Interview: Kyle Anderson, Senior ELLE Editor

June 21, 2011  |  Announcements, Interviews
Photo courtesy of Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson is the senior accessories editor at ELLE magazine and avid reader of He sent me a lovely email after I posted this photo of Saree and her Celine tote bag. It was a huge compliment to hear such nice feedback from someone like him!
Kyle also runs a really cool Tumblr, Appointment With Kyle, where he posts photos of amazing accessories and visits to designer showrooms. He was gracious enough to allow me to interview him about his life, the fashion world, and of course accessories!

 1. What handbag does every Chicago girl need for Fall 2011? 

There are a few favorites that all of the girls are obsessed with this season. All of the ELLE girls and fashion obsessed girls love Celine, Proenza and Alexander Wang. Although I really do love them I always recommend girls to buy a black Birkin or a black patent quilted Chanel bag. Not the jumbo but the 2.55 style. They go with everything. Day, night, drinks, dinners, everyone loves these bags. I think the chanel 2.55 could even be great at night if u have to go out after work. IF you think about it, the IT girls from the 50s, 60s, 70s had these bags and the “it girls” of 2011 are still carrying them. Look at Olivia Palermo. Shes always has her Birkin in hand. Gorgeous! Its an investment but you would be able to carry it for the next 50 years day in and day out.

2. When you’re in Chicago, where are your favorite places to shop/eat/hang out?

I actually love hanging out in Lake Forest. I think its one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world. It is like a movie set of the perfect American city. I was so lucky to have lived there. I could walk and jog for hours and hours listening to my music and taking in all of the beautiful coastline, forests, houses, gardens and the people are extremely friendly everyone you meet on the street says hello. Everyone. I can remember going to Old Orchard Mall or Northbrook court with my friends on Friday nights after school or on Saturdays. One of my best friends lived nearby in Kennilworth and we she would pick me up and we would shop till we drop. Literally. It was so much fun. We still talk about it even today a decade later. I love Neiman Marcus at NBCourt and Old orchard is BEAUTIFUL. In downtown Chicago I remember loving going to Chanel with my best friend and looking at all of the accessories. We also used to go to Marshall Fields in both Lake Forest and also in downtown chicago. IT was a thrill. I remember at that time thinking WOW so much fashion. Amazing!!

3. What accessories do you wear every day?

I wear my Rolex everyday. It was a gift for my 30th Birthday. I love it and I never take it off. I personally don’t like to wear jewelry. Maybe some funky boots or a cool bag but no jewelry. It just doesn’t suit me.

4. What is your favorite accessory in your closet? 

I have a big collection of Gucci bags and they are everything from mild to wild. Crazy embroidered and beaded ones to studs and grommets. Logos, non logos, everything. I Love Gucci, for me. I also have an amazing Prada bag with huge nuts and bolts on it. I love bags with a lot of metal hardware. I do have one necklace that I love its a chrome hearts silver necklace with diamonds. It wear it once in a while but I love it and love looking at it more than it actually ends up getting worn. I also love these three canvas tote bags I bought 10 years ago when I moved to NYC from Hermes. They no longer produce that style but I still wear them every summer. They go with everything. People always come up to me and say I love that Hermes tote!

5. Through becoming a street-style photographer I’ve really learned the importance of accessorizing in making or breaking a look. What items should every girl own at least one of?

An expensive black bag. Hermes or Chanel. Its worth the investment. A great pair of high heels, Giuseppe Zanotti, pointy high heel Manolos, or a strappy Jimmy Choo. In black. You will wear them a million times. Nothing trendy!!

A Louis Vuitton wallet. They last forever. 4 years after wearing it they look brand new.

An expensive watch. Cartier, Rolex or Bulgari. You only need one. You don’t need 10 watches invest in one good one and wear it until you die. Because it never will.

6. What accessory(ies) are worth dropping serious cash on?

Hermes bags
Chanel bags
Rolex watch
Cartier watch
Cartier panther head ring
Bulgari watch
Azzedine Alaia belt
Pointy high heel Manolos in black
Strappy high heel Jimmy Choos without crystals in leather

Buy them! And enjoy them! Wear them to death!

Make sure to follow Kyle on Twitter, @KyleEditor

And on his Tumblr, Appointment with Kyle.

Interview with Alexis Cozzini

Alexis Cozzini
Alexis Cozzini is the owner of Sarca, an exclusive boutique located in the Gold Coast at 710 North Wabash. During the Erin Gordon for Sarca trunk show, Alexis graciously took the time to talk with me about the Chicago fashion scene.

Amy: So what led you to open Sarca?

