So You Think You Can Design?

Custom design is completely addicting. (As proof, just play around with NikeiD’s sneaker maker or Jonathan Adler’s furniture customizer for a few minutes . . . or hours.) Chicago has its own DIY design enabler in 1154 Lill Studio (, the custom handbag concept founded 13 years ago by Jennifer Velarde in her Lincoln Park studio. On Thursday, September 27, that store unveils a jumbo touch screen monitor—an easy-as-pie way for shoppers to click through 40 styles of purses, totes, clutches, tablet cases, and wallets ($18–$225) in more than 140 fabric options. Each custom creation is made in Chicago and takes three to four weeks for delivery. Or for instant gratification, buy one of the studio’s ready-made designs ($54–$174).


Top Sale This Week

Get a look at locally made furniture and decor—as well as vintage items and antiques—at Design Harvest (, a street festival and sale that rounds up many of the area’s designers and vendors. The free fest takes over West Town (Grand Avenue between Damen Avenue and Wood Street) Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aside from design, also expect to find pumpkin ale, cider, hayrides, square dancing, and other good old-fashioned fall fun.


The Best of the Rest

  • The celebrity hairstylist Rodney Cutler, who tames the tresses of starlets including Emma Watson and Jamie King, visits Ulta Beauty (114 S. State St., 312-279-5081, on Thursday, September 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drop by to consult with Cutler—or book an appointment for a cut ($40) or color ($60) with Ulta stylists and take home a complimentary Redken swag bag.
  • Annie Diamantidis, the Chicago native behind Annie Handbags (, debuts her fall collection of leather clutches and purses this Thursday, September 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Muse (106 N. Marion St., 708-948-7052,
  • The Joffrey Ballet kicks off its new season this Friday, September 28 with Couture & Cocktails, a fundraiser and fashion show featuring designs by the Midwest’s own Pamella Roland. The event, held at McGrath Acura (1301 N. Elston Ave.), also includes dancing, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres, as well as live and silent auctions. Tickets (from $150) are available here.
  • Support women-owned boutiques and businesses—including the Chicago-based fashion line Modahnik—at the 630 Fashion Show (, a runway show and charity event on Friday, September 28 at Hotel Arista (2139 CityGate Ln., Naperville, 630-579-4100, Tickets ($75) benefit 360 Youth Services and can be purchased here.
  • The local jewelry designer Foxglove ( uses postage stamps from around the world to create necklaces, rings, earrings, and cufflinks. Check them out during a trunk show at Hazel (1902 W. Montrose Ave., 773-769-2227, on Saturday, September 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • On Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30, stroll Ravenswood Avenue between Irving Park Road and Lawrence Avenue during the Ravenswood Art Walk ( More than 200 artists and craftspeople showcase their work at this free fair, which also features live music, brewery tours, and artist lectures.
  • This weekend is the year’s last chance to scoop up vintage clothing, midcentury furniture, jewelry, and other one-of-a-kind items at Randolph Street Market (1340 W. Washington St., on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30. Tickets are $8 in advance, through the bazaar’s website, or $10 at the door.



Eskandar (70 E. Walton St.,, a British label for women’s knitwear and home décor, opens its first Chicago boutique on Thursday, September 27. Cashmere addicts take note: The shop’s opening selection includes a number of separates in the material, including cowl-neck capes ($2,795) and handwoven scarves ($1,050).