Give Yourself Some Skin

Annie Handbags (6263 N. McCormick Blvd., Ste. 160; 312-498-3933) launched last year, bringing women a fresh batch of luxurious yet practical purses, totes, and messenger bags. “I make only classic, basic designs that people can buy and pass down through generations,” says the Chicago native Annie Diamantidis, the brand’s namesake and designer. “I wanted to create something that would last forever.” Using animal skins from Italy, South Africa, Columbia, and Indonesia, the Exotic collection includes hand-dyed and pleated ostrich-skin clutches, crocodile-skin totes, and python-skin satchels. Meanwhile, the Leather line consists of the same handbag styles in calfskin. This season, the designer adds animal-skin accessories, including compact mirrors, bangles, and headbands ($130 to $200). (Prices for both collections and the accessories are available by request at, where visitors can buy online.) Ready-made handbags are sold at Elements (741 N. Wells St.; 312-642-6574,, which carries the high-end Exotic handbags ($500 and up), and SheBang (1616 N. Damen Ave.; 773-486-3800,, which sells the leather line ($300 and up).


Top Sales This Week

The Metropolitan Chicago Region of ORT America (847-291-0475, holds its annual PasspORT to Savings event, Friday, March 12th through Saturday, March 20th. Purchase a PasspORT card, $75, to receive up to 20 percent off full-price merchandise at more than 155 retailers in Chicago and the suburbs, including Frankie’s On The Park (2322 N. Clark St.; 773-248-0400,, The Bootery (492 Central Ave., Highland Park; 847-433-1911,, and Frannie (808 Elm St., Winnetka; 847-446-5508, Proceeds go to ORT America, a Jewish vocational training program. Cards are available at the Metropolitan Chicago Region Office (3701 Commercial Ave., Ste. 13, Northbrook) and some participating boutiques; for more information, visit

Kooky, a pop-up boutique selling designer children’s apparel and accessories, opens a temporary location at the Shops of North Bridge (520 N. Michigan Ave., third floor; 312-327-2300) this month. Find spring goods from Juja Bear (, Telly Chicago (, Tyler Poncho (, and more through Wednesday, March 31st.


The Best of the Rest

  • A few months behind schedule, Marc Jacobs Collection (11 E. Walton St.; 312-649-7260,, which includes the more high-end merchandise, finally opens in the Elysian Hotel.
  • Preggers (900 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-943-6262, celebrates three years with its Buy More, Save More event. Enjoy discounts throughout March along with a raffle at the end of the month.
  • The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago hosts the fifth annual Fashion and Media Extravaganza (312-334-7777, with fashion shows, student displays, and silent auctions on Wednesday, March 10th at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E. Randolph Dr.). Tickets, $35, are available at
  • United Feather and Down (414 E. Golf Rd., Des Plaines; 847-296-6500, holds its annual indoor tent sale with up to 70 percent off selected bedding and buy one, get one half off incentives through Monday, March 22nd.
  • For its four-year anniversary, Continuum Studio (5671 N. Clark St.; 773-728-7883, holds its Client Appreciation party on Thursday, March 11th from 7 to 10 p.m. The event includes mini services, a raffle, giveaways, wine, cheese, and a buy three services, get one free special. RSVP with name and contact number to Also, throughout the month, get complimentary 30-minute add-on treatments, including a CS Express facial or body polish.
  • Sarca (710 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-255-0900) hosts a Sass & Bide fall 2010 trunk show on Saturday, March 13th from 12 to 6 p.m. Guests enjoy exclusive discounts and a gift with purchase.
  • Get 10 percent off and free shipping from Style & Spa (773-540-6986, through Thursday, April 15th.
  • White Chicago (222 W. Huron St.; 312-397-1571, holds its fourth annual dress drive this month. Donate gently used wedding gowns, slips, and veils that are less than seven years old through Wednesday, March 31st. Donors are asked to provide copies of tags or receipts, if possible, to help the store price the items for resale. To benefit Brides Against Breast Cancer (, donations will be re-sold at the Brides Against Breast Cancer annual gown sale in April; go to for details about the sale.
  • As part of “March Madness for the Fashionista,” Tocco (1266 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-687-8895, hosts a reception with 10 percent off spring collections from Koros (1039 W. Lake St.; 312-738-0155, on Thursday, March 11th from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Tabula Tua (1015 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-525-3500, holds its annual wedding registry event Sunday, March 14th from 1 to 4 p.m. The event, $35 per person, includes wedding experts, tips, giveaways, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, cake, and more. Reservations are required; tickets at
  • This month, be.ology (847-272-3571, runs a contest for fans who share what the T-shirt line means to them; the prize is a $150 be.ology gift certificate. To enter, visit
  • Columbia Sportswear (830 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-951-2679, opens on Michigan Avenue on Friday, March 12th at 9 a.m.
  • Throughout March, Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago (120 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-649-2340, takes $30 off sports massages and Swedish massages Mondays through Thursdays. Guests who book an appointment also receive a same-day pass to the hotel’s pool and fitness club.
  • This month, blo dri salon (408 N. Clark St.; 312-595-3000, offers a special for bridal parties. Book a style session for a bridal party of four or more through Wednesday, March 31st and receive $50 off the bill.


Closings and Relocations

Lili of Trieste on the Gold Coast (50 E. Oak St.; 312-915-0122) has closed. The south suburban location (8711 W. 95th St., Hickory Hills; 708-598-3632) remains open.