“Project Runway” alum Jeffrey Sebelia is being interviewed a few feet away from his own collection. Flashbulbs pop all around as he talks; media and fans are eager to get a shot of the controversial third-season winner. It’s the opening party of Bonnie & Clyde’s, a Wicker Park boutique and the exclusive Chicago home of Sebelia’s Cosa Nostra clothing line. There is a full bar and a DJ, and the packed room spills out onto Division Street, instantly making the new store a neighborhood presence.
Bonnie & Clyde’s is the creation of Stephen Naparstek and Sarah Gordon, artists who met at Columbia College a decade ago. Modeled after stores in Miami and Paris, their aim is a boutique that does more than just sell things. “We wanted a place that is about culture, about sharing new things with people,” Naparstek says. One focus: lowbrow art (or “pop surrealism”). Aware of a lack of venues dedicated to this kind of art, Naparstek created a new outlet to showcase established and upcoming lowbrow artists. Their Goth-tinged paintings will be displayed along the walls along with an array of art literature.
But the art focus doesn’t mean that the clothing takes a backseat. Bonnie & Clyde’s stocks a small handful of cutting-edge designers like Angela Johnson, 10 Feet, Horyoshi III and KBD. But for “Project Runway” junkies, the main draw will be Sebelia’s line. Fans will spot his work immediately. An ultra-flattering dress, with a fitted bodice and a full skirt, is peppered with zipper detailing. The empire waist of a blue halter dress is accentuated with black-and-white-striped fabric. Sebelia’s pieces expertly blend textures and materials, like a fitted grey wool jacket with silk accents, or a long, beige leather and cotton coat.
Sebelia’s work is edgy and eye-catching without being flashy, just like the designer himself. Post-interview, he heads outside and joins the crowd. Dressed in head-to-toe black with black eye makeup, he shakes hands and jokes around, blending in with the Wicker Park denizens and yet, to a certain group of fashion followers, standing out completely. (Molly Each)
Bonnie & Clyde’s, 1751 West Division, (773)-235-2680