ve been fascinated with clothing ever since I knew I was going to be able to wear a new piece… to the first day of school,” he says.

Signing up for “any subscription to menswear fashion that [he] could,” the young fashion naif set out on a self-taught path of design. “I was a sales assistant to the Midwest buyer [of] an urban clothing company,” he says. “I thought it was the best thing ever, because that’s how I dressed at the time.” Read the rest of this entry »

Open for Business: Nike + Saint Alfred

*New Boutiques, *The Nationals, -Mens Shoes, -Menswear, -Streetwear, -Women's Shoes, -Womenswear, Bucktown No Comments »

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 »

CityBlue Denim & Apparel

*New Boutiques, -Accessories, -Jewelry, -Menswear, -Womenswear, Chicago Boutiques, Old Town No Comments »

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!

Keep it Fresh: Jugrnaut and SuccezZ bring streetwear to the South Loop

-Mens Shoes, -Menswear, -Streetwear, -Women's Shoes, -Womenswear, Near South No Comments »

By Emily Torem

Two still fresh-on-the-scene streetwear boutiques in the South Loop prove that the Windy City is not just a place for trends to proliferate; it’s where they’re made. Lifestyle store Jugrnaut stocks everything from clothes and accessories to art, hats and action figures, while self-described “sneaker geek and stylist” SuccezZ focuses on providing rare and limited-edition footwear to the shoe-obsessed. Both stores are big supporters of local talent, whether it’s through music, art, style or design.


“There are people who are fashion forward in Chicago that are ahead of the curve, like in Japan, but not that many. It’s a slow process, but we’re getting there,” says Roger Rodriguez, one of the South Loop streetwear shop Jugrnaut’s owners.

The team of four men—Rodriguez, Brian Navado, Manny Rodriguez and Arthur Banks—opened the store in October of 2007 after a previous venture fell through. The four own and operate the shop, as well as their own eponymous brand, which includes hats and shirts with the store’s lightning-bolt logo. The partners emphasize that the store is more than just a retailer of apparel. Read the rest of this entry »