Half and Half

When the economic crisis hit, boutique owners immediately began buying fewer garments and accessories, leaving many designers with overstock for each collection. Instead of accepting her loss in profit, one of those designers, Annie Novotny, creator of Frei Designs (freidesigns.com), decided to transform the front half of her Pilsen studio space into a retail shop. Opening last month, Workshop (818 W. 18th St., 312-226-9000, workshopchicago.com) features Novotny’s locally produced, eco-friendly line of coats, dresses, tops, and bottoms from all previous and current collections, such as a black organic wool wrap jacket ($525) and a silk chiffon and metallic tunic ($230) from fall and holiday 2009. The boutique also carries accessories by an assortment of local artists, including a black silk chiffon scarf with interwoven marbled blue wool felt ($158) from Gina Pannorfi and empty hive honeycomb cutout necklaces (from $66) by Peggy Skemp of Trapeze Artist. “I’m always looking for people who are doing different things and who have the same philosophy for sustainability,” says Novotny, who teaches art and design classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and through the city of Chicago’s After School Matters program. Playing on her shop’s name, Novotny plans to hold a few sewing and knitting workshops at Workshop in the fall.

Top Sales This Week

Fashion Week Highland Park 2009 (downtownhp.com) features a catwalk, trunk shows, discounts, and more, Wednesday, September 9th through Wednesday, September 16th in downtown Highland Park. Event highlights include a fashion crawl with lunch and gift bags on Wednesday, September 9th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and an Art of Fashion cocktail party with drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and creations from the local designer Samantha Sleeper on Thursday, September 10th from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets for the fashion crawl ($20) and cocktail party ($30), and a full schedule of events are available at downtownhp.com.

In conjunction with Helping Hands Forever (helpinghandsforever.com), Flirty Girl Fitness (1325 W. Randolph St.; 312-666-2266, chicago.flirtygirlfitness.com) features activities for women and men on Sunday, September 13th. Starting at 2 p.m., women participate in a one-hour class of their choice (pole dancing, chair dancing, or video vixen) followed by a mini manicure, mini pedicure, chair massage, or eyebrow shaping. Men who join the event on the outdoor patio at 6 p.m. can enjoy the Bears game, a barbeque, and cash bar. Tickets are available for $30 on helpinghandsforever.com or $40 at the door. Female attendees must call 312-399-8848 to book their class and spa service. Proceeds go toward Bright Pink (bebrightpink.org).

The Best of the Rest

  • The designer discount outpost Fox’s (2150 N. Halsted St.; 773-281-0700) takes 40 to 70 percent off regular retail prices on special designer collections at its annual fall party on Saturday, September 26th.
  • Pivot (1101 W. Fulton Mkt.; 312-243-4754, pivotboutique.com) hosts a vegan style night, featuring Vaute Couture’s debut line, Matt & Nat handbags and Mohop shoes trunk shows, and snacks and smoothies, Monday, September 14th from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • In celebration of its recent interior redesign, Krista K (3458 N. Southport Ave.; 773-248-1967, kristak.com) hosts a party with Clu clothing and Lana Jewelry trunk shows, and a wine tasting on Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th. Guests receive 20 percent off their purchase of two or more pieces from Clu or Lana Jewelry.
  • The Children’s Service Board of Children’s Memorial Hospital hosts the 54th Annual Gold Coast Fashion Award Show on Wednesday, September 9th at 11 a.m., at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave.). The cocktail luncheon features eight new designers—including Angel Chang, Cesar Galindo, and Ina Soltani—competing for the 2009 title. Tickets, $150, are available at childrensmemorial.org/fashionshow. Proceeds go to the Division of Pediatric Surgery at Children’s Memorial Hospital.
  • The 12th annual Lincoln Park Art Faire features jewelry, pottery, stained glass, and other crafts from more than 100 artists Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Lincoln Park Cultural Center (2045 N. Lincoln Park West; 312-742-7726).
  • Donate school supplies at Halo [For Men] (21 W. Elm St., 312-642-4256; 1655 N. Damen Ave., 773-342-4256; 654 W. Diversey Pkwy., 773-248-4256; 70 W. Madison St., 312-606-4256; 500 W. Madison St., 312-575-0102; halochicago.com) and receive The Man service for $20 (regularly $45) through Sunday, September 20th.
  • Ten Thousand Villages (719 Main St., Evanston; 847-733-8258, rugs.tenthousandvillages.com) showcases more than 300 rugs from Pakistan at its annual Oriental rug event Friday, September 11th through Saturday, September 19th.
  • Northbrook Court (1515 Lake Cook Rd., Northbrook; 847-498-8161, northbrookcourt.com) holds its Fall Into Fashion event Thursday, September 10th from 6 to 9 p.m. Guests enjoy live-mannequin modeling, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and discounts from participating retailers.
  • The West Loop Block Party (312-943-0333) runs along Aberdeen Street, between Washington and Madison streets, September 12th from 1 to 5 p.m. The event includes discounts from local retailers, live music, complimentary food, drinks, and a jumping jack for kids.
  • Bring in a gently used handbag to Bess & Loie (1015 W. Lake St.; 312-226-2247, bessandloie.com) and receive 20 percent off any new bag purchase during the shop’s second annual “give a bag, get a bag” event on Thursday, September 10th from 5 to 9 p.m. Donations will be sent to the women of the Cara Program (thecaraprogram.org).
  • Greenheart (1911 W. Division St.; 312-264-1625, greenheartshop.org) holds an organic plant sale Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Along Division Street, between Damen Avenue and Paulina Street, the Renegade Craft Fair (renegadecraft.com) features jewelry, sewn items, paper goods, and more Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sweet Peas Design (507 E. Park Ave., Libertyville; 847-816-1296, sweetpeas-inspired.com) holds its first Sweet Swap and Fire Sale Saturday, September 12th from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Bring in one gently used accessory to Sweet Peas Design between Tuesday, September 8th and Friday, September 11th to receive a ticket good for one replacement item at the outdoor swap. Meanwhile, the indoor fire sale features 50 percent off additional lamps, accessories, tables, and more.
  • As part of Fashion’s Night Out, a global initiative to promote retail, Neiman Marcus (737 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-642-5900, neimanmarcus.com) features designer meet-and-greets, trunk and fashion shows, complimentary treats, and more, Thursday, September 10th from 6 to 9 p.m. Purchase the Fashion’s Night Out T-shirt ($30) and 40 percent of proceeds will go to the National September 11th Memorial & Museum (national911memorial.org).
  • The Galter LifeCenter (5157 N. Francisco Ave.; 773-878-9936, galterlifecenter.org) holds its fourth annual yoga retreat with special workshops and free lectures Friday, September 11th through Sunday, September 13th. Attendees must pre-register for workshop classes, which include restorative and prenatal yoga. Workshops are $20 for Galter LifeCenter members and $30 for nonmembers. Discounts are available for guests who register for three or more classes.
  • Featuring more than 300 flower arrangements and wreaths for sale, Chicago Botanic Garden (1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe; 847-835-5440, chicagobotanic.org) holds its 29th annual roadside flower event Friday, September 11th through Sunday, September 13th from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Spex (18 W. First St., Hinsdale; 630-323-1100, spexchicago.com) holds the opening reception for its next ART+VISION event Friday, September 11th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event features paintings by Don Larson, which will be on view through October 16th, as well as a Ray Ban trunk show.