ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 5 - September

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 161 of 163

Makeup on Your Collar WHEN IT COMES TO FALL FASHION, CHICAGO'S STYLISH SET WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. BY BUNKY CUSHING ILLUSTRATION BY DANIEL O'LEARY A s the heat of summer gives way to the crisp autumn days of September, the thoughts of fashionable Chicago women turn intently to what they've been dreaming about all summer long: new fall clothes. Windy City ladies want to feel comfortable and at ease. They appreciate impeccable tailoring and innovation. Also, a bargain. In Chicago, women employ more of a James Bond suavity than an Al Capone shoot-'em-up attitude in their approach to luxury shopping. Pay retail? Are you mad? Stories abound of elegant Michigan Avenue boutiques and tomblike Oak Street flagships whose directors maintain dossiers that rival J. Edgar Hoover's Marilyn Monroe–JFK file, of clients that employ Watergate-style tactics in gently bribing sales associates to "hide" that marvelous $6,500 Valentino jewel-embroidered gown, $3,595 Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci clutch, or $1,345 Tabitha Simmons sandal until pre-sale, last call, or friends and family discount coupons are distributed. I know of a Chicago woman with an endearing Hayley Mills personality and That Girl backflip who will march into an esteemed department store shoe salon and ask "her" associate to bring out a dozen favorite choices. She'll then choose four to buy, and ask him to give her a call when the remaining eight go on sale. Because he works on commission, pays rent, and enjoys treating his friends on Show Tunes night at Sidetrack, he'll dutifully bury these treasures in the canyons of his store's shoe stockroom until their corporate Private Sale begins. One ultrachic great-grandmother has never set foot in a department store. At the outset of summer she begins leafing through fashion journals for fall inspiration, and by the Feast of the Assumption in August, she'll take a Home Depot carryall filled with pages pillaged from Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle to her divine little dressmaker, who will then whip up exact line-for-line copies. But not before she haggles the price of each item with the skill of a Moroccan rug merchant presenting Kerman repros as authentic. There's also a Chicago phenomenon known as "Wear It & Return It," for which one young mother of four has been banned from a suburban department store. How many times did she think she could get away with returning an expensive dress with the excuse "my husband didn't like the color" when proof of her wearing it would be evident to even an untrained eye: makeup on the collar, a lingering scent of Revlon's "Charlie," and the price tag dangling precariously on the inside bodice. Oh, and having her photo published wearing the dress in Ann Gerber's Skyline column. Will I be accused of nepotism if I bring my mother into this fun? Ninety-four years old, she walks four miles three days a week, reads voraciously, and gardens with the intensity of an archeologist searching for Tibetan treasures. Fall fashion worries? Her daily uniform of Ralph Lauren custom-fit polo shirts, white Calvin Klein slim-cut jeans, and Belgian loafers never varies. Each September she opens her closet and discards an assortment of Adolfo and Bill Blass suits, Donna Karan blouses, Giorgio Armani pants, and a Lilly Daché hat or two. She'll then gallantly drop them off at her Woman's Club Thrift Shop. On the walk home she envisions the young women who will purchase these "vintage" items and enjoy them as much as she did. To Mom, it's the fashionable thing to do. MA Onward! 160 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 160_MA_BOB_GoldCoasting_Sept_13.indd 160 8/7/13 1:21 PM

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