New Gift Boutique in River North

A Little June in December
Finding a gift for that discerning person on your list just got a little easier. June Blaker (870 N. Orleans St.; 312-751-9220), who has owned Chicago stores on and off over the last 30 years, opened an eponymous River North boutique a block away from the location of the store she shuttered in 2001. Stocking an eclectic mix of high-style novelty home accents, jewelry, and purses, Blaker defies the usual gift store bric-a-brac mishmash. Gorgeously sculptural graphite objects (such as lips, flowers, and animals) can be used as paperweights or writing utensils (hands are $65; feet are $58 for the pair). Mounted insects and butterflies, one of her trademark objects over the years, defy creepy and use nature as art form ($125 to $1,500). Also check out the…

A Little June in December
Finding a gift for that discerning person on your list just got a little easier. June Blaker (870 N. Orleans St.; 312-751-9220), who has owned Chicago stores on and off over the last 30 years, opened an eponymous River North boutique a block away from the location of the store she shuttered in 2001. Stocking an eclectic mix of high-style novelty home accents, jewelry, and purses, Blaker defies the usual gift store bric-a-brac mishmash. Gorgeously sculptural graphite objects (such as lips, flowers, and animals) can be used as paperweights or writing utensils (hands are $65; feet are $58 for the pair). Mounted insects and butterflies, one of her trademark objects over the years, defy creepy and use nature as art form ($125 to $1,500). Also check out the jewelry of butterfly wings pressed into pendants ($45) and earrings ($40 to $65). Other jewelry, including Blaker’s beaded designs, tends toward va-va-voom dramatic, from leaded crystal cuffs to oversized cocktail rings. You’ll also find Comme des Garçons fragrances, a cool projection clock, and her own Narcissus bulbs that come in silver tin with a bow ($40).

Top Sales This Week
Brides, some decorum, please. Appointments are required—so the semi-annual bridal gown sample sale at Macy’s (111 N. State St.; 312-781-3545) will not be a zoo. Gowns from Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Romona Keveza, and Justina McCaffrey, among other well-known brands, are discounted 50 to 75 percent off on Dec. 8th, with appointments available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All sales are final, and brides who purchase a gown at the sale receive 10 percent off accessory and bridesmaid purchases.

The One of a Kind Show and Sale, one of the premiere annual events at the Merchandise Mart (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, 8th floor; 312-527-4141), runs from Dec. 6th through 9th, and features painting, fiber, photography, jewelry, sculpture, and furniture from 400 artists. Tickets are $10; for hours, visit oneofakindshow.com.

