The Owner of Ultimo
114 East Oak Street; 312-787-1171.
During a discussion with friends over dinner at MK about the venerable Oak Street boutique’s being up for grabs, Albrecht debated the idea of buying
Ultimo and then suddenly went for it. That was seven years ago, and
under her ownership, Ultimo continues to be an essential stop for the city’s stylish women.
IN THE BEGINNING “Growing up on a farm in Iowa, we didn’t have a shop next door, so we made our own clothes and added details by default.”
DEADLY FASHION SINS “People who drag out those things from 1982—they may be beautiful clothes, but you need to know when to say ‘when.’ And bad shoes can ruin the whole thing. Don’t sacrifice comfort; just update the shoes.”
BEST LITTLE BLACK DRESSES “By Giambatista Valli. He was Ungaro’s designer for a number of years and designed a fuller skirt that’s not extreme. Kaufman Franco did a more architectural version, and Karl Lagerfeld’s collection had beautiful black-and-white dresses. You can never get too much black and white.”
FASHION FAVORITE “John Galliano. He is capable of doing the perfect ladies’ luncheon suit, then turning around and doing the craziest things you’ve ever seen. He is successful at both ends of the spectrum.”
FAVORITE NEW FACE “Erdem, a young English guy I met in Paris, had a tiny collection using these old English nature prints—birds, butterflies, and bees—for dresses and mixing them with a traditional mackintosh. It was a really interesting mix of a clunky coat with a little dress.”
BAD CURRENT TREND “The bubble skirt. In the spring market, it became a category and a running joke. Who looks good in a bubble skirt?”
WHERE BAGS ARE GOING “Bags are scaling down a bit, and now the large bags are more medium-size, but the clutches have gotten larger—you can actually fit things in them now. I love Nancy Gonzalez’s bags because of her color palette, and her skins are the best.”
BEST ITEM FOR SPRING “Flip-flops to run around in; maybe strappy metallic Manolo Blahniks to go with everything.”
FASHION SHOULD BE “Like art. You buy art that you like, not just because it’s the latest thing.”