Bolstering the recent trend of independent shoe retailers in the city, Grace (1917 N. Damen Ave.; 773-384-7223) in Bucktown opens on August 10th. The beautiful new minimalist space will carry 15 shoe brands and handbag lines, from both established and emerging (mainly European) labels. Owner Kristi Ryan, who recently shuttered her own recruiting firm to open the boutique, says her strategy is to stock many styles of little known, high quality brands that are otherwise hard to find. “We have a lot of shoes that can be worn in several different places in your life-with jeans or a dress, to a wedding, or out with the girls,” Ryan says. We liked the cute original wellie boots from Hunter ($98), in nine colors including lime green, hot pink, and red; pair them with wellie socks, $30, to wear them in the winter. You’ll also find ballet flats, such as the leopard flats with a buckle from Jean-Michel Cazabat or the comfy animal print pair from London Sole, exclusive to this store in Chicago. The sizing is European (sizes 36½ to 41, roughly American sizes 5½ to 11), and Ryan carries only one size per style. You’ll also find leather totes and clutches from Cate Adair, and metallic “Loose Pocket” totes from Anya Hindmarch. Watch for the store’s grand opening in mid-September.
Maxin’ and Relaxin’
A new yoga studio, spa, café, and lifestyle boutique for women, Silken Tent (2300 Chestnut Ave., Glenview; 847-510-1240) opened its doors today, August 7th. The 11,000-square-foot eco-friendly wellness spa (75 percent of services are organic) offers yoga and pilates; spa services like manicures, pedicures, and facials; as well as acupuncture, massage, and a tea bar. (Before and after every treatment, take advantage of the water ritual, a rain shower, aromatherapy steam room, and sauna.) In the retail store, find skin care products from B. Kamins, makeup from Kevyn Aucoin, Zoe Oliver jewelry, and yoga wear.
Top Sales This Week
Hit the ATM, because this weekend is chock full of sample sales. These caught our eye:
LuxuryDrop, a subsidiary of ExpressDrop, is getting out of the sample sale game to concentrate on its eBay business. Before the business makes the change, it is liquidating existing merchandise with a huge sample sale of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, shoes, and accessories (as well as a smattering of Domicile furniture) at 80 to 90 percent off original prices. For example, G-Star men’s jeans are $30 from $150; a Catherine Malandrino skirt, originally $285 is down to $57. The sale starts August 11th and runs through August 16th, with hours from noon to 5 p.m. at 346 North Justine Street. Admission is $5.
The semi-annual stacked rack sale at Beta Boutique (2016 W. Concord Pl.; 773-276-0905) offers local designer and samples, and boutique overstock at 40 to 90 percent off retail prices, starting at $10 and topping out at $150. Look for local brands like Blake Standard, Doris Ruth, and Eskell, as well as boutique brands like Betsey Johnson, Ya-Ya, 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent, and Rachel Pally. A Doris Ruth dress, originally $340, sells for $150; and a Betsey Johnson lace dress, originally $270, goes for $124. The boutique will be closed during the sale, which is off-site at 1552 North Milwaukee Avenue (on the second floor, above Art + Science salon). The salon will be giving away free gift bags to the first 300 shoppers and Spa Forever, a new boutique opening this month, is offering free mini-facials and chair massages. The sale runs August 11th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and August 12th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Best of the Rest
- Get closer to dressing like those Sex and the City ladies at the Dognin Paris trunk show at Bess & Loie (1015 W. Lake St.; 312-226-2247). The leather purse company, as seen on the arms of Carrie Bradshaw and her friends, has partnered exclusively with the boutique to launch a custom design service. Stop in on August 10th or 11th between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and choose a design, leather, fabric, and patterned lining, and a one-of-a-kind bag will be ready by the fall.
- To celebrate the grand opening of the new Gold Coast location, Madison and Friends and The Denim Lounge (43 E. Oak St.; 312-642-6403) offer 15 percent off purchases and an opportunity for to meet White Sox players on August 11th. From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., get an autograph and pose for a photo with Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, and AJ Pierzynski with a $40 donation to Children’s Home + Aid. The new location will also carry new brands such as Anlo, Juicy, True Religion, Earnest Sewn, and Junkfood.
- Tula (3738 N. Southport Ave.; 773-549-2876) offers 50 percent off Repetto ballet flats (in silver, black, and gold), marking down the shoes from $195 to $97.50. And all summer wear is 50 to 75 percent off while merchandise lasts.
