A West Town resident, our editor has long been a fan of Dovetail. Owner Julie Ghatan works hard to keep the shop lively and relevant, stocking it with a healthy mix of vintage and new, always with a stylish point of view. Below, Ghatan spills the beans about what’s next for her store — and more.
Name: Julie Ghatan
Occupation: Boutique owner, writer, collaborator, bringer-together-of-people, maker-of-great-things-that-happen … the list goes on.
Neighborhood: West Town
What did you eat for breakfast? Doughnut Vault!
Why is West Town the best town?
There’s something exciting about living and working in a neighborhood that’s in a cultural transition. I feel a great sense of camaraderie with other business owners and the people who live here; everyone is enthusiastic and dedicated to keeping the neighborhood genuine while pushing for progress. I love that I can stop by Swim Cafe, and the baristas know my name. I love that I can stop by Branch 27 and eat Chicago’s best French fries. I love that I can go to Beauty Bar on a Monday night for Salonathan and laugh so hard I cry! There is so much going on here — I can’t gush about it enough.
What’s changing this year at Dovetail?
So much! Up until 2012, the store was mostly vintage with a few handmade items scattered throughout. I had an epiphany last summer and realized I am most excited and inspired while collaborating with local makers and entrepreneurs. So I’ve been forging partnerships and offering more items that are handmade in Chicago. The men’s section is all locally made by Domestic Workwear, Vagrant Nobility, Stock Mfg. Co., and Dorus Mhor. I’m currently working with three Chicago designers to make a few lines of locally made women’s clothing — look for it in May! Additionally, I’m building out an apothecary stocked with the best body care products and home scents I can find and have plans to launch my own line of natural skin care products later this year.
What’s the best vintage discovery you’ve happened upon in your years as a shop owner?
The most unique thing I’ve stumbled upon was a set of 1960s copper belts — sometimes called “waist bracelets” because they look more like jewelry. They’re like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Every time I see one now, I buy it and it sells almost instantly. They’re that gorgeous.
You work at the store almost every day. What’s on your playlist?
I’m currently geeking out on Yo La Tengo — I can’t get enough.
You have the day off in Chicago and all of the money in the world. What do you do?
I wake up early and go to yoga (because this hypothetical version of myself exercises, unlike actual me), then walk up to Wicker Park, lie on a blanket, and read in the sun for a few hours while eating berries and triple-cream brie. And then head to King Spa or the salt caves and just decompress. And then invite all my friends to Alinea for dinner and pick up the tab because, after all, I have all the money in the world. I’d end the night at Rainbo because even if I were rich, some things will never change! But I’d pay for everyone’s drinks and photo booth pics.
We know you moonlight as a writer (or used to). What books are you into these days?
I have a subscription to the New Yorker that I’m practically drowning under — no time for books with that coming in every week!
Tell us about Dovetail’s amazing window installations.
They’re usually a collaboration between a local artist and myself. I give first dibs to the visual artists showcased at Dovetail and most of them want to create a window installation. I prefer letting other people contribute their creative visions; it keeps each window looking fresh.
What are you wearing right this very minute? (Not meant the way it sounds.)
I’m wearing a satin, champagne pink 1970s blouse with this amazingly delicate embroidery detail.
You’re a damn cute dresser. Who are your fashion inspirations?
I draw inspirations from a few places:
1) I’m inspired by street style. I love seeing how people put items together in their own unique ways.
2) Fancy old ladies (like Iris Apfel or the blog Advanced Style). I love they way they just pile it all on. All their favorite stuff. All at once. The bigger and bolder, the better!
3) Last but not least, I’m inspired by unique pieces. Whether it’s a vintage statement necklace, my pair of royal blue Chie Mihara’s, or my mom’s 1970s high-waisted, wide-legged, brown velvet, gold-stitched pants — I start with one interesting piece and build around it, letting it dictate the rest of my outfit.
Meet the lady herself at Dovetail, 1452 West Chicago Avenue, between Greenview Avenue and Noble Street (312-243-3100 or dovetailchicago.com), $30-$50. Read on for chatter with bloggers, chefs, and more.
Photos: Courtesy of Dovetail