Chicago Looks: Girlie and Cool

Chicago Looks, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Lauren Orciuolo was shopping along Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park. Read the rest of this entry »

Sized Up: Stephanie Sack and Ten Years of Vive La Femme

-Womenswear, Bucktown, Events/Exhibitions, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

“Life is hard. Shopping should not be.”

These are the wise words of the impeccably dressed Stephanie Sack, owner of two Bucktown boutiques, Vive La Femme and Violette. The former is a clothing shop for ladies sizes 12-24 and the latter a women’s shoe shop for sizes 7-11.  The stores are run by Stephanie and full-time manager Amanda Johanson who also designs a Vive La Femme clothing line. Vive La Femme is celebrating its tenth anniversary, an accomplishment for a small business in the current economic climate.

“It feels pretty amazing. And I think I’m just very stubborn,” Sack says. 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 »

Fashion Show Review: Kokorokoko (June 5)

-Vintage, Fashion Shows, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

No primly dressed editors with the latest “it” bags sitting at their Louboutin-shod feet grace this front row; here Converse and fringed messenger bags are de rigueur. They serve Pabst and not Champagne. Instead of invitation-only, this event is free and open to anybody with even the slightest interest in fashion walking along Damen Avenue, allured by the thumping beats coming from upstairs. While none of this fits the the standard for what a fashion show should be, the result is a very stylish affair.

Kokorokoko, a vintage boutique started by Sasha Hodges and Ross Kelly in March 2009, sells eighties and nineties vintage fashions. The name sprouted from the title of the jewelry line Sasha started out of art school, because she thought Coco Rococo “sounded like a cool drag queen name.” Working as a jewelry designer/stylist by day and DJ at night, she met Ross—who suggested all the Ks—and so started Kokorokoko. They wanted the boutique to evoke the music, things and happenings from their favorite years, 1979 to1993, a time that Sasha feels was “pre-irony.” In her opinion, people would buy a cotton jumpsuit covered in bicycles simply “because they liked bicycles,” rather than trying to be kitschy or nostalgic. Designers and their customers shared a certain genuine love of craziness back then, and this same candor with self-expression and passion for silliness reverberates throughout the entire Kokorokoko show. Read the rest of this entry »


*New Boutiques, -Womenswear, Chicago Boutiques, Designers, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

1933 N. Damen, (773)276-7645, [ratings]

Goods: Women’s apparel and handbags. Designer: Project Runway Canada contestant Shernett Swaby is the creative force behind the fabulous lace and pleated pieces found here. Read the rest of this entry »

Good Niteroi

-Menswear, News and Dish, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

GPT1Division Street boutique Gamma Player, owned by world-renowned DJ and music producer Jeff Mills and his wife, Yoko Uozumi, have just launched an art project disguised as a limited-edition t-shirt. A collaboration with Tokyo menswear label Rozalia Scartissue, the shirts are inspired by Oscar Niemeyer’s iconic Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum in Brazil, while drawing a line back to Mies van der Rohe’s work here in Chicago and the early minimalism that infuses the work of all parties involved. Mills has recorded a special CD soundtrack to accompany the project, which comes included with the shirt in a smartly designed package that augments the whole thing. Mills’ atmospheric techno provides a musical foundation to the otherworldliness inherent in Niemeyer’s UFO-like museum design and a message inside the shirt from Mills hints at new life forms in the hidden waters just off the coast of Niteroi. That being said, the shirt stands on its own as a fine bit of fashion, and comes in four different designs, with three different colors, for $80-$90. (Brian Hieggelke)

Available at Gamma Player, 2035 West Division, (773)235-0755, or online at

Dream Angel: The inspirations of iconic shoe designer John Fluevog

-Mens Shoes, -Women's Shoes, Bucktown, Designers, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

fluevog3By Marla Seidell

John Fluevog has angels on the soles of his shoes.

Urban Angels, that’s the name of this particular mid-calf boot, which like the Fluevog stores, hit their twentieth anniversary this year. In addition to the angels stenciled on the soles, there’s a personal message from Fluevog inscribed: “Resist all things, including Satan.” Soles are made from biodegradable Hevea tree latex soles. “Really comfy,” notes Fluevog.

Judging from his rock-star appearance—dark blue denim, a red, white and blue button-shirt with a pattern of stars at the center, tousled strawberry-blond hair, Prada sunglasses on top of head, and a thin line of white goatee on his chin—you wouldn’t think that Fluevog, designer and creator of cult-status funky shoes since the mid-eighties, is the kind of guy to stamp spiritual phrases and angels on his products. Read the rest of this entry »

Mulberry & Me

-Womenswear, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

2019 W. Division, (773)952-7551
Goods: Womenswear and accessories. Designers: Daughters of the Revolution, Battalion, Twinkle by Wenlan and White + Warren. Read the rest of this entry »

G-Star Raw

*The Nationals, -Menswear, -Womenswear, Bucktown, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

1525 N. Milwaukee, (773)342-2623, [ratings]
Goods: Menswear, womenswear and accessories. Designer: G-Star Raw Owner: New York-based Denimwall Inc. operates the New York, Boston, Miami  and Chicago stores of this European brand. Read the rest of this entry »

John Fluevog Shoes

*The Nationals, -Mens Shoes, -Women's Shoes, Bucktown, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village No Comments »

1539-41 N. Milwaukee, (773)772-1983,
Goods: Men’s and women’s shoes Designer: John Fluevog Owner: The Vancouver-based designer John Fluevog has a handful of stores in North America. Read the rest of this entry »