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Bobbi Brown on Chicago’s Best Blow-Out and Pedicure

Plus, sales at Neiman Marcus and Barneys and a new Warby Parker Store.

Photo: Jon Paterson

This Week’s Top Story

Bobbi Brown, beauty guru, walked away from her namesake brand in 2016. Since then, the woman who’s long espoused that natural beauty is the best kind there is (OK, maybe with a little added blush) has moved on to new ventures within the wellness space.

Last time Chicago caught up with the Wilmette native, she’d opened concept shops that included supplements and elixirs in the product mix. She’d also just written Beauty From the Inside Out, which is packed with recipes and tips on nutrients. If fans were playing close attention, they may have detected some foreshadowing there.

Chatting with Chicago from her room at the SoHo House during a trip to the city in October, Brown revealed that you can find her newest products in the aisles of GNC (gnc.com; Chicago location here).

It’s a far cry from the gleaming counters of department stores where her makeup was sold. But, Brown insists that the chain is totally on the pulse when it comes “the new modern [health and wellness] products that are out there.” And furthermore, it’s convenient. “I partnered up with a great retailer so you don’t have to wait: You can run in and can get it.”

So, what is it? Evolution_18 is a line of supplements that range from a 140-calorie chocolate formula meant to quell afternoon cravings the healthy way to an antioxidant-infused powder meant to flush out extra fluid.

Here’s something we shyly admitted to Brown: In general, we’re squeamish about supplements, their potential side effects, and, well, what’s in them. “By the way I know that [people are skeptical], and this comes with a big responsibility,” she said. “I didn’t want to put anything in any of my products that you don’t know what they are. So, when you read the ingredients, you’re like OK I get that: there’s five things, I know what these are, and what they do for me.” Brown is also a certified health coach now, having studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Outer beauty still counts in Brown’s world. When we ended our chat, Brown confided that she loves getting pedicures at Cowshed Spa (113 N. Green St., sohohousechicago.com): “It’s beautiful; they bring you tea.” And, she’d just had: “literally was the best blow-out I can remember getting. It’s called Base Salon (31 N. Morgan St., basesalonchicago.com), the stylist’s name is Krysta Rojas, and she’s just amazing. The thing is to get body in your hair where you don’t look like a beauty queen, but it’s just the right amount. I was very happy.”

In the end, “You’ve got to take care of yourself, because no one else is going to,” she says. But of course, Bobbi Brown is here to help with that.

Top Sales This Week

Neiman Marcus (737 N. Michigan Ave., neimanmarcus.com) is holding its First Call sale. The promotion takes 25 to 40 percent off goods from select categories, including apparel for women and kids. Nab a wee Kate Spade dress strewn with confetti hearts (reduced from $58 to $43) and a cocktail dress with swirling sequins and ostrich-feather trim (reduced from $558 to $279).

Barneys (15 E. Oak St., barneys.com) is hosting its Early Access sale, which takes up to 40 percent off goods from designers like Acne Studios, Alexander Wang, and Zimmermann. Find a cross-body bag in leopard print lambskin (reduced from $750 to $529) and skinny, faded-black moto jeans with zipper details (reduced from $1,480 to $889).

Openings

The Shops at North Bridge (520 N. Michigan Ave.) has a new Aesop (aesop.com) boutique. The Australian brand sells products — such as facial cleaners, shampoos, and parfums — that combine natural botanicals with lab-generated ingredients. Inspired by Chicago’s climate, the sleek shop has curved walls, a giant aluminum door, and accents of concrete and recycled paper fiber.

Warby Parker (warbyparker.com) has opened a Lake View boutique, which marks its fourth local outpost. At 3432 North Southport Avenue, the shop sells optical glasses and sunglasses. Look for pieces from the Fall 2018 collection, which features mixed metals and tortoises; frame accessories for holiday gifting are coming in soon. The store offers comprehensive eye exams by appointment.

Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store opens November 9 at Fashion Outlets of Chicago (5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont, fashionoutletsofchicago.com). At more than 11,200 square feet, the sprawling shop will stock apparel for men, women, and children; it’s set to take over the Level Two spaces formerly occupied by Vince and Elie Tahari, which have both moved.

Pop-Up

Need to get your foundation perfectly matched, once and for all? We did — and we did, when we stumbled upon The Armani Box just outside Nordstrom at The Shops at North Bridge (520 N. Michigan Ave.). The traveling beauty pop-up shop has landed in Chicago through November 13, and its staffers are true experts in the makeup brand’s entire range. Along with SPF 50 sunscreens and silky foundations, the pop-up sells a wide range of lipsticks. Plus, if selfies are your thing, there’s a giant red gorilla statue named Uri; he’s happy to pose with guests.

Event

Eloquii (520 N. Michigan Ave., eloquii.com), which offers clothing for women size 14 to 28, has partnered with designer Jason Wu on a holiday collection that includes tuxedo blazers and sparkling evening gowns. Stop by the Chicago store on November 7 for an event feting the launch. From 5 to 8 p.m., the event will offer sweets, sips, and a chance to shop the collection.

Retail News of the Week

  • Meet the “campy designer” with a devoted following in the local LGBTQ nightlife circuit. Read more.
  • Luxury sneaker brand Koio will open a Lincoln Park boutique. Read more.
  • Faux fur brand Maison Atia recently hosted its first Chicago pop-up. Read more.

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