Shopping in Chicago
i'm going to chicago on the 4th of may for a field trip and only have 5 hours to shop on michigan avenue where do i have to go?
I want to get this one shirt from armani $32 pretty good for armani but then after that where else should i go?
I'll probably just go to the mall there and shop at A&F
i wouldve said go to oak street but you seem like you would be better off going to Water Tower Place Mall and Nordstrom Mall. AF is inside water tower and A|X is inside nordstrom mall.
Barneys, Prada, YSL Rive Gauche, Jil Sander, Hermes, Chanel, Loro Piana, Tod's, and a bunch of other little boutiques. Also Louis Vuitton, and Gucci are right off to the side of the intersection of Oak street and Mich Ave. Its a pretty good area.
Shopping in Chicago
Meet 6 designers putting Chicago on the map
By Wendy Donahue
Tribune staff reporter
October 16, 2005
Fashion Focus Chicago is officially over, but local designers still are reaping the rewards from the finale, Gen Art's Fresh Faces in Fashion show, and Marshall Field's Chicago Designer Shop, open through the end of this month.
"From the Field's shop, I've gotten phone calls from people who want pieces in different sizes," said designer Kent Nielsen, whose menswear also was featured in the Fresh Faces show. "[Fashion Focus] was a lot of good publicity and I'm thrilled that I got to be part of it. It's done a lot to put a real face on Chicago fashion."
The fact that Fashion Focus kicked off only a day before Federated Department Stores announced that Marshall Field's would morph into Macy's next fall raised a big question:
Will Macy's support local talent the way Field's has, with its shop on the third floor of the State Street store, dedicated to 20 Chicago clothing and accessories designers?
"Our buyers are working with some of the designers already to continue [being carried] in our store," said Ralph Hughes, regional vice president for Marshall Field's. "I think that, under Macy's, we'll do things that are smart and that continue to build our reputation and things that make good business sense. These things make good business sense."
Here's a look at the fashion sense and sensibilities of six designers who were featured in the Fashion Focus finale, a preview of their spring 2006 collections.
DESIGNS: Girly wear with Old Hollywood flair and the motto "Please be kind, wear with heels." Lots of lace and silk.
STANDOUTS: Designer Allie Adams' flirty skirts always shine, including the Tip Toe Tutu (around $220) with tulle--"very swishy and fun to wear," Adams says.
AVAILABLE: Red Head Boutique, 3450 N. Southport Ave., and Sweet William, 15 E. 1st St., Hinsdale.
ETC. As a girl, Adams collaborated on costumes for her competitive figure skating and later studied design at the University of Minnesota. The brand is named in part for her grandmother.
DESIGNS: Classic menswear with an element of mischief--ties are cut wider and longer; pants have a slight flare. (A small women's collection of blouses, jackets and scarves is a recent addition.)
STANDOUTS: Striped shirt/tie sets ($275-$325) are a signature. For Fresh Faces, he did special paisley sets under an ultraluxe navy/ivory glen plaid silk dinner jacket ($2,800) with navy velvet tuxedo pants ($450).
AVAILABLE: Jake, 939 N. Rush St. and 3740 N. Southport Ave., and kentnielsen.com.
ETC. After a fruitless search for black pants with a little flare for his 6-foot-2 frame, this Web and software developer decided to make his own.
DESIGNS: Bohemian knits and wovens that often flip, wrap or reverse--a poncho doubles as a dress; a halter dress as a skirt. Lots of bamboo and rayon jersey.
STANDOUTS: With their convertibility, sweaters always pack punch. For spring, retailers have gravitated to a coral rayon jersey dress ($228), with a chocolate shawl/vest ($78), and a gold bamboo/viscose handloomed dress ($380).
AVAILABLE: p.45, 1643 N. Damen Ave., and Ami Ami, 720 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield.
ETC. She launched at p.45 while still a student at the School of the Art Institute.
DESIGNS: Sexy-sweet skirts, dresses, jackets, pants and tops with deconstructed details.
