Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Vote for this year's most innovative, inspiring, and promising designer or boutique.
Allyson Holleb Bess & Loie
Allyson Holleb has it in the bag. Specifically, in the bags she sells at her shop, Bess & Loie. She'll woo you with styles from Kale, Bocue, and Linea Pelle. Read More
Originally published on April 4, 2007
Bag, You’re It
Bess & Loie Opens
You manufacture excuses (at breakneck speed!) to justify your bag habit. The snakeskin clashes with your BlackBerry. Your neighbor bought the same one. (She also makes dresses for her plants, ew.) It reminds you of grandma.
That last excuse must have been what Allyson Holleb was thinking when she opened Bess & Loie, a West Loop boutique named for her stylish nanas. (We never said it had to be your grandma.)
The new shop combines the best of old (exposed brick, vintage chairs, antique fixtures) and new (Hayden-Harnett, Sea Bags, Linea Pelle, and lesser-known lines like Knox) with men’s accessories (for good measure).
Holleb understands you need to ponder before purchasing, so she’s created a space as cozy as granny’s, with a stocked kitchen where you can snack while you deliberate.
Sweets always help the decision-making process.
Speaking of rationalizations.
Bess & Loie, 1015 West Lake Street, between Carpenter and Morgan Streets (312-226-2247).
Jessa Brinkmeyer Pivot
If superwoman exists, she's 24-year-old blond environmentalist Jessa Brinkmeyer, who owns Pivot, an ecoboutique offering stylish clothes made from soy, hemp, and bamboo that don't sacrifice style. Read More
Originally published on September 4, 2007
Pivot Boutique Opens
Going against the grain is your MO: You heeled it during flat fest. And you’re not going within ten feet of patterned tights.
But some trends — like saving the environment— are always worth following.
Get a head start at Pivot, a new ecoboutique in the Fulton Market district. The space, filled with recycled furniture, fluorescent bulbs, and toxin-free paint, would make Leo DiCaprio’s voice crack.
As would the clothes, all made from organic cotton (grown with natural fertilizers), bamboo (extremely renewable, so soft), soy (from soybean hulls), or hemp (pesticide free). Especially fetching are Bahar Shahpar’s smocks and minis and Sans’s bamboo tees. Beau Soleil, Ciel, Perfectly Imperfect, and others have also jumped on the sustainable bandwagon.
Twenty-four-year-old shop owner Jessa Brinkmeyer was raised on a farm in Nebraska, which may account for the strong ties to Mother Earth. She’s donating 1 percent of her sales to Growing Home, a nonprofit that provides organic farming jobs to the underserved.
Which makes this young’n the cream of the crop.
Pivot, 1101 West Fulton Market, at Aberdeen Street (312-243-4754 or pivotboutique.com).
Kelly Maron Paper Stories
Be a straight shooter with Kelly Maron's Bittersweet greetings. The Paper Stories card collection includes zingers like "Thanks for nothing" and "Suck it," all sealed with a pretty letterpressed stamp. Read More
Originally published on February 19, 2007
Bittersweet Collection from Paper Stories
Hand-written cards are usually reserved for worthy recipients. While the a-holes of the world are relegated to a life without proper correspondence.
Until now, that is. Douchebags of the world rejoice! The Chicago-based Paper Stories has got your back. Their Bittersweet line of cards is perfect for everyone, from the simply irritating to the downright frustrating.
Did your neighbor forget to feed Kitty while you were gone? Send her a lovely “Suck it” note card. Did your ex waste four months of your life that you’ll never get back? Tell ’em “Thanks for nothing” (and seal it with a kiss).
The sentiments are letterpressed on super-soft, 100-percent-cotton paper and intricately decorated with wrought iron metal-inspired designs. So the recipient will be wooed by its beauty (“Ooh, what a pretty card!”) then stunned by its message (“Awwww, snap!”).
There’s also a five pack full of cheeky zingers for every occasion.
So the next time someone’s a wee bit snide, you’ll have the perfect card up your sleeve.
Available online at paperstories.com.