The Best of the Rest

  • Jake (939 N. Rush St., 312-664-5553; 3740 N. Southport Ave., 773-929-5253; 565 N. Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, 847-501-5253) pushed up the dates of its bi-annual sale, and selected merchandise is now marked down 40 percent. On Dec. 26th, additional sale items will be added, with previous sale items marked down to 60 percent off. Designer goods includes those from brands such as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Helmut Lang, Habitual, and Loeffler Randall (shoes).
  • Shopping guru Heather Kenny and Tula (3738 N. Southport Ave.; 773-549-2876) team up for an open house with wine, treats, and informal wardrobe advice. Receive 10 percent off the first styling session with Kenny, 10 percent off Tula purchases, and enter to win a free closet consultation on Dec. 5th from 6 to 8 p.m. RSVP to info@tulaboutique.com or heather@heatherkenny.com
  • Jewelry designer Kristen Amato hosts the K.Amato holiday sale on Dec. 5th from 5 to 8 p.m. at the K. Amato Showroom (1229 W. Diversey Ave.) on Dec. 6th from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Omni Hotel Van Gogh Room (676 N. Michigan Ave.). Take 30 percent off regularly priced merchandise; clearance items will be priced from $3 to $35.
  • The Renegade Craft Fair hosts its holiday market on Dec. 8th and 9th from noon to 8 p.m. at Pulaski Park (1419 W. Blackhawk St.; 773-227-2707). Similar to the summer fair, this marketplace will offer more than 100 vendors in stationery, jewelry, clothing, and gifts.
  • Stop by the Hanky Panky party at Plein Aire (2036 W. Division St.; 773-227-3772) on Dec. 7th from 6 to 9 p.m. for its buy-two-get-one-free sale. A sales representative from the underwear line will bring out the latest styles.
  • Cash and Carry Fabric and Trim Sale, hosted by the Apparel Industry Board, runs Dec. 5th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 6th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with designer fabrics, buttons, trims, and purse handles in small quantities at the Apparel Industry Board (350 N. Orleans St.; 312-836-1041). Entry is $5 for adults, $1 for students.
  • Roscoe Village merchants host a Holiday Stroll (Roscoe Street from Damen Avenue to Oakley Street) on Dec. 7th from 6 to 9 p.m. with cocktails, appetizers, trunk shows, discounts, and a tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. at Costello’s (2015 W. Roscoe St.)
  • Local tie designer Lee Allison (1820 W. Webster Ave., #401; 773-276-7172) hosts two weekend Holiday Open Houses—the first on December 9th, and another on December 15th and 16th. Allison will be showcasing new merchandise and sale items such as ties, bow ties, and shirts (both stock and custom made).
  • Lincoln Park boutiques along Armitage Avenue, Halsted Street, and Webster Avenue host a Holiday Parade along the avenues on Dec. 8th with discounts, carolers, and a parade concluded by the appearance of Santa Claus. The Southport Holiday Stroll runs along Southport Avenue in Lake View on Dec. 7th from 5 to 11 p.m., with late-night shopping, cocktails, carolers, and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
  • The Handmade Afghan Rug Sale, a sale of Arzu Rugs, an organization that provides sustainable income for impoverished Afghan women, runs Dec. 8th and 9th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A percentage of sales will benefit the Lake Forest Country Day School (145 S. Green Bay Rd., Lake Forest; 847-234-2350). Preview the rugs at arzurugs.org; prices range $500 to $16,000.
  • On Dec. 7th and 8th, Krista K (3458 N. Southport Ave.; 773-248-1967) previews the spring collection of Lana Jewelry trunk show. On the same dates, Krista K Maternity + Baby (3530 N. Southport Ave.; 773-248-4477) offers 25 percent off maternity holiday clothing.
  • Evlove Intimates, the local custom underwear line, hosts two holiday events with guaranteed delivery before Christmas. Events are Dec. 5th from 5 to 9 p.m. at Lather on Damen (4831 N. Damen Ave.; 773-878-5600) and Dec. 6th from 5 to 9 p.m. at Lather on Montrose (1826 W. Montrose Ave.; 773-271-7200). RSVP to the spas to attend; preview the line at evloveintimates.com.
  • Check out the Agga B Raya line, the first Chicago-based designer offered at Gamma Player (2035 W. Division St.; 773-235-0755) on Dec. 8th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at a trunk show of the spring/summer 2008 collection.
  • Bliss Spa (644 North Lake Shore Drive, 8th Floor; 312-266-9293) hosts a holiday event on Dec. 4th from 6 to 8 p.m. with discounts on Bliss and Laboratoire Remède products, raffles, winter skin consultations, and Champagne. The event requires an RSVP, but discounts on skin products run all day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Brides, make an appointment for the Lazaro Trunk Show at Belle Vie Bridal Couture (34 E. Oak St.; 312-751-2222) on Dec. 7th and 8th, with 10 percent off and special custom changes.
  • The Handmade Market, a crafter’s market with mostly local designers, hosts its holiday market on Dec. 8th from noon to 4:30 p.m. at The Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.; handmadechicago.com). Entry is free.
  • See designer Chris Triola’s knitwear (featured at the Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Museum of Art) through Dec. 9th at At the Gallery (135 North Oak Park Ave., Oak Park; 708-445-9793).
  • Swiss FineTiming/Atelier Jewellers (1915 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park; 847-266-7900) hold a watch and jewelry exhibition on Dec. 6th through 9th (with a Champagne reception on Dec. 6th from 6 to 10 p.m.) with pieces from Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, and IWC.
  • Spex (2316 N. Clark St., 773-404-0777) hosts a trunk show of the Danish eyewear line Pro Design, which is a line of laser-cut stainless steel, titanium, and zylonite frames. On Dec. 8th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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