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Marilyn Blaszka and Dominic Marcheschi

Marilyn Blaszka and Dominic Marcheschi | Ikram Goldman | Helen Yi |
Sarah Albrecht | Phyllis Collins | Missy Hebson and Kelly Golden

Marilyn Blaszka and Dominic Marcheschi
The Owners of Blake
212 West Chicago Avenue; 312-202-0047.

Since meeting as 13-year-olds in weekend classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Blaszka and Marcheschi have been inseparable in their cozy coupledom and ahead of their time in their aesthetic. They opened Blake in 1984, and the shop continues to reign as one of the city’s top destinations for avant-garde European fashion.


MB: “Plan fashion? I never planned; I always obsessed.”

DM: “Marilyn used to dress very thrift and got it for nothing, but once [in high school] she saved all her money to buy these black patent leather Margaret Jerrold pilgrim shoes with sterling buckles. Those thrift years were our fashion education. Originally, Blake was a vintage store. We named it after my college roommate.”


MB: “The 1970s influence with shiny fabric—I saw it everywhere at the shows. Jil Sander used filmy, iridescent layers, like insect wings. Marni used glazed poplin over cropped leggings. And volume provided a strong new aesthetic. Balenciaga had volume and futurism expressed in a tunic over leggings. He turned women into beautiful androids.”


DM: “New people with new ideas keep fashion evolving.

Albino is out of Milan, but not typical; his clothes are young, spirited, but very refined. There is an elegance—a dress on the runway was heavy pale-peach poplin, very full in the body with a tiny ruffle around the neck and a capped sleeve like a wing.”

ON DRIES VAN NOTEN (Blake is probably the foremost seller in the United States of the influential Belgian designer.)

MB: “We picked up Dries in his second season and have carried him through our careers and his. We love his sportswear chic.”

DM: “And this season’s white parka worn with a black paillette skirt with piping on the sides, an athletic gray T-shirt, and high-heeled sneakers.”


MB: “I love the Marni sandals with a Lucite platform sole with a dull, tarnished-silver cloth front. Sometimes you need sheen in a shoe, a belt, a jacket. It’s a great way to make a neutral come alive.”


MB: “Balenciaga, former and current. Nicolas Ghesquière has respect for the house, but goes beyond it and brings something new each season.”

DM: “Claire McCardell, if she were designing for today.”


DM: “I like a white shirt and a jacket and pants, but not to match. I wear different pinstripes on top and bottom.”

MB: “I wear black because I don’t want to distract anyone from the clothes [she is selling]. I now also have a Paula Thomas for TW bag. It’s strong and identifiable, but it’s not an overplayed designer bag. It’s large enough to carry a computer, but doesn’t look utilitarian. It comes in bone, which I love, and black.”

FASHION SHOULD BE MB: “An expression of yourself.”
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