When Jim Wetzel and his partner Lance Lawson opened Space519 (900 N. Michigan Ave., 312-751-1519) four years ago, they imagined their own version of collette in Paris (lowercase typography included). Home goods, apothecary, fashion—nothing is off limits, but only the things they truly loved would make the cut.
This week, the upscale general store has expanded its reach beyond Chicago by launching an ecommerce site. I welcome any and all opportunities to shop comfortably from my couch, so I was excited to peruse the site and talk with Wetzel about his favorite products. Here, he shares his top five and the stories behind each one. Because every product at Space519, no matter how small, has a story behind it.
Joomi Lim Braid Bracelet, $180
Wetzel fell in love with designer Joomi Lim's glam-punk jewelry line while sipping margaritas at Big Star—he couldn't take his eyes off of the bracelet on the arm of one his good friends. By the time they'd finished their drinks, Wetzel had connected with the Lim in New York and made plans to purchase the line. This spiked number, a "friendship bracelet for adults," is Wetzel's favorite. Lim created it in black specifically for Space519.
Wetzel and his partner Lawson were in London on a typical grey, dreary day. Though there wasn't a ray of sunshine in sight, Wetzel kept seeing women with radiant skin. He had to ask. "Oh, we're all wearing James Read," one told him. Wetzel brought the British self-tanning line back to the states and fell in love with this Sleep Tan Mask, combining a subtle self-tanner with skin-beautifying aloe vera, cucumber, and red algae. Though it's called a mask, Wetzel says it applies more like a light serum. "You can use it for night, but I love it for day," he says.
"They make any woman—I don't care if you didn't shower for three days—look chic and glamorous, instantaneously," Wetzel says. That's some high praise for this pair of Parisian sunglasses, which Wetzel loves in smokey grey. He swears they work on every face shape, and the line's diverse celebrity clientele doesn't disagree: Everyone from Barbara Walters to Lady Gaga have all been seen rocking a pair of Theirry Lasry's.
While on a buying trip in Paris, Wetzel stopped two well-dressed men on the street (he tends to do that). The guys turned out to be Chris Liu and Tibor Matyas, designers of a new handbag line called Golden Lane. They make exactly what Wetzel had been searching for: beautiful leather bags without inflated designer prices. The quality of this satchel, Wetzel says, is impeccable. "You feel it, it feels like a Givenchy," he says.
RMS Buriti Bronzer, $28
Wetzel was first introduced to this organic beauty line by a pregnant client with a long doctor's list of products and ingredients to avoid. Raw, organic coconut oil is the base of all RMS products. "Use the smallest amount on the apples of your cheeks and it gives the most incredible glow," he intructs.
All products are available at space519.com. Shipping is free on orders over $50.