An Ethan Allen chair
Insider Edition

The fashion and home design worlds often swing in the same circles, and there’s a stylish meeting-of-the-minds event coming up this month at the Alexis Bittar jewelry and accessories store in Bucktown that I’m pretty excited about. On Friday, March 25, New York author, trend chronicler, and Chicago native Rima Suqi is coming to town to promote her fourth book, America Fashion Designers at Home, and celebrate the opening of Lucite-loving Bittar’s new shop at 1710 North Damen Avenue. Rima steps inside the closed doors of dozens of the fashion world’s most celebrated designers to see where they hang their haute couture hats, and how much of their runway style they take home with them in terms of interior design, and the results have been compiled by the Assouline publishing house in a handsome skim-latte-table book that will be available at the party. Bittar will be with her, and so can you if you RSVP to That’s Reem Acra’s residence, pictured here from the book.

Dena Lyons and S. Fernando Mastroianni

Decade on Damen

Stop by Virtu tonight from 5–8 to have some champs and nibblies and wish owner Julie Horowitz Jackson a happy anniversary. She’s been selling home accessories, stationery, and jewelry—much of it handmade by American craftsmen—for ten years now at her welcoming Bucktown location. Virtu’s top ten vendors have donated raffle prizes, which will be picked from the pool of $10 entries at the end of each of the next ten months. (Sense a theme here?) Julie is an avid trumpeter of the 3/50 Project, which encourages the support of independent retailers, and for that I salute her efforts tenfold. Congratulations, Julie!

A display of black butterflies by Paul Villinski

Barbie the Builder

If there’s a little gal in your life with artistic inclinations that is more into HGTV than The Wizards of Waverly, I have a great idea for a holiday gift this year. Architect Barbie! News just broke that Mattel has consulted with the American Institute of Architects to create this engineering woman for its “Barbie I Can Be…” line of dolls, and she’ll be available sometime this fall (but you can pre-order now at Target). Imagine the fun your developing draftsman will have with her, tippy-toeing around construction sites, poking at blueprints with her stiff little arms, shopping for interesting eyewear, or just sitting around with co-workers over Diet Cokes, kvetching about what went wrong with Calatrava’s Spire project. Who knows, she might just turn out to be the next Jeanne Gang or Claudia Skylar.

The interior of Sacred Art


The Chicago-founded Paper Source has been around since 1983, offering an incredible selection of fine and fancy stock and ribbons for invitations, wrapping papers, quirky gifts and greeting cards, rubber stamps and craft kits, and in-store workshops. The eco-minded paperie has just unfolded three more stores (owner Sue Lindstrom hooked up with a private equity investment firm in 2007 for a major infusion of growth capital and has since expanded to more than 30 national locations), including one in Naperville, and will be celebrating with an all-day grand opening event this Saturday, March 5, from 10:30 till 4:30. The shop, located at 215 South Main Street, will be raffling prizes and holding demos on envelope making, bookbinding, party-favoring, and the like. What’s with that wasp wedged into their logo, you ask? Those buzzers chew up bark and leaves to make a fiber pulp for their nests, making them one of the earliest of all paper sources.

Antique glass bottles

Frames of Mind

The monthly frame outlet sale at Artists Frame Service is this Sunday, March 6, 10–5 at the 1867 North Clybourn location, so if there’s something rolled up in a closet that you’ve been meaning to properly display, act now for deals on precut frames in tons of different styles. March is also the last month to take advantage of the company’s sports jersey special, where it will mount that Green Bay Packers shirt you’ll probably never wear again anyway (or any of your favorite teams’ uniforms) in a sturdy presentation case for $349. The size of the custom black wood box with plexi front can go up to 32” x 40”, there is a smart-looking brushed stainless steel mounting rod, and you pick the backup color. To save some cheddar you can buy the assembled case and DIY for $299.