STANDOUTS: A gray and white silk jersey dress with a cowl-neck back and magnolia beaded appliques (about $350). Also, a white laser-cut leather skirt with cotton cut-out hem ($600).
AVAILABLE: p.45, 1643 N. Damen Ave., and Ami Ami, 720 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield.
ETC.: Launched in 2000 after graduation from the International Academy of Design and Technology.
DESIGNS: Sophisticated dresses, skirts and tops in silk and matte jersey that pour over curves. Lots of ruching and draping.
STANDOUTS: A raglan short-sleeve slate-blue dress with deep V-neck and back cutout in rayon matte jersey ($385). Also, a champagne sueded silk bubble skirt ($275) with a matte jersey scoopneck top ($225).
AVAILABLE: Jake, 3740 N. Southport Ave. and 939 N. Rush St., and Ami Ami, 720 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield.
ETC. Espinoza moved from Los Angeles to Chicago about five years ago, where his label is hitting its stride.
DESIGNS: Classic garments with a twist. His spring collection is inspired by British formality. Colors generally are subdued (blacks, grays, browns, whites) with spots of bright yellow and geranium red.
STANDOUTS: A cotton batiste double shirt (about $350) and silver cotton and silk grosgrain skirt with pleated lining ($340). Also, a 1942 men's tuxedo jacket reinvented for a woman (about $700).
AVAILABLE: p.45, 1643 N. Damen Ave.
ETC. Gabier, who spent a couple of years working in Antwerp, Belgium, teaches at the School of the Art Institute.
Look out, New York!
It's getting haute-er by the lake as local designers put Chicago on the fashion map
By Wendy Donahue
Tribune staff reporter
October 16, 2005
The walls of the Chinatown atelier dance with sueded silk dresses and matte jersey skirts.
So do the designer's eyes.
"I have a meeting tomorrow with two sales reps who were at the Fresh Faces in Fashion show and are dying to carry the collection," Orlando Espinoza says. "This season, for spring, we'll probably double our sales."
Flipping through his fall 2005 look book, he points to a photo of a brown raglansleeve dress with bust ruching.
"This sold out in a week at Marshall Field's," Espinoza says.
So, if you ask Espinoza about the local design scene--on the heels of Fashion Focus Chicago, the city's first festival to promote its fashion industry--his enthusiasm flows like the river outside his showroom's windows.
"This is the start of something big," Espinoza says.
Never has Chicago design talent turned so many heads, not just in the city, but beyond, say fashion observers.
Two festival highlights, in particular, did wonders: Marshall Field's Chicago Designer Shop, open through the end of the month, and the recent soldout Fresh Faces fashion show, presented by the emerging artists organization Gen Art. (It wasn't the first Fresh Faces show in Chicago, but American Express sponsorship elevated this one, attracting 1,000 people to the Millennium Park Rooftop Garden.)
Not even Espinoza or Chicago's mayor, who is the fashion industry's most potent cheerleader, would deny that there are challenges to maintaining the momentum.
But, in an interview at the Fresh Faces event, Mayor Richard M. Daley said Fashion Focus, conceived by the city and centered in the Loop this year, will be bigger next year.
"We'll really expand it into the neighborhoods," he said. "We're going to sit down with all the people who worked on it: Is this a good time or is August the best time? Evaluate it. I'm excited about it because it really shows how Chicago is changing. We have great artists here--I describe them as artists, the whole fashion industry. There's a significant industry here, and the more we highlight it and the more retail it gets and the more Chicagoans buy, the better it's going to get. Instead of going to L.A. and New York, we're seeing many [designers] stay here."
To do so still requires a bit of pioneering spirit, says veteran Chicago designer Maria Pinto.
"Every time I go to New York, if one person asks me, 10 people ask me, `Why don't you move to New York?'" says Pinto, 48, who relaunched her luxe eveningwear line last year after folding it in 2002, in the wake of the Sept. 11 downturn. "Manufacturing is very limited in Chicago. In New York and L.A., there's a built-in industry."
