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Plum Sykes Talks Chicago Shopping and ’80s Inspiration

Plus, Gilt City’s Sample Sale returns, steep discounts at Rebecca Minkoff, and a beauty-filled celebration.

Plum Sykes (left) and her book Party Girls Die in Pearls   Photos: (Sykes) Courtesy of Burberry; (book) Courtesy of Harper

This Week’s Top Story

A longtime contributor to Vogue and one of fashion’s favorite novelists, Plum Sykes has a keen eye for shopping—even if she only has a few hours between television appearances and book signings to do it. On a recent trip to Chicago to promote her murder mystery, Party Girls Die in Pearls, Sykes stopped at Michigan Avenue’s Ferragamo boutique before hopping over to Burberry for a book signing. And it was at the Italian brand’s posh outpost that Sykes fell in love. “I found this amazing pair of snakeskin shoes that looked like something from my granny’s closet in the 1960s,” she said. “But, they’d only made one pair in my size, and they sold it last week.”

Luckily, there was cheering champagne on hand at the Burberry book party. Well-heeled Chicagoans gathered around the friendly author—who wore the label’s Lace Cutwork Cotton Shirt Dress—hoping for a signed copy of the addicting new read.

The novel centers on two Oxford students, the English Ursula Flowerbutton and the American Nancy Feingold, who work to unravel the mysterious murder of a terribly posh classmate. (She dies, of course, wearing a party dress.) Set in the 1980s, the book is interwoven with vivid depictions of the era’s fashion. “I did loads of research—I approached the fashion as I would journalism,” Sykes said, naming Sixteen Candles and vintage Madonna photos as two sources of inspiration.

Though Sykes was happy to dole out autographs and fashion tips during her stay in Chicago, no spoilers were on offer. “So far, no one’s figured out who the murderer is,” she said.

Top Sales This Week

Rebecca Minkoff (106 E. Oak St., rebeccaminkoff.com) has taken up to 50 percent off bags, clothing, shoes, and accessories. Score a pink micro satchel (reduced from $225 to $135) or a red cross-body bag (reduced from $195 to $98).

Friendly reminder: Gilt City holds its Gilt Sample Sale at the MCA Warehouse (1747 W. Hubbard St.) this Friday and Saturday. The sale offers 80 percent discounts on items from big-name labels such as Paul Smith and Valentino. Reserve tickets here.

The Great Parker Garage Sale will take place at Francis W. Parker School (2333 N. Clark St., fwparker.org) on Saturday and Sunday. Running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, the sale packs the gyms and cafeteria with everything from electronics to linens and sporting goods. In the on-site “designer boutique,” look for discounted fashion from labels such as Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, and Prada. All proceeds benefit the school’s financial-aid program.

Nordstrom (55 E. Grand Ave., shop.nordstrom.com) will kick off its Half-Yearly Sale on May 24. Running through June 4, the sale takes 40 percent off designer styles for men, women, and children.

Health & Beauty

Bluemercury (356 N. Clark St., bluemercury.com), the luxury beauty retailer, will celebrate the opening of its River North location on Saturday. Open to the public, the grand-opening bash will offer free makeovers along with mini facials and spa treatments. There will also be sips, samples, and gift bags for the first 100 guests—so get there early! The event runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Retail News of the Week

  • Canada Goose will open a new Chicago shop this fall. Read more.
  • Aritzia Inc. will open a flagship store on Rush Street. Read more.
  • Trunk Club has new “styling suites” dedicated to designer apparel. Read more.

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