Pleated dresses, pouffy hats, and plaid haberdashery will surely become hot local commodities after Marc by Marc Jacobs opens in Bucktown in August. But the Marc début-and the openings (or planned openings) of a Harry Winston, a David Yurman, a Tory Burch, a Jimmy Choo, and two Intermix stores-point to an even hotter commodity: the Chicago shopper, whose retail spending shot up 7.9 percent last year, eclipsing the national average of 6 percent. What’s causing the windfall of luxe boutiques? “The Macy’s acquisition of Marshall Field’s has opened a gap in the market for high-end specialty retailers,” says John Melaniphy, a Chicago-based retail locational specialist, who also cites the recent housing boom downtown and the increasingly brand-conscious shopper. “The merchandise that [Macy’s] brought and said was upscale-the consumer said, Wrong.”
An electrifying ensemble: Pan Am Explorer bag in vintage white ($64), at Marc by Marc Jacobs, 1714 N. Damen Ave. Blue leather Berry ankle boots ($895), available in black at Jimmy Choo, 63 E. Oak St.; 312-255-1170. With cobalt blue opaque nylon tights ($39), at Fogal Legwear of Switzerland, 900 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-944-7866.
Photograph: Jeff Harris