In her Elston Avenue showroom/factory, a few miles up the Chicago River from Espinoza's, a small army cuts patterns, sews and presses alongside bulging bags of feathers on a Tuesday morning. Pinto, who expanded into daywear this fall, is starting to outsource some of her production to New York, India and, soon, Italy.
A fan base
Her business is rebuilding faster than she expected, she says. Prominent fans include Michelle Obama, the wife of Sen. Barack Obama, featured wearing a Pinto gown in July Vogue.
In a few hours, Pinto would be leaving for Paris to show her collection there--she also shows in New York--to catch eyes of international clients. She was in Paris two weeks prior to buy fabric. She'll go to New York at the end of the month.
"[All of the travel] is the downside of being in Chicago. But it's offset--family and friends, the culture of Chicago, the energy of Chicago--it's a great place to live."
Pinto, Espinoza and others have been invited to meetings on a prospective Fashion Incubator, inspired by an operation in Toronto that Daley saw, to cultivate local talent. One vision of an incubator could combine a showroom, production center and retail space for several emerging designers, with affordable rent, and an employment office for sewers and patternmakers.
Dorothy Fuller, president of the city's Apparel Industry Board Inc., isn't convinced that's necessary. AIBI already offers mentoring and loan programs as well as fabric sales and referrals to sewing contractors--it's a fallacy that workers are in short supply, she said.
At the Stylemax trade show in August at the Merchandise Mart, AIBI added its first "incubator" section for emerging designers, including Allie Adams, 27, of Doris Ruth, to reach buyers and retailers. For the "Chicago is . . . Red Hot!" fashion show that was part of Stylemax, AIBI had interviewed 75 designers for participation, and 46 were accepted.
"Of that number, 25 were new, emerging designers," Fuller said. "So the industry is healthy. It's different from years ago when there were a lot of big companies. Now there are maybe five big companies left. We're proud of the new companies that are popping up."
Espinoza agrees the resources are here.
"But I think the problem is the [sewing] contractors do not know the designers are there," he said, "and designers do not know the contractors are there. Having it, possibly, under one roof may help."
For now, Espinoza handles small orders in-house and contracts large orders to Chicago manufacturers. He lifts the curtains that border a fitting room separating his showroom from his production room.
There stands a mammoth computerized pattern plotter and stacks of plastic-sealed orders ready to ship. A single sewing machine hums as Espinoza's sole samplemaker stitches the panels of a chocolate flannel pencil skirt.
"We're completely computerized," says Espinoza, 39, who started out studying computer applications before answering the fashion calling in his native Los Angeles. He moved to Chicago about five years ago.
Espinoza even sketches and drafts patterns on his laptop.
Infiltrating every store on the planet is not in his business plan.
"What happens is, you'll take all these orders in, and before you know it you have a nightmare with production, and that's when stores notice--orders are late, defective. So as a small business that's growing, you have to be really careful."
The owners of Jake boutiques, which started on Southport Avenue and just opened on Rush Street, praise his quality control.
"Certainly we would not carry a line simply because it's made in Chicago; however, we love the cachet of nurturing local talent," said Lance Lawson, co-owner of the two Jakes, which carry Espinoza's women's wear and menswear from Kent Nielsen, 27, another Chicago designer featured in Fresh Faces.
"Both Kent and Orlando design clothes that are very appropriate for our customer," Lawson said. "Plus, for both of them, their manufacturing is really solid; the quality and production are really superb."
Lawson and his Jake co-owner, Jim Wetzel, attended Gen Art's Fresh Faces show in New York before Chicago's.
"We were expecting [New York] to be a world above," Lawson said. "I think the talent here is stronger."
Even Manhattan is becoming less myopic, said Gen Art fashion director Mary Gehlhar. Based in New York, she was a panelist for a Fashion Focus Chicago seminar related to her new book, "The Fashion Designer Survival Guide" (Dearborn Trade, $22.95 paper). More than 300 people turned out at the Chicago Cultural Center for it.
