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Fashion Scholar Gillion Carrara’s Favorite Things

The jewelry designer and lecturer lists 20 items she loves

(page 1 of 4)

Gillion Carrara
Oak Park native Carrara in her Lake View home

Gillion Carrara, 66, is as dedicated to fashion as she is to her black uniform and iconic glasses. “If I’m not making or studying it, I’m not happy,” says the jewelry designer, lecturer on the history of contemporary dress, and director of the School of the Art Institute’s Fashion Resource Center, which she founded in 1987 out of a coat closet. (Her collection of 300 garments, including rare pieces by Alexander McQueen, now resides in the Sullivan Center.) She sells her architecturally inspired jewelry at the home furnishings boutique June Blaker (870 N. Orleans St.) and the design store ID (3337 N. Halsted St.), which will host a trunk show of her latest work on March 2 and 3. “I find wonder in everything,” says the eternal student, “and I’m quite emotional about it.” See below for her favorite items.



20 Things Gillion Carrara Loves

Beata Kania Brooches
BEATA KANIA BROOCHES ($250 to $450 for similar styles, at Pagoda Red, 1714 N. Damen Ave.)
“These modern ribbon-and-bead brooches are made with a method that dates back to the 18th century.”


Anglo American Optical round glasses
ROUND GLASSES ($249 for style worn by Carrara above, at Anglo American Optical, 9850 S. Kedzie Ave., Evergreen Park)
“These remind me of glasses worn by various architects, and since I’m married to one, that’s a compliment.”


Nick Cave art
“It’s a repurposed piece of a fine corduroy shirt adhered to a Masonite board. It’s geometric with a very subtle surface treatment.”


Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russe
“This book features amazing costumes by luminaries like Gabrielle Chanel and Pablo Picasso that were exhibited in London two years ago.”


Gillion Carrara rings
GILLION CARRARA RINGS ($400 to $600 each, at June Blaker, 870 N. Orleans St.)
“I’m attracted to exotic hardwoods like ebony and briarroot. They’re dynamic sculptures for the hands.”


Photography: (Rings) courtesy of vendors; (all others) Anna Knott


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