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 »

Betsey to Heavens

*The Nationals, News and Dish No Comments »

The Betsey Johnson store has decided that Lincoln Park’s Halsted strip is not the thing and has relocated to Water Tower Place. We’ve been hearing that the once-fashion-forward but lately touristy and mall-ratty vertical shopping center is undergoing a transformation designed to bring back some of that old magic; if anyone can help with that, Betsey can. Or maybe she’s just changing customers; after all, she’s got a store in Northbrook now, too. Here’s the addie and hours according to

Water Tower Place 2171 Northbrook Court # 2092
835 North Michigan Ave #3030 Northbrook, IL 60062
Chicago, IL 60611 T: 847.205.9025
T: 312.280.6964

Hours: mon-sat 10:00am – 9:00pm
sun 11:00am – 6:00pm
Hours: mon-sat 10:00am – 9:00pm
sun 11:00am – 6:00pm

Akira and the Girls

*New Boutiques, -Womenswear, Events/Exhibitions, Lakeview No Comments »

Chicago’s expansive young fashion empire, Akira, officially opens its Lakeview store tonight (July 31) with a “Girls Night Out” celebration. In addition to 15 percent off all purchases during the event (5pm-10pm), look for the usual Akira circus:

Makeup consultations and gifts from Stila Cosmetics
Hair styling and consultations, as well as massages by Zazu Salon
Complimentary manicures provided by Nailbar
Threading by The Spot
Hors d’oeuvres catered by Moe’s Cantina and sushi by Kamehachi
Chocolate fountain fondue by The Melting Pot
Summer vodka cocktails and FUZE drinks
A striptease and pole dancing fitness class
Live auction of Chicago Machine lacrosse players

Of course, the merch itself will be the main attraction in this, the largest (6,000 square feet) Akira store so far. Look for the following lines: Betsey Johnson, Greyhound, Salvage, Meiko Mellucci, Nellie, BCBG Max Azria, Citizens of Humanity and Hudson.

643 West Diversey, (773)649-9257

Pump It Up

Events/Exhibitions No Comments »

The four-year anniversary shindig last Saturday at Pump Shoes and Accessories was like most days at the popular Division Street boutique: Friendly service made shoppers feel welcome and comfy, and pretty sandals in a slew of colors and styles tempted guests, too. But a more-festive-than-usual vibe was pumpin’ throughout the store. With margaritas flowing and colorful balloons hanging inside and outside Pump, shoppers took advantage of discounts on everything in the shop, including Michael Kors sandals, Betsey Johnson heels and espadrilles from Spain-based designer Eric Michael.

Kelly Kang, 27, has been shopping at Pump for three years. “[Owner] Maureen [Longua] has really good taste in shoes,” she says. Kang likes that the goods are reasonably priced and fashionable but still comfortable. In fact, she has bought so many pairs of shoes at Pump, “It’s doubled my shoe closet!” Jenny Parker, 28, doesn’t mind making the trip to Wicker Park from her Forest Park home. “I like the service, and she has a lot of shoes that you don’t see anywhere else.” Also, Parker adds, “It’s a fun store to shop in.”

So what motivated Longua to open Pump four years ago? “I just really love shoes,” she says. “I felt there was a void of feminine and fabulous shoes at moderate prices in this neighborhood.” As for the big looks for this spring, Longua points to “lots of fun color, but a nude, heeled sandal is a must for your wardrobe this season. When it comes to flats, pick a tan or brown gladiator that can be worn with everything from flat-front shorts to patterned sundresses.”

Part of the fun of running Pump is the location. “My customers are my neighbors, and that is what I love about this Wicker Park area,” Longua says. “Despite the growth, it hasn’t lost that community-neighborhood feel that keeps Wicker Park a true jewel of this city for shopping, eating, playing and raising a family.” (Mary Susan Littlepage)

Pump, 1659 West Division, (773)384-6750,

The Daisy Shop

--Closed or Closing, Gold Coast No Comments »

UPDATE: As of January 2012, The Daisy Shop has closed.

