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Chicago’s Ever-Expanding Retail Scene

There have been hints of an Oak Street/Gold Coast revival over the past two years, and it’s finally in full swing.


In October, Emporio Armani (25 E. Oak St., pictured left) opened, featuring a sweeping staircase and two stories of black and silvery space to house the big brand’s diffusion line for men and women. 

Lanvin (116 E. Oak St.) swung its doors open, after nearly a year of anticipation.

The Zaharoff (110 E. Oak St. ) flagship comes with a large-scale mural—and tailored suits, ties and shirts for the classic gentleman—while Gallery Aesthete (46 E. Oak St., pictured right) brings men an avant-garde space filled with Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester.

One block south on Walton, here’s hoping the third time’s the charm for Sofia (100 E. Walton St.), the vintage, indie, local—and beloved—designer’s women’s shop that has once again resettled.

Brit-based Eskandar (70 E. Walton St., pictured left) ushered in luxe and clean-lined looks with its new store, as well as a varied selection of housewares and accessories.

Just north of Oak on North Rush, an impressive two-level Starbucks—there’s booze at the bar upstairs—has emerged next to Prada, which completes the makeover that includes Jellyfish, Ted Baker London and Scoop NYC.

PVC and patent tote, $1,495, CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN, 312-337-8200.

We’re looking forward to seeing what spring and summer look like from Marmot, which opened just in time to buffer Chicagoans against biting winds with its down-filled outerwear (932 Rush St.).

Christian Louboutin (58 E. Oak St.) finally arrived at the former home of the Esquire Theater, promising to transform the Windy City into the Red-Soled City. 

And other retail prospects abound: Saint Laurent is said to be coming to the Waldorf Astoria with new neighbor Brioni, and Tom Ford will take up space in the Esquire. The Gold Coast has become more gilded than ever.