869 N. Larrabee, (312)202-0012, shophavilah.com [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.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
1706 N. Wells, (312)751-2929, handlewithcarechicago.com [ratings]
Goods: Women’s clothing, accessories, perfume, candles and cards. Designers: J Brand, Gold Hawk, Three Dots, Nanette Lepore, Theory, Shoshanna, Rebecca Taylor, Hudson, Rozae Nichols, Trina Turk, Diane von Furstenberg, House of Harlow, Citrine By the Stones and Tibi. Owner: Brinton Coxe recently took over this 25-year-old boutique. Vibe: The rooms are bright and elegant, with delicate chandeliers and exposed brick walls. The sales staff is dressed adorably and an upbeat mood prevails with eighties and nineties hits in the background. Price Range: Moderate-Luxury. The Look: Each room increases in price and dressiness, so there’s something for any occasion. Wear to drinks on a friend’s patio, your college roommate’s wedding or dinner at NoMi. Shopper’s Perks: Client books kept by the staff remind them to alert you when your favorite designers come in. A classy handwritten note thanks customers for purchases.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
Handle With Care
3458 N. Southport, (773)248-1967, kristak.com [ratings]
Goods: Women’s clothing and accessories. Designers: Rebecca Taylor, Tibi, MINT by jodi arnold, Haute Hippie, Helmut Lang, Current/Elliott, William Rast, jeans by Citizens of Humanity. Owner: Drawing on her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management—and her considerable experience with shopping—Krista Kaur Meyers opened her boutique in 2002. Vibe: This two-story, window-lined boutique carries fully stocked floors, an approachable staff and plenty of catch-your-breath seating. Price Range: Moderate. The Look: Take these crisp, sophisticated and full-of-feminine-charm pieces from a holiday party to an evening of ten-dollar martinis. Shopper’s Perks: With an oversized leather couch, a basket of kid’s toys and a stack of magazines, this shop is well-equipped to occupy antsy family members. Each January and July, the Shop Around the Clock sale allows shoppers to score an additional fifty percent off already-reduced items for the first hour.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009
Krista K. Boutique
As Fashion Focus Chicago kicks off this month, there’s no better place to check out the brand spankin’ new designer talent than at the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show. The young designer showcase (in its fifth year in Chicago, sixteenth in New York) has garnered a reputation as the place to view up-and-coming talent, and has helped designers like Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Michelle Tan and Orlando Espinoza to the next level. According to Gen Art Chicago director Amanda Nosal, fashion designers are definitely in need of extra support.
“One of the main things for designers is to show their collections during fashion week. Doing that in New York costs $50,000 and up, but it’s the only way to get collections in front of everyone all at once,” she says. The Gen Art solution? Sponsorship. Each sponsor’s logo graces the stage behind one of the collections, allowing them to showcase ten young designers, many of whom would have remained undiscovered without the helpful boost.
To create the show Nosal spends the year scouring the scene for buzz-worthy designers. A few months before the final selection she contacts in-the-know shops like Jake and Hejfina to see what new local lines they’re excited about. With many of this year’s designers on only their second or third collections, the pool of talent will undoubtedly be fashionably cutting-edge. “I think this year we’re showing designers that I haven’t heard a lot of talk about [outside the fashion industry],” Nosal says. “They’re really new and really fresh, which is exciting” Included on the list are womenswear designers Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Moire Conroy, menswear line Wrath Arcane and accessories collections by Winifred Grace and Kinsley Handbags.
While the short-term goals of the show focus on exposing our local talent to the fashion world, their long-term ambitions involve turning Chicago into the next great designer haven.
“Chicago has great designers, but not a ton to pick from. I hope as the show and Fashion Focus grow that more designers are encouraged to stay and create their business here,” Nosal says. “That’s what the goal is.” (Molly Each)
The Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show takes place October 9 at 7:30pm at Millennium Park. For ticket information check out www.genart.com or www.fashionfocuschicago.com.