Alexis: I have always been interested in retail. I started working in retail when I was 15 at a store in Lincoln Park called Celeste Turner. It’s not there anymore, it was on Armitage, back when Armitage was really the best place to shop. So I’ve just always been interested [in retailing]. My mom’s friend owned Celeste Turner so I got to see behind the scenes. I always knew I wanted to have my own shop one day. So since I was 15 I have always working in retail or fashion in some capacity. I worked at Calvin Klein in their PR department when I was in New York. I’ve worked for Intermix, I’ve worked for Chanel, I’ve worked for tons of places. It’s my passion!

I knew that I wanted to have a lot of exclusives. My family travels a lot, I’ve always traveled when I was younger. My dad is from Italy and my mom is from Austria, so we have family there who we go visit every year. In Europe I was exposed to a lot of international designers. It was really important to me to have something here that you can’t find everywhere else. A lot of our designers are really popular in the countries where they’re from, or they’re really well-known there, but they’re not as well-known over here, so they’re all established. We don’t have too many people here who are super-new or just starting out, we do have some, but I prefer to stick with people who are established even though they might not be so popular here.

Amy: Why Chicago?

I grew up here. Since I’ve always been into fashion, I personally found it a little annoying at times that you couldn’t find some really cool things here. In my retail experiences here, there are a lot of women who live in Chicago that have the money to spend on cool things or they have that style about them and they really want something that you can’t find anywhere else, or maybe you can only find in New York or you can find it when you go to Italy or Paris or London, wherever. I think it’s a little underestimated here. I think department stores and some other boutiques kind of pigeon-hole us into that Midwest category. I mean, we haven’t had problems selling anything that’s funkier or maybe a higher price point or that’s a little more cutting edge because we’ve been able to tap into a market that really wants that.

Amy: How do you explain the Chicago woman and her point-of-view to European brands?

Alexis: I just tell them everything I told you. I think that people just have this skewed image of us. Whenever I go buying people are always asking me why I’m not buying larger sizes because they think that everyone in the Midwest is fat. That’s not the case. Most of our customers are tiny! We do have customers who come in and ask [for larger sizes], so we really can accommodate everyone. When I go buying, people think that everything that I’m going to want is going to be conservative.

Amy: From my own blog, I’ve noticed a lot of interest from Europe in Chicago. Have you found that as well?

Alexis: I have. I think Barack Obama certainly has a lot to do with it. Also, I’ve noticed that Chicago’s doing a lot to promote itself. Between Barack and between the Olympics, [Chicago] is really becoming known as an international city, and it is. I mean, we’re a bigger city than L.A. [by urbanized area]. I think that as a city we’re really taking that next step. Every time I go buying, whether it’s in New York or London or Paris or Milan, everybody is very eager to get into the Chicago market. It’s great, it’s really great for us.

Amy: Do you see yourself expanding out of Chicago?

Alexis: I’d love to. I don’t know if I would ever open another store in Chicago. I don’t necessarily want to be seen as a chain, but I’d love to open in a different venue at some point. This month is actually our one year anniversary.

Amy: Congratulations!

Alexis: Thank you!

Amy: That’s a great accomplishment, especially in this economic climate.

Alexis: We definitely see it getting better, slowly.

Amy: You obviously know your client well.

Alexis: I was lucky that I had worked in retail in Chicago for so long that I was able to have a little bit of a small, established client base when I opened. But word-of-mouth really is everything. You really rely on your repeat customers. We’ve been doing really well. We’ve been here a year, and we’re loving it. I probably won’t open another store right away! But I would love to in another market for sure.

Amy: My last question is about the newer brands you carry. Do you find yourself trying to nurture new talent? Because obviously you need to have established brands that are proven sellers. But when you look for bringing in a new brand, what is the deciding factor?

Alexis: The deciding factor is definitely quality. And price point. If you’re a newer designer, and you have something that’s a higher price point, I look to make sure that it makes sense that that price point fits for what the item is. You want it to be something that is a quality item, and you want that designer to provide you with a reason for something to be at that price point. So it’s totally OK to start out and be a new designer, and have really expensive things, but everything has got to make sense. That’s what I try to [evaluate] when I buy for anything in the store. If it’s going to be expensive, it needs to have a reason for being at that price point and we have to be able to speak about that, and the designer has to be able to speak about that too. It’s really important to me to have quality.

Whatever the price point is, I just think that the price should match the item. If something is inexpensive you know it’s not going to be the best quality. It might be a $35 Eryn Brinie t-shirt that we have here. Who wants to buy a t-shirt for $100? I don’t! I like expensive things, but I don’t want to buy a pricey t-shirt. But with a $35 t-shirt, you know it’s only going to last you so long but you’re not paying $100 for it.

Amy: And it also allows people like me to buy into the Sarca mystique. I mean, I’m a graduate student at DePaul but it doesn’t mean I don’t love fashion. Having things at varied price points allows me to shop here.

