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Talking Movies and Barbie Dolls with Legendary Costume Designer Bob Mackie

Plus, this week’s top style news, sales, and shopping events

Bob Mackie (left) is interviewed by Hal Rubenstein.   Photo: Robert Carl

This Week’s Top Story

Legendary costume designer Bob Mackie accepted the “Designer of Excellence” award from the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum on Tuesday. The night before the event, the designer sipped cocktails at the Langham Hotel and had dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, which he deemed very Parisian.

It’s been a while since Mackie was last in town, but he has fond memories of the city. He recalled attending the opening night of the Lyric Opera of Chicago with Nena Ivon, a current Costume Council member and the former fashion director for Saks Fifth Avenue. “She wore a big gown, and we got all dressed up,” he said at the museum on Tuesday evening, before taking the stage for a Q&A with journalist Hal Rubenstein. “We were laughing that it was like going to the prom—and we were already way past prom years.”

Mackie, of course, has a knack for remembering who wore what, when—especially when it comes to cinema. “When I was five years old, I went to see ‘Meet Me in Saint Louis’ on my birthday, and it all clicked,” he says. “We took a streetcar home, and on the way I was asking all kinds of questions: Why were the ladies wearing those long dresses?”

These days, Mackie is able to relive the wonder of discovering fashion with his two great-grandchildren, ages 4 and 7. They own some of Mackie’s Barbie dolls, “but they don’t have them all, because my Barbies were fancy-fancy,” he said. “They have 4 million ratty old Barbie dolls in a box, and those are the ones they pull out to have little fashion shows. It’s so funny.”

Apart from Barbie, Mackie has designed for such famously bold clients as Cher, Pink, and Diana Ross. But, he insists, there’s another side to his work. “Tonight, they’ll be showing all these slides of kind of funny, theatrical pictures. And I’m thinking, ‘You know I’ve done other stuff, right?’” he said, laughing. So, the world of Bob Mackie is not all sparkles and headdresses for Cher? “Funny enough, it’s not,” he said. ”She’s the only one who does that!”

Top Sales This Week

Local designer Katrin Schnabl (katrinschnabl.com) will host a massive atelier sale April 25–29 at Pina Studio (524 W. Eugenie.) The sale will feature styles from Schnabl’s Spring 2016 and New Classics collections; discounts start at 50 percent off.

Chalk (2611 Prairie Ave., chalkboutique.com), the luxury women’s retailer in Evanston, is hosting a promotion through April 23. Buy one item to get 20 percent off; two items to get 25 percent off both; and three items to get 30 percent off all three pieces. The sale applies to full-price merchandise only.

Haberdash (607 N. State St., haberdashmen.com), the high-end menswear store, is hosting a going-out-of-business sale through April 24. Goods are an additional 40 percent off.

Markets

Randolph Street Market (1340 W. Washington St., randolphstreetmarket.com) returns to the West Loop this weekend for an art-themed run on April 23 and 24. Dubbed “Artsy Fartsy,” the market will feature art exhibitions as well as fashion and accessories.

Opening

Bonobos Guideshop (bonobos.com) opens today at the Shops at 900 North Michigan (900 N. Michigan Ave.) The second-floor shop—which serves as a showroom for the e-commerce company—offers one-on-one fittings for men. The staffers, or “guides,” then select styles for shoppers and ship the items directly to their homes.

Closing

Apartment No. 9 (1804 N. Damen Ave., apartmentnumber9.com), the Bucktown menswear store, will shutter after 15 years in business. The store will release more details in the coming days.

Pop-Ups

Kit & Ace, the luxury apparel brand, will present a pop-up shop at Soho House (113–125 N. Green St., sohohouse.com) April 22 to 23. Dubbed “The Carry-on,” the shop will feature clothing that’s suited for travel. See more pop-up information here.

Luxury Garage Sale (luxurygaragesale.com) hosts a pop-up shop at DreamDry (904 W. Armitage Ave.) on April 28. From 2 to 7 p.m., the salon will showcase select designer pieces from the high-end consignment store, and shoppers will get complimentary braid styling.

Trunk Show

Ravenswood boutique Hazel (1902 W. Montrose Ave, hazelchicago.com) will host a trunk show featuring vintage goods from Alex Van Slyke on April 23. Van Slyke travels the country to collect jewelry, clothing, bags, bowties, and more.

Retail News of the Week

  • Untuckit, which sells men’s button-down shirts, will open next month at the 900 North Michigan Shops. Read more.
  • Bloomberg View explores the increasing connection between fashion and technology. Read more.
  • This prom season, local students are seeking styles inspired by red-carpet couture. Read more.

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