Five splurgy shops good for spending your tax return
Barneys New York Barneys has been offering Chicago shoppers its New York City sophistication for years, and in the spring of 2009 it offered even more by moving across the street from its old location and doubling in size. Professionals and socialites with deep pockets head here for top designer and private-label apparel: clothing, jewelry, bags, shoes and accessories spread over 90,000 square feet of retail space. 15 E Oak St (312-587-1700, barneys.com). El: Red to Chicago. Bus: 36, 66, 146, 147, 148, 151. Mon–Sat 10am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm.
Blake You’ll need to be buzzed in to browse the pricey frocks from Dries Van Noten, Marni and others, but the selection is well worth the initial awkwardness. That said, the easily intimidated should head elsewhere, as the staff’s attitude can be just as chill as the shop’s stark interior. 212 W Chicago Ave (312-202-0047). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Chicago. Bus: 66. Mon–Fri 10:30am–7pm; Sat 10:30am–6:30pm.
Ikram Shop owner Ikram Goldman—and sometime Michelle Obama stylist—learned the rag trade at dearly departed Ultimo before opening her boutique. The global scope of high-end fashions, flirty footwear and unique jewelry found in this shop is fresh off the pages of Vogue. 873 N Rush St (312-587-1000, ikram.com). El: Red to Chicago. Bus: 36, 66, 146, 147, 148, 151. Mon–Sat 10am–6pm.
Orange Skin Graduating from your days of IKEA decor and budget is not an issue? Then this River North furniture showroom is a must-stop shop. The ultra-modern Italian designs featured here are so sleek, they’re almost futuristic—with a heavy nod to midcentury design. Look for lines such as Kartell, Vitra, Bellato and Minotti. In addition to selling high-end merch, store employees (many with professional experience in architecture and design) provide consultations on all levels of design such as furniture placement, color concepts and structural changes. 223 W Erie St (312-335-1033, orangeskin.com). El: Red to Chicago. Bus: 22, 36, 66. Mon–Sat 10am–6pm.
Sacra Owner Alexis Cozzini loves the feeling of discovering a fashion find on vacation and knowing that no one else back home will have it. And that’s the vibe she’s going for at her Gold Coast boutique. The upscale women’s clothing shop is packed with exclusive lines from all over the world: Markus Lupfer (Germany), Zimmermann (Australia), Pura Lopez (Spain) and Alberto Fasciani (Italy). You’ll also find accessory and jewelry lines from British designers Jane Carr and Bex Rox as well as one-of-a-kind vintage pieces from New Yorker Randy Clare. Prices range from $198–$595, so you’re definitely paying for the exclusivity. 710 N Wabash Ave (312-255-0900, shopsarca.com). El: Red to Chicago. Bus: 22, 36, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 151. Tue–Sat 10am–6pm; Sun noon–5pm.