The Godfrey Hotel
By Paul Kulon
The creation of a building is rarely a smooth process. Public opposition, zoning regulation and especially the loss of financing can severely undermine a project. The newly opened Godfrey Hotel in River North is an example of a prolonged construction saga. Now that the building is complete, it faces a new set of challenges, mainly competing with other hotels. The Godfrey Hotel is just the first to debut in the local booming hotel market. Unfortunately for the Godfrey, its architecture is unlikely to be a convincing selling point.
Before it was the Godfrey Hotel, the building was designed to be an outpost of Staybridge Suites, a hotel chain targeting extended-stay and corporate guests. The project lost financing during the recession and construction stalled in 2008. The building was wrapped in a white protective fabric, earning it the name Mummy of River North. The building came back to life in 2012 when the investment firm Oxford Capital Group took over the venture. The original Staybridge Suites design was adopted because it was in an advanced stage. The building was rebranded as the flagship of a new boutique hotel brand targeting young social travelers who are in Chicago to experience the city’s culture. Read the rest of this entry »
Model Kevin Cuttino was shopping for furniture in Bolingbrook. He wore his hat as a headline.
What does having “swag” mean to you?
Swag to me is an urban way of being handsome, uniquely styled, suave and a fashion leader.
Why so much swag to come to Ikea?
You always have to represent yourself with style. And I’m not just because I model; it’s a rule that I love to follow. You never know who you may meet, who you may see or what opportunities you may run into. This occasion proves my rule. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephens: “ We’re learning from our artists about using this medium versus a nice big flat wall.”
By Britt Julious
That Chicago has no real fashion week or centralized designer community is a frequent lament. But the city’s lack may be its greatest asset. Here, the stakes are lower and the ability to experiment with something new—or at least interesting—is a function of the city’s outsider, “third-coast,” status. One such experiment is the footwear startup Bucketfeet. Founded in 2011 by Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein, Bucketfeet makes whimsical shoes emblazoned with designs by featured artists. Chicago’s unpretentious, start-up-friendly climate means that Bucketfeet fits in nicely with other companies such as GrubHub and CareerBuilder. As it does for those companies, for Bucketfeet success will depend on a balance of moving product and moving ideas—between tradition and innovation.
“We want to protect our e-commerce business and make sure it’s a good portion of our business,” says Buckfeet president Bobby Stephens, “but our mission is better served if we leverage more established, more reputable distribution channels.” Read the rest of this entry »
Conran’s “The House Book” makes life look like a swinging cocktail party
I miss the White Elephant. When Children’s Memorial Hospital moved to Streeterville, leaving a second abandoned hospital site in Lincoln Park to spur NIMBY debates about density, the loss of the ninety-three-year-old thrift store was the greatest casualty. Over the years, I scored tons of amazing things there including a fuchsia velvet sofa with elegant curves and a Walter von Nessen swing-arm table lamp for fifteen bucks.
Finally, there is a new Elephant in town. On a recent visit to the new Webster Avenue location, I scored a copy of Terence Conran’s 1974 interior design classic “The House Book” for $3.50. It is my new favorite thing. The book is an explosion of color and pattern. Rugs are layered, walls are painted in reds, yellows and greens, and rooms are full of acrylic furniture and Kartell storage cubes. My two-year-old and I both drooled over every page. I imagined a cocktail party accompanied by Steely Dan’s “Aja.” It is striking how comfortable and family-friendly it all looks in “The House Book”: people are hanging out at home, with martinis and children everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »
Dr. Martens shoes are a constant companion in slush and ice
Visual and Critical Studies student at the School of the Art Institute Nola Weber was on her way to do some grocery shopping.
You are from Portland. How does Chicago style differ from Portland’s?
Because Portland has a much more temperate climate, people tend to get a little more creative with their wardrobes since they aren’t relegated to wearing the same sub-zero outerwear day in and day out. In Chicago, I would say function definitely and understandably precedes fashion—you have to enter survival mode every time you leave the house, whether it’s zero degrees or ninety-five.
