900 N. Michigan, (312)266-1545, altshoes.com [ratings]
Goods: Men’s and women’s shoes and accessories. Designers: Debut, Jo Ghost, Bruma’s, Brunate, Fru.it, Cinti. Owner: Sandro Ciurcina left Florence to be with his wife, a native Chicagoan. Using knowledge he gained from his father’s shoe factory in Tuscany, Ciurcina has kept Chicago customers happy for the last twenty years. Vibe: This longtime inhabitant of Rush Street moved into the 900 Shops complex last year, and uses a bright red carpet to stand out from the other stores. Price Range: Moderate. The Look: Everything from super-pointy stilettos to peep-toe heels are represented, but only the fashion forward will have what it takes to pull off these looks, which have a decidedly quirky flair. Shopper’s Perks: Because of Ciurcina’s close relationship with the designers and manufacturers of his shoes, conversations with customers often show up in the next season’s line.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009