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: Sofia Vintage

*New Boutiques, -Vintage, -Womenswear, Near North No Comments »
Ashley Zisook and Allison Zisook Goldstein/Photo: Geoff Adler

Ashley Zisook and Allison Zisook Goldstein/Photo: Geoff Adler

Trends come and go, but elegance never goes out of style—and sisters and co-owners Ashley Zisook and Allison Zisook Goldstein are reintroducing that element to the Windy City with their vintage boutique, Sofia. Ashley says she and her sister named the store for Hollywood goddess Sophia Loren (her given name is actually Sofia). “She is the epitome of beauty, class and glamour; all of the qualities that the store embodies,” Allison says in the store’s press release.

Sharing a love of vintage that began in their grandmother’s closet as children, Ashley says she and Allison aim to bring back the grace of eras like the fifties and sixties. “Girls don’t have to wear tiny little dresses with their boobs hanging out to look pretty,” she says. “We’re bringing back those dress lines and shapes from [those eras].” Read the rest of this entry »


-Womenswear, Near North No Comments »

869 N. Larrabee, (312)202-0012, [ratings]
Goods: Clothing, accessories and a small selection of shoes for women. Designers: Dresses and tops by Madison Marcus, Black Halo, Yumi Kim, Amanda Uprichard, Zimmermann, Elizabeth & James, Rory Beca and Rebecca Taylor; shoes and boots by Frye and Dolce Vita; jewelry by Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow; and handbags by J.J. Winters. Owner: Rachel Kim fulfilled a life-long dream by opening the type of boutique where she’d like to shop. Vibe: The simple color scheme here—hot pink and black—coupled with elaborate chandeliers give the room a sophisticated feel while allowing the bright, colorful clothing to take your attention. Price Range: Moderate-Expensive. The Look: Forever 21 meets Neiman Marcus. Havilah stocks uber-feminine gear that ranges from trend-of-the-moment to classic pieces that will eternally live in your closet. Perfect for both the gal who can’t spend too much on a dress for Friday night and the one who is looking for a chic coat that will last for many winters to come. Shopper’s Perks: The consistent sale section here ensures you can nearly always score a discounted, must-have piece.



June Blaker

-Menswear, Near North No Comments »

870 N. Orleans, (312)751-9220, [ratings]
Goods: Clothing for men, home accessories, stationery, jewelry, art. Designers: Clothing by Comme des Garcons and Andrea Reynders; stationery by DL & Co.; bags by Parker Ochs; jewelry by Samantha Goldberg, Gillion Carrara and June Blaker herself. Owner: June Blaker closed her Wells Street staple boutique several years ago. As friends and acquaintances continued to ask her for style advice over the years, she reopened in this off-the-beaten-path spot. Vibe: Walking into June’s store is like walking into a casual museum. Functional art pieces are scattered around the shop, jewelry is stored in glass cases and the organized layout of the shop makes it easy to peruse. Price Range: Inexpensive-Luxury. The Look: Whether it’s a dripping step stool, an outdoor log candle, a large heart-shaped necklace or a Japanese t-shirt design, the items in June Blaker aren’t just head-turners. They’re conversation pieces. For the man or woman who wants to saturate their life with art. Shopper’s Perks: Noting that a lot of the goods coming out of Paris have become more commonplace, June jet-sets to Tokyo, Copenhagen and other design-savvy cities to select only the most unique pieces.


June Blaker

Veruca Salt

-Womenswear, Bucktown, Near North No Comments »

1921 N. Damen, (773)276-9888; 520 N. Kingsbury, (773)276-3888 [ratings]
Goods: Dresses, sweaters, accessories, bags and shoes for women. Designers: Frenzy!, Susana Monaco, Rachel Pally, Hudson, 7 for All Mankind, T-bags, Kier & J, Hudson Jeans, James Jeans; shoes from Sam Edelman. Owner: Fashion wholesaler Amber Warren took her style knowledge into a new venue by opening this Bucktown boutique. Vibe: A California-inspired boutique with clean lines, neutral décor and an enormous crystal chandelier on the floor. Price Range: Moderate. The Look: The goods here can go both ways: Hipster with a fun streak, ready to head for drinks at Hopleaf or chic and shiny, sipping a dirty martini and talking about politics at Landmark. Shopper’s Perks: Warren debuted her jam-packed Web site this year, so you can score that super- cute dress from the comfort of your couch.


Bucktown location

Veruca Salt

Near North location

Veruca Salt, 521 N. Kingsbury

Leaders 1354

-Mens Shoes, -Menswear, Near North, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

UPDATE: Leaders has closed its Bronzeville location and opened a new location in River North as of May 2009.

1400 N. Milwaukee, (773)489-1900; 672 N. Wells, (312)787-7144 [ratings]
Goods: Clothing, caps, accessories and shoes for men. Designers: Play Cloths, Ice Cream, BBC, Nudie Jeans, Prps, Pegleg NYC and LDRS1354 house line for clothing; Palladium, Alife, Creative Recreation, CLAE, Reebok, The Hundreds and Adidas for shoes. Read the rest of this entry »