- Susan Handley, the founder and designer of Beijo handbags, hosts a fundraiser on August 10th from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hard Rock Hotel (230 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-602-WISH) for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Check out the silent auction and raffle for prizes like hotel stays, autographs, and gift baskets while browsing the new fall collection for the handbag company, which is largely sold by working moms. Admission is free; proceeds benefit the charity.
- Noteworthy Notes and Gifts (1440 N. Kingsbury St.; 866-36-NOTES ) hosts a huge summer sale on August 8th and 9th. Spend $25 to get $10 off; $50 to get $12.50 off, and $100 to get $30 off, or browse the specialty markdown clearance as well. Wednesday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday hours run 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Hobnob with celebrity photographer Marc Baptiste, whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, and Rolling Stone at SHE (1024 W. Armitage Ave.; 312-751-5528) on August 9th at 7 p.m. The event includes a book signing of his latest book, Marc Baptiste Nudes, a cocktail party, and DJ. RSVP to the store.
- The Silk Trading Co. (900 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-664-7600) offers huge discounts on merchandise through August 19th. Take 20 percent off custom drapery purchases over $1,500; 20 percent off hardware and upholstered floor samples; 25 percent off pillows and lampshades; and 40 percent off Chinese wood furniture.
- Get a sneak peek at fall fashion at Akira’s Precious Metal Runway Event, held at Moe’s Cantina (3518 N. Clark St.; 773-248-0002), on August 9th, featuring metallic elements from the fall colelciton. Including pieces from William Rast, Report Signature Shoes, and Bed: Stu. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8:30 p.m. RSVP to Maggie@akirachicago.com.
- Gray (821 Chestnut Ct., Winnetka, 847-446-5650; 1361 N. Wells St., 312-573-0750) takes 50 to 80 percent off clearance items and 30 percent off select summer items during its last call sale to make room for fall merchandise.
- Raise money for underprivileged youth and get a peek at the Spring 2008 collection of Chicago designs AGGA B., Lara Miller, and Shibuy Hada at a fashion show presented by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Stitches Fashion Program. The runway show will be held August 9th at The Underground (56 W. Illinois St.; RSVP to email@example.com). Doors open at 8:30 p.m., show starts at 10 p.m. The $20 admission benefits the Chicago Professionals for Youth.
- Ulta (103 S. Washington St., Naperville; 866-340-3704) hosts a grand opening at its new location on August 10th with free makeovers and hair consultations, and gift certificates for the first 100 customers.
- Through August 12th, take advantage of the end of season sale at Helly Hansen (1841 N. Clybourn Ave.; 773-248-6250), with 15 to 30 percent off summer styles from Reef and Smartwool, and 60 percent off select winter jackets.
- Nika le butik (143 N. Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge; 847-696-1700) hosts a one year anniversary party on August 11th. Take 40 percent off everything in the store, including new items, with racks of designer clothes sold at wholesale from brands such as Hudson, Paige Premium Denim, Halé Bob, and Three Dots, among others. Champagne and appetizers offered throughout the day, and music starts at 5 p.m. Enter to win a $300 shopping spree during the event.
- Lissa on Maxwell (729 W. Maxwell St.; 312-563-9470) offers summer clothes at 50 to 70 percent off throughout the summer.
- Before David Yurman opens the doors of its downtown boutique next month, check out the collection at Neiman Marcus (737 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-642-5900 x2110), with a preview of the Graphite Ice Collection, a mix of black and white diamonds. The event runs August 9th through 11th.
- Bedside Manor Ltd. (2056 N. Halsted St., 773-404-2020; 929 N. Green Bay Rd., Winnetka, 847-441-0969; 38 S. Garfield Ave., Hinsdale, 630-655-0497; 192 E. Westminster, Lake Forest, 847-295-8370) hosts its annual down sale this month, offering 25 percent off pillows, comforters, and mattress pads.
- Check out the entire Oliver Peoples collection during the trunk show at Spex (522 Dempster St., Evanston; 847-864-5200) on August 7th from 2 to 6 p.m. The same location hosts a Ray-Ban Trunk show on August 11th from noon to 3 p.m.; get a free beach bag with each sunglass purchase.
- Pilsen boutique Under the Wire (2210 S. Halsted St.; 312-733-9350) offers 50 percent off owner Sue Rosengard’s jewelry from August 9th through 16th. Stop in during the second Friday event and gallery walk on August 10th from 6 to 10 p.m. to browse the collections while sipping wine.
- On weekdays during August, Continuum Studio (5671 N. Clark St.; 773-728-7883) will throw in a complimentary 30-minute treatment (up to $55) for clients who book a 60- or 90-minute service. Also save 20 percent on Dermalogica solar defense and SkinCeuticals sunscreen throughout the month.