Women’s Summer Collections
Stand out Pieces and Trends

Being considered a trendsetter is truly one of the greatest compliments in fashion. Mary Quant, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Kate Moss. These women are style icons that are adored the world over.

Why? Because they took fashion to the next level at all times. They not only stayed up to date with trends, they made the trends their own.

What should women expect to add to their style repertoire this summer? We touch on our favorites below.

Orange is the New Black

Orange. While it’s mostly associated with Halloween, this summer orange is associated with youth and energy.  Bold and bright will be two terms associated with you when rocking this color, especially when it is on your lips.

Orange lipstick and dresses have been seen on many runways recently. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a supermodel to pull the color off. Depending on your skin tone, orange can be a great compliment with little risk involved.

If you have darker skin and usually wear fuschia lipstick, try a rich burnt orange with brown undertones. If you are pale, try a light peachy shade. Both of these pairings will add new life to your usual look. But, be careful – with too much eye makeup, orange lipstick can be a little too much. Let your orange lips be the star and go more neutral on the rest of your face.

When it comes to your outfit, you can bring in the bold color as little or as much as you want.  Don’t be afraid to go full out with an orange dress or pants.  If your look is a little more understated, add a slight touch of orange through vibrant accessories.Lanvin Dress

Though it’s a bright color, it can be quite versatile for both formal and sporty looks.  Victoria secret models Karlie Kloss and others pulled off the formal look with a chic dress, while Jordan Dunn and others showcased the color’s sport leverage in a casual top.

Iridescent: Back to the Futur

It’s almost as if Ziggy Stardust with 90s influence has been designing for many of the most renowned designers.  Several designers, such as Armani and Lanvin, showed shiny metallic pieces on models styled in a very avant garde manner. Every designer added his or her own touch of originality when styling to maintain some brand recognition, but iridescence seemed to be a common thread.

Lanvin showed a slinky, below-the-knee cocktail dress that looked like liquid gold at this year’s London Fashion Week. Meanwhile, Katy Perry and Rihanna showcased small touches of iridescence through Jimmy Choo shoes and a Philip Lim top. The point is you can either dive head first into the trend or just dip your toe in.

Floral Femininity

Who doesn’t love flowers? They bring beautiful smells to you home and remind us all of lush, warm weather.  However, in fashion, the floral print can sometimes be misunderstood. For many, florals bring escadato mind grannies and their outdated drapes.

Every designer is very aware of this negative connotation so they go above and beyond to make their looks current and avoid any dowdy associations.

In 2012 and 2013 we saw the floral trend start to sprout and now it’s in full bloom. Designers for ESCADA and Ted Baker are capitalizing on the revitalizing power of flowers for this spring.

Escada shows the print with more vibrant colors influenced by tropical and Asian culture. However, if these looks aren’t for you there are many other designers taking advantage of other floral tactics that may work.

Delicate florals keep your look subtle and allow you to match with lighter shades. Although this is usually considered quite the opposite of spring trends, dark florals show intensity and sternness, and are perfect for certain personalities. Floral suits are an option if you are a risk taker. Just make sure the suit is tailored to your body or you may end up looking like you just stepped out of a dusty Salvation Army.

There’s a fine line between knowing your style personality and being stuck in your ways.  You may be confident in your signature look, but you can always find ways to evolve with great new trends while staying true to yourself.

And, like the fashion greats of the past, the best approach is to tweak new trends to truly make them your own.


3 New Menswear Trends for Spring & Summer:
Designers Show Hot Looks for Warm Weather

Hermes, Vera Wang, Prada, Lanvin, Barney’s. Where in Chicago will you find all of these stores, and the leading trendsetters in Chicago? The answer isn’t Michigan Avenue, or State Street. Oak Street, a little street in Gold Coast is the place to be if you are man looking to stay on top of beautiful trends for the spring and summer seasons. To shed light on the brilliant trends, these designers bring to the public we paid close attention at this year’s runways.blogpostoakstreet1


1.  Skinny Out, Flowing In

Alber Elbaz, Lanvin Paris’s designer since 2002, really touched on moving away from the skinny fit trend when he showed Lanvin’s Spring/Summer (SS) menswear line. Nearly all of his trousers and tops were free flowing, yet still fitted just enough so they wouldn’t be considered baggy. One of our favorite casual standouts was his 10th look, which was a full cut coat-jacket in ecru wool mix, with an English collar and overstitched revers, and ribbon detail. Matched with navy trousers that flow over derby shoes nicely, this look is definitely innovative for 2014.

2. Join the Navy!


Véronique Nichanian marked her 25th year with Hermès at her show last June. Looks 1 through 5 at Hermès Paris’s SS show in Milan focused on blue shades from head to toe. Loafers paired with trousers revealing ankles are a perfect way to handle the summer heat. Basic white shirts paired with slim fitting navy blazers show casual and fashionable style at the same time. The definite bottom line from the show was there really is no one like Nichanian. Who else could combine navy country club-like pants with tattoos and angry looking young men?gingham

Using multiple layers of the same color allows you to play with textures and really add depth to your look. Hermès capitalizes on navy, one of the best colors for this tactic. Not only did Hermès put most of the effort into deep blue shades, they also worked on various materials. Navy leather pants and tops, and Roman-style sandals are prevalent in the collection. If you aren’t into playing it safe with style then try out one of these more avant garde pieces.



3. Gingham Style

Gingham has always been a steady standby in the fashion industry, but this year’s Jil Sanders collection steals the spotlight from preppy institutions like Burberry and Ralph Lauren.  Most people wouldn’t consider Jil Sanders to be in the same category as those classic houses, yet they most definitely pulled off the Gingham print for