"New York has gotten a bit obvious," Gehlhar said. "Now people want to discover something nobody knows about. This would be an ideal place for Barneys or Bloomies to adopt a new talent and take it up the ladder into recognition."
As part of Fashion Focus, the Street Beat runway show showcased the designs of fashion students at the School of the Art Institute, Columbia College, the International Academy of Design and Technology, and the Illinois Institute of Art.
"I talked to the people at Saks in New York about it," Gehlhar said. "They said, `That's amazing, but the timing is wrong for us because we'll be in Milan' [for the Italian shows]. If they knew that the talent was here, they would come to the student shows."
Smaller can be better
On the manufacturing side, New York is facing competition not just from China but also from other U.S. cities, Gehlhar said. Smaller factories can work to a cottage designer's advantage; they might not require a minimum number of garments, and the designer's line won't be bumped because Marc Jacobs' order turned up.
"A lot is decentralizing out of New York," Gehlhar said. "The opportunities are huge."
From the beginning eight years ago, Tricia Tunstall made launching local talent a cornerstone of her p.45 boutique in Bucktown. She carries Lara Miller, Shane Gabier, Michelle Tan and newcomer Kelly Pasek.
"Now there are so many more boutiques in Chicago that are interested in emerging designers," she said. "And our Chicago designers aren't just selling to boutiques in Chicago. They're going to markets in New York and L.A. and they're very successful. It's nice to see."
Chicago fashion schools seem to be incorporating more business guidance lately, she said. (She has spoken to classes.) It's starting to make the benefits of staying in Chicago multiply.
"What's refreshing is our designers have their individual style," Tunstall said. "I think a lot of times that gets stifled if you're in New York, because so much of the emphasis is on the trends of the year."
Iconic fashionistas can appreciate that from their coastal perches.
During Sarah Jessica Parker's visit to Marshall Field's to promote her new fragrance last month, designer Miller, 25, left her a box containing a few of her designs.
Parker called her afterward, leaving a message that she thought they were beautiful and appreciated the gift.
"She actually has on her answering machine Sarah Jessica Parker," Tunstall said. "I told Lara, `Don't ever erase that message.'"
Does anyone in Chicago go to Blake on Lincoln Ave? I haven't been in almost three years, and I heard they don't carry menswear anymore... a shame it it's true!
It was great when I could go there for Raf Simons, Margiela 10 and 0/10 lines and Ann Demeulemeester.
Any word on what it's like these days?
never been to blake. I did most of my shopping on Oak street which is perpendicular to michigan ave. Oak has Barney's(very tiny), jil sander, prada, YSL, ed greene etc. another hotspot is active endeavors. which is like chicagos version of new yorks atrium.
It's still hard enough to find any place that stocks Dior Homme in Chicago, so I figure the chances of Ann Dem, Chalayan, or any of the Maltieri/Continues lines is near impossible. Too bad we are not as avant-garde with clothing as we are with food in this city! We have Alinea, but not Linea... (sorry for the bad pun, if that is what it was!)
speaking of chicago shopping.
heatherette is going to make an appearance on the 29th:
SATURDAY October 29, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Richie and Traver share a preview of their holiday collection (pre-orders will
be available at the event,) AND enjoy music and informal modeling as you shop.
To R.S.V.P. or for special accommodations information, call 312.464.1515 ext.
Nordstrom Michigan Avenue
55 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611 Savvy, on three.
The world was a mess, but his hair was perfect.
Yes, Blake stopped carrying menswear a couple of years back. Its a shame, I know. They are supposed to be moving to River North sometime soon so I wonder if they will give it another try. I'll have to ask next time I'm in.
Robin Richman in Bucktown just started carrying menswear. She has Walter Van Beirendonck, James Coviello and Marc Le Bihan. I haven't been in, but a friend was and was impressed.