How would you describe “Portland style”?
There’s a huge emphasis on vintage and thrift throughout Portland, and style is a strong platform for communicating your personality and interests. There is a certain eclectic look that echoes through the city but it’s hard to pin a name to it. You have to visit the town to understand, but it’s there—”Portlandia” doesn’t lie. Read the rest of this entry »
Wright auction house’s West Town warehouse has long been a destination for admirers of midcentury modern design. Iconic objects and furniture from Eames, Nakashima, Perriand, and Prouvé fill the auction floor. But founder Richard Wright is perhaps best known for creating the market for artist and designer Harry Bertoia, whose monumental metal sculptures make peculiar ambient sounds.
Late last year, Wright opened the doors of a new exhibition space in New York—an ambitious counterpart to a brisk auction business in Chicago. The New York venue begins the year with a fan favorite.
“Harry Bertoia Sculpture: 15 Years at Wright” features select works chosen by Wright alongside pieces from private collections. The Bertoia exhibition starts the 2014 season off as a celebration of the artist’s work and an opportunity for Bertoia collectors to see an exhibition with new work not previously available to the public. Read the rest of this entry »
The weekends of my twenties and early thirties were busy. There were options then: bike rides, new restaurants, thrift stores and street festivals. But these days, with a two-year-old as my constant entourage, I have nothing but time.
Here’s one way to fill all that time: go to the MCA Family Day. Once a month, art-loving parents get to feel welcome in a museum again, thanks to thoughtful art and design programming. On Saturdays, the Museum of Contemporary Art embraces the chaos of childhood, with every floor activated by working artists. In January, Chicago artist James Jankowiak invited kids of all ages to use colored tape to create masterpieces on museum windows and floors. Read the rest of this entry »
Fashion designer Dylan Larson and his boyfriend Jorge Melendez were partying at Kokorokoko’s first Street Style Summit at Beauty Bar.
What does designing clothes mean to you?
Dylan: Designing clothes gives me the opportunity to create my vision of beauty. It’s much more than fabric and stitches. It’s my entire soul.
Where in the city do you find inspiration?
Dylan: I find inspiration in everything, from the architecture of Chicago to the beautiful parks in the summertime. I love going to the various museums for inspiration. Each time I go I pick a different exhibit and draw a different collection from it.
Are you guys dating?
Dylan: We have been dating for about seven months. We met at Berlin [nightclub], and we were both wearing platforms and a full face of makeup, so naturally everything just fell into place. Read the rest of this entry »
By F. Philip Barash
In the handsome days of my adolescence, shopping for clothes was an unambiguous business. Sartorial preferences—if you had any and could vocalize them in human language—aligned with a host of other social markers. You could extrapolate, based on a few cues, the class, occupation, political leanings, promiscuity, wealth and regional origin of someone you passed in a train station. The world in those days was a legible place, peopled by archetypes. At one end were scrawny children in Dinosaur Jr. t-shirts and chain wallets. On the other were ladies in ponchos and chunky silver jewelry. In between was a finite universe of jocks, hillbillies, Europeans, gays, preppies, posers, nerds, professionals in suits, professionals in khakis and people who just didn’t care about what they wore. The latter group, for reasons philosophical or lobotomical, consumed their fashion at Costco, along with palettes of salted butter. This story isn’t for them.
I found this narrative consistency, this one-to-one correspondence between who you are and what you wear, comforting. There were tricksters then, of course. The central con of the movie “Trading Places” is only possible because the society in which it is set trusts blindly in consistency. Read the rest of this entry »
Loren Davis and Raven Green were shopping along Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park.
Have you been friends for a while? Do you always dress “in sync”?
Loren: Yes, we have been friends for about six years. Heck no, we never dress in sync on purpose! That’s cheesy!
Raven: No, we don’t always dress in sync. Although I would say our style is somewhat similar.
What do you love most about your friend’s outfit?
Loren: I really like how Rave mixed the camo and leopard print; amazing combo!
Raven: I love how it can easily transition from simple to stylish. Read the rest of this entry »