At a Bloggers’ Breakfast at the Merchandise Mart yesterday morning, I got a sneak peek—amid ongoing setup, with burly men hauling high-priced furnishings everywhere you looked—of this year’s International Antiques Fair (through Monday), which opened with a party benefitting Friends of Prentice last night. We began in the Baker-outfitted Collector’s Lounge, where VIPs with access will rest and refresh throughout the weekend, then strolled the vast eighth floor while dealers hurried to arrange their wares to the sounds of jubilant classical music being piped through the speakers.
My favorite section of this year’s fair? The new Emporium pavilion, advertising itself as “an eclectic mix of urban antiques” and occupying about a third of the floor. Here, entry-level antiques shoppers have a chance to get their feet wet and buy items that aren’t priced in the stratosphere. Chicago dealers Uber Modern and Broadway Antique Market share the space with out-of-towners like St. Louis-based R. Eng Antiques, whose complete booth caught my eye with this Italian chrome coffee table ($350) and perfectly distressed leather ottoman ($275).