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Chicago Notebook September 29, 2011

Chic Knits Chicago Notebook

Chic Knits Chicago NotebookLast Sunday was a great day to meander around the Miracle Mile in the misty rain. Even though it was drizzling, it was slighty balmy out and very, very pleasant.

It seemed like the most natural thing to do after a wonderful brunch (poached eggs with wild mushrooms & shredded radish).

Those of you who have visited Chicago have probably been where I was walking along – it’s right around the old Water Tower on Michigan & Chicago Aves.

The park there is my bus stop but I changed me mind and just kept walking, merging into the steady stream of walkers going south, just pulled along by their motion.

Just like them, I fancied a stroll on the boulevard because there’s lots to see for the funny company (things to see, and things to do, stories, songs, toys; all sorts of things of interest, and fun for girls and boys!)

All of us walkers probably had something in common: the visitors want out of their hotel room and the citizens just might be escaping the confines of an apartment. City people are like that. Even in the internet age, they want to get out and walk.

And even though it’s 2011, they might just see something old and new at the same time.

Just a few yards from that Water Tower corner is a veritable industry on parade: the recently opened AllSaints Spitalfields “shop” – a flagship to be sure.

From “…Ruggedly good-looking, stylish men and women greet customers at the entrance…And the entire store is so thoroughly decorated and atmospheric that you just don’t know where to look.cinematic spotlights filling the ceilings, and the entire store has a rough, worn-in, distressed feel…hardware and structures grace the floor and many of the whitewashed brick walls, which rise up forty-two feet before hitting the ceiling. The majority of the store’s fixtures are salvaged, and any that aren’t are handmade in the UK…”

But what made it so very interesting to me are its many windows facing the street.

Large (and we are talking maximus size!) windows

Chic Knits Chicago NotebookChic Knits Chicago Notebook

and storefront size windows

Chic Knits Chicago Notebook

all filled with something not commonly seen in Chicago, certainly not something seen on the Miracle Mile: Sewing Machines…

Chic Knits Chicago Notebook

No higgledy-piggledy hodgepodge of random sewing machines this, they are old, old sewing machines — all in magnificent condition, inviting you in to browse.

These early 20th Century marvels have something you rarely see on contemporary mass-manufactured goods: Pomp & Circumstance! Their outer casings are decorated with flourishes and golden whimsy.

Chic Knits Chicago Notebook

The base plates of the machines have wonderful motifs so that if set up in the main room of your cramped apartment, they are more ornamental than factory.

Chic Knits Chicago Notebook

Chic Knits Chicago Notebook

Chic Knits Chicago Notebook

Unbelievably mesmerizing – the collection goes on and on — over 800 machines are waiting for your inspection…

7 responses to “Chicago Notebook September 29, 2011”

  1. ThatCleverClementine says:

    Thanks for letting us know about this; I’ll be in Chicago next month, will try to see it. Fabulous display!

  2. ExecutiveKnitter says:

    Stunning display. I could kick myself – I gave away my mothers old table based sewing machine because I had a fancy new electronic embroidery one. I was young and stupid. Nothing could sew heavy material and jeans like that thing! and it was beautiful

  3. emy@thehandiworks says:

    Looks fab! in Singapore, the popular brand would be Singer from the yester-era. Too bad my mom thrown out hers way before I learn to sew!

  4. Barbara says:

    First time I saw this store was in Union Square in San Francisco, over a year ago. My excitement was dashed when I realized I could not purchase one of those machines.

  5. Susanna says:

    There must be this store or something similar in downtown Seattle. I saw this same display on our walk down to pikes market.

  6. Bonne Marie says:

    I think all their stores use this Industrial Art “element”.

    I am volunteering to be the shopper who gets to find these – they have stores in 11 states in the USA and many more in UK/Europe.

    Here’s a page with photos from the Chicago store launch – I think it’s great retail design:

  7. monica says:

    Just got back from checking out the store. I loved how they displayed their clothes on old machinery. And there was a different not-so-rugged guy standing out front. :)

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