Alexis: Right. We do portray ourselves as a luxury boutique and the majority of the things in the store are pricey but we do have things that are at a price point for everyone. You just have to go through the racks. Don’t be afraid to ask us about what an item is, or what the price is. We style people head to toe every day, and we don’t style everyone in things that are a thousand dollars each. You have to mix-and-match, which I love to do. I shop at Forever 21 and H&M, so why not!

Amy: Yeah, I think especially in the 2000s, that the whole idea of dressing head-to-toe in designer only went out the window. Women, especially women with money, are mixing.

Alexis: [On wearing only designer items] It’s not realistic, and if you truly love fashion you are truly into mixing your wardrobe up.

Amy: Well thank you for taking the time to do this mini-interview during your release party for Erin Gordon for Sarca!

Chelsea Cankar, Founder of Stic-Of-The-Week

Chelsea Cankar

Let me start off by saying this first: Chelsea is a total sweetheart. She and I first met backstage at North Coast Fest where we hung out with artists and mingled with roadies. The title of her blog is the combination of her two favorite passions, Style and Music. Stic-of-the-Week has fast become one of the leading blogs on the intersection between music and style in Chicago.

Chelsea took some time out of hosting her website launch party to talk to me about the ideas behind her website and how she befriended many of the city’s coolest artists!

Amy: What has your experience of Chicago’s music scene been so far?

Chelsea: Artists here are willing to do whatever it takes to grow the music scene. They don’t care if they’re getting paid millions of dollars, they just want the fans to like their music, and for people to hear their music. And I think that’s given me a new look on Chicago since I grew up here.

Amy: Where’d you grow up?

Chelsea: I grew up in Lake Forest. It’s very different from the city. People, I feel like there, were already successful and CEOs of companies. People there already had success, and it helped seeing people who were already successful. I want to have my own company someday and I thought this was a good way to start.

Amy: Yes, it definitely is. Running a website is very entrepreneurial because you’re your own boss, you set your own rules, you work as hard as you want, you don’t have to answer to anyone. That’s why I love my website, because I’m my own boss. You know, I bust my ass to work for myself!

Chelsea: Yeah, totally!

Amy: Owning a website is something that I care about and I want to see created. And it’s funny that you mention that the music scene is very relaxed because I’ve found the same thing about the fashion community. Unlike cities with a very established, global fashion presence, the fashion industry here is very welcoming. People want the press and they want the media and the exposure, because people here feel that Chicago is very unappreciated in the global fashion market.

Chelsea: Often times, it’s not even like Chicago is second city – people treat it more like the fifth city! Like I was saying earlier to you, Factor women is like this great modeling company based in Chicago. And Topshop, we were chosen to be the second city in the United States to open one. Vince just opened, there’s a lot going on in the Chicago fashion scene!

Amy: I find it really interesting how you’re promoting the intersection of fashion and music with your website. How do you think that the two worlds support each other?

Chelsea: It’s crazy how well they tie in together. Every musician wants a style to set their music apart from someone else. Fashion ties in well because musicians want the latest looks and styles, because they want to be visually different from their competitors. It’s about the imagery of music. Musicians want to look the part as well, kind of like a costume in a play. They want to dress up, and create this identity. Everyone has something to define them, like a ring or a leather jacket. A lot of musicians don’t even realize how much they have a sense of style. They’ll say “I only shop at thrift shops,” and yet they’ll have cool look. Like when I interviewed the band The Constellations at Lollapalooza, one of the guys in the band was wearing a pair of sunglasses a fan had given to him at a show. Things like that.

Amy: So which Chicago bands do you think have the potential to make it big on the national music scene?

Chelsea: All the bands playing here tonight. Gemini Club, California Wives, Derek Nelson, and Pretty Good Dance Moves, for sure. All of them are going to blow up. Gemini Club actually started their band when I started my website, and we’ve been growing up to scale with together, so that’s been pretty cool. And then Pretty Good Dance Moves, Aaron’s deejaying tonight but the rest of the band is actually in Brooklyn and he’s moving out there in a few months. They’re hooking up with big bands out there. Derek Nelson’s releasing an album next month, and California Wives just released an album. They’re actually doing phenomenally well. So actually all the bands tonight. Not to like, be biased..

Amy: It’s hard not to be because you obviously feature bands on your website who you really like.

Chelsea: Exactly. Actually, the band The Constellations that I interviewed at Lolla, they’re not from here but I told them when I was interviewing them, they’re going to blow up. And then Hockey, ironically I told them that too and now they’re on the radio, so we’ll see!

Amy: Wow you have a good ear! Well thank you so much for taking time out of your fabulous launch party at Beauty Bar to share with my readers more about Stic-of-the-Week.