The Haute Closet


Chicago Mag or black/francis 2.0

So, black/francis is no more, but it doesn’t mean Heiji and I have parted ways. Below, our first collab post-b/f, with Heiji as new contributing editor to Chicago Magazine. I helped style, capturing Laura Letinsky and friends at a garden lunch at Laura’s fantastic Hyde Park home. Great idea, H! Looking forward to your future pieces in Chicago, far and away our fave Chicago mag!


THC’s Year in Review

We kicked off 2010 with lots of fashion inspiration; were disappointed by the tsunami that didn’t happen while in Maui in February; March was mad, naturally, and even more so with an interview with retail icon Nena Ivon and the untimely passing of Alexander McQueen; in April we were featured in Real Simple and celebrated our birthday with more of our multi-color nails at Blackbird; in May we went to Israel and discovered amazing boutique Sharon Brunsher and also released Volume 10 of The Haute Closet In Your Head; in June we hosted a soiree at GUESS to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago; in July we posed for a photo in a seriously cool outfit with some major bling; in August we went styleseeking for Lucky and Refinery29 backstage at Lollapalooza; in September we redesigned the THC site and hit up (capsule) NYC for N PRPA while discovering the awesome crowns of Lara Vincent; in October we posed for Vavoom Pinups for a Chicago Magazine party, styled at Modern Vintage and started guest-blogging for Lori’s Shoes; in November we got weird with Simon Doonan; and in December we trekked to NYC to hook up Gilt Groupe founder Alexandra with a Haute Closet and re-up our cup of style inspiration with some NYC shopping.

Most importantly, though, it was a year filled with lots of Haute Closets and their happy owners. And us trademarking the term Haute Closet! And then there was the launch of black/francis, the AF team up with Heiji Choy black, owner of the former Hejfina which was our absolute favorite Chicago boutique. And a bunch of modeling gigs for Lori’s, LuLu’s and Toad Lillie.

We love you and will see you in the New Year with lots more on the THC blog!

In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the more memorable shots we took this year:


Winter Whites!

Click through for our latest post on Lori’s Shoe Blog!


Inside a Gilt Closet

That’s Alexandra Wilkis Wilson – Harvard Grad, Power Retailer, Gilt Founder.

I recently hung out with her in her closet in NYC to see what’s Haute. And elevated it is. Alexandra has an amazing collection of day dresses, her regular work uniform. Also: jewelry. Having spent considerable time at Louis Vuitton and Bulgari before launching Gilt with her friend Alexis . . . she’s not lacking in the designer department. With a separate closet for evening gowns, Alexandra’s main closet is filled with the day dresses, glitzier pieces for night and great basics, much of it from Gilt: sweaters, jackets, gorgeous silk blouses, and tons of great shoes.

This being NYC, space is tight. I commenced with the Initial Edit and got rid of a few pieces and recommended archiving those that are precious but aren’t essential to her regular wardrobe. And with her being in NYC, she can take advantage of an amazing service called Garde Robe. If you live there – and have lots in your wardrobe – you may want to check them out.

Not that she needed much in the way of style advice, but there was one gaping hole in her wardrobe: a go-to pair of jeans. Admittedly, she’s not much of a denim girl, but before I left I evangelized for the indigo and sent her on a mission to hit Barneys, Bergdorfs and ACNE to seek out and try on until she found the perfect, high-waisted pair because, really: essential.

Also: Alexandra just had a baby, and, like so many women who’ve done the same, she’s switching gears from belly wear to newly svelte. The post-baby metamorphosis can seem wholly daunting but it doesn’t have to be: it’s an opportunity to resurrect what worked best and change directions to reflect what’s happening now. I suggested long, light jackets to go over her dresses (great layering for Winter with the added benefit of providing lots of topper options come Spring) and to throw in some belts to shine┬á light on her newly rebounded waistline.

I suggested she pick up belts to hit high on her natural waist and scour the vintage shops around town to find them (and perhaps have a cobbler make fab pieces smaller to get the right fit). Also, I pushed for a belt sale on Gilt because one can never have too many of these great accessories. Think of them as jewelry: they can take a look from casual to glam in seconds flat, changing the shape of a dress, amping up jeans and a jacket or transforming the look of a coat.

Going in, I knew Alexandra as a stylish, powerful woman. Now, with more room in her closet, she can see what she’s got and shop for more designer pieces on the fantastic, ever-expanding Gilt. But it’s not like she gets special treatment during sales: Gilt employees – even the founders – have to wait until noon to see what’s for sale.


Opening Ceremony on Display

Every trip we take to NYC necessarily requires a pilgrimage to OC. Every time we go, we walk out wanting to design clothes. We always leave with something spectacular. Suno, Toga and Christopher Kane stole our hearts this time. And we were treated to a surprise this time as well – they opened a store next door to house, amongst other things, shoes, shoes and more shoes, Alexander Wang and Versus. Versus is ridiculously hot. You’ve seen the ads with Lara in the red velvet. There’s a purple velvet with pleated silk chiffon on the rack right now. It fit perfectly. It was perfectly ladylike without being cute.

We love Opening Ceremony.

And we love this display for ladies flats in the basement level of the original store:

And here’s the staircase up to the second, new store:

Just about everything is on sale there right now: you should go. Or at least check out their online shop. It’s one of the most reliable places to get the special pieces that stand out each season.

We can’t help but be inspired. We just wish we could afford the Altuzarra black shearling bomber. It was made for THC.


THC + Google = ?

We love the Internet.

We also love building websites (this one, black/francis,

Anything tech is cool with us.

So when we got the Twitter update this AM about Google rolling out – billed as a Personalized Fashion Shop – we thought ok, let’s check it out.

Here’s our boutique: thehautecloset on

We like it. Don’t love it. Pretty much par for the course when it comes to Google.

Bottom line: it’s a pretty good way to snag deals and find new online shops but picks can be way off the mark, even after intense customization. Basically, a Silicon Valley server will never be able to parse the most intimate of your style desires. And you’ll probably end up buying things you don’t need because they are constantly being fed to you.

So, back to The Haute Closet: real, live, completely personalize service. In your home. In the shops. It’s awesome. Everything you need, nothing you don’t. We love it. And so do our clients!


Denmark by Sam Edelman for Lori’s



Wearing the Denmark by Sam Edelman for Lori’s Shoes, we rocked an Alaia skirt with a Garde leather and then changed into an Electric Feathers dress from Roslyn and socks from Robin Richman. We had a riot shooting with JC, Coree and David from Lori’s!