By Brian Hieggelke
That I don’t regularly write about store renovations for the Chicago outlets of multibillion-dollar out-of-town corporations should come as little surprise, but this one is personal: back in the summer of 1980, I worked in the Marshall Field’s store at Water Tower Place, commuting each day by train from my home in Joliet.
Times are always heady when you’re eighteen, but those were special. The mating of disco and punk rock spawned new wave and hip-hop, fashion was becoming a mainstream obsession, thanks to the innovation of designer jeans—nothing came between Brooke Shields and her Calvins, and the mighty Vanderbilt fortune became synonymous with an embroidered little swan on denim—and the recent movie hit, “American Gigolo,” which made Giorgio Armani a household name. Water Tower Place was a fresh phenomenon, just five years old or so, half familiar—a shopping mall in that medium’s heyday—and half exotic—it was vertical, and located in the big city not the suburbs, with over-the-top stores like Fiorucci that exuded exotic decadence. Suburban kids like me felt cool cruising its escalators and eating giant sandwiches at the Levy brothers’ D.B. Kaplan’s Delicatessen. A couple of years later, a teenage Andrew McCarthy would bang the MILF Jacqueline Bisset in its glass elevator in an iconic scene from the otherwise forgettable film “Class.” Somehow, the whole thing—the music, the culture, the fashion—seemed to come together at Water Tower Place. Especially if you were eighteen. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo by Antone of antonephotography.com
Designer: Agga Raya
Background: Agga Raya never even considered going to school for fashion; she was born into it, with her parents working as designers and manufacturers in Poland. At age 16, she created her first fashion show and, now, ten years later, she’s running her own line, the AGGA B. Collection.
Design Aesthetic: Modern, elegant and sophisticated, with a definite European flavor. “It’s directed to a woman who pays attention to fashion and beauty,” says Raya.
Designer Inspirations: Old-school classics like Valentino and Armani because of their silhouettes, tailoring and attention to detail.
Chicago Inspirations: The Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State. Last year, Raya was selected as one of the Designers in Residence, something she says has been a tremendous help. Read the rest of this entry »
1165 N. Clark, Suite 400, (312)640-3878, sofiavintage.com [ratings]
Goods: Men’s and women’s vintage apparel. Designers: Bob Mackie, Gucci, Ungaro , Armani, Escada, Chanel, Missoni and Valentino. Read the rest of this entry »
2 N. LaSalle, (312)346-0333, sydjerome.com [ratings]
Goods: Men’s suits, outerwear, clothing and accessories. Designers: Big-name Italian labels like Armani, Canali, Isaia Napoli and Ermenegildo Zegna stock the shelves. Owner: Sid Shapiro celebrates the store’s fifty-first year with his son and co-owner, Scott. Vibe: While the clothes scream upscale and modern, the store itself has a vintage feel with its stuffed shelves and assorted racks. Price Range: Expensive-Luxury. The Look: Polished, yet fun. The suits are all nicely tailored and constructed while the dress shirts range from classic solids to neon plaids. Shopper’s Perks: During non-sale events, Syd Jerome offers customers free custom alterations for life on their purchases. The store also offers the luxury of fur without the guilt, supporting more animal-friendly shearing practices.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
2639 W. Fullerton, (773)772-2007 [ratings]
Goods: Men’s and women’s designer resale and vintage clothing, jewelry, hats, shoes, coats and gift items like soaps and lotions. Designers: Marc Jacobs, Prada, Franco Sarto, Armani and dozens of vintage labels. Owner: Maria Morales took her personal collection of vintage items and filled a vacant storefront in her Logan Square building. Vibe: The hundreds of items are displayed in an organized clutter. Gorgeous pieces pull your attention from all corners, but Morales helps narrow the search for those on a mission. Price Range: Moderate. The Look: Like you just stepped out of a 1940s fashion magazine. Head-to-toe vintage makes a splash at a cocktail party, while an old-time purse or necklace is eye-catching anywhere you go. Shopper’s Perks: Morales takes consignment.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009