67 E. Oak, 6th floor, (312)943-8880, [ratings]

Goods: Women’s couture resale clothing and accessories. Designers: Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Carolina Herrera, Jil Sander, Yves Saint Laurent, and all significant others; purses by Chanel, Judith Leiber, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Moschino, Bottega Veneta, Corem Rose, and others; vintage costume jewelry by Kramer, Weiss, Eisenberg, Kenneth Jay Lane, Schreiner, and others.
Owner: Barbara Nell founded the shop fifteen years ago. Vibe: Tucked away on the sixth floor of an Oak Street deco high-rise, the store feels like a well-organized fashion archive; the knowledgeable staff act like designer docents. Expect to find vintage and current couture garments, estate costume jewelry, hats, belts and handbags. Price Range: Moderate for couture, the prices are what the staff refers to as a “relative bargain.” Shopper’s Perks: Everything in stock is authenticated. Join the Daisy Fresh Pix club to receive flyers about newly arrived designer merchandise before it hits the Web.


The Daisy Shop


-Accessories, -Mens Shoes, -Menswear, -Women's Shoes, -Womenswear, Bucktown, Lincoln Park, Loop, Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village 2 Comments »

1814 W. North, (773)489-0818 (women’s flagship store), 1910 W. North, (312)423-6693 (men’s), 1849 W. North, (773)342-8684 (shoes), 2357 N. Clark, (773)404-5826; 122 S. State, (312)346-3034; 643 W. Diversey, (773)649-9257; [ratings]

Goods: Women’s and men’s clothing, accessories and shoes. Designers: Rock & Republic, Citizens of Humanity, 7 for All Mankind, G-Star Raw, J Lindeberg, Paige Premium Denim; dresses by BCBG, Anna Sui and Betsey Johnson; sunglasses by Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Gucci, Ray-Ban and Dior; shoes by Ted Baker, Creative Recreation, L.A.M.B., Chinese Laundry, Schutz, Adidas and Converse. Owners: College friends Eric Hsueh, Jon Cotay and Erikka Wang began their North Avenue domination with the Akira women’s store in 2002. Now Akira encompasses several different stores all over the city, and 20,000 square feet of retail space on a single street in Bucktown. Vibe: The atmosphere mimics the clothes—it’s young, poppy and vibrant. Clothing is organized by style and designer so you don’t have to mess around. Price Range: Inexpensive-Expensive. The Look: With so many designers, there are so many looks. But a youthful energy shines in feminine prints, bright colors, current trends and designer denim. You can score everything from denim-focused, kick-it gear to an ensemble perfect for sipping martinis at Enclave. Shopper’s Perks: The store’s stylists expertly lead you through “one-stop shopping”—they’re happy to grab shoes or accessories from the other stores to completely finish your look.

Akira Wicker Park


Akira Men

Akira (Men)

Akira Shoes

Akira (Shoes)

Akira Lakeview


Akira Lincoln Park


Akira Loop



G Boutique

-Lingerie, Bucktown No Comments »

2131 N. Damen, (773)235-1234, [ratings]
Goods: Lingerie, sex toys, books, videos and DVDs, massage oils and whips. Designers: Lingerie comes from Simone Perele, Huit, Betsey Johnson, Elle Macpherson, Chantelle, Only Hearts, Hanky Panky, Felina, Aubade, On Gossamer, Madame V and Jane Woolrich. Owners: Cheryl Sloane and Kari Kupcinet-Kriser started G Boutique as a “girlfriend thing”—they envisioned a spot where ladies could stock up on erotic paraphernalia in a comfortable environment. Vibe: A provocative ambiance prevails with deep red and gold hues, old armoires, chaise lounges and items that could blind virgin eyes. The frank and completely relaxed staff helps quell any sex-store jitters. Price Range: Inexpensive-Expensive. The Look: Romantic, sensual, spontaneous. Lingerie ranges from prim and proper to been-around-the-block. Shopper’s Perks: G Boutique hosts private parties (either at the shop or in your home) for ladies to “drink, eat, try on clothes and talk about sex.” Their “How to Please a Man/Woman” classes are also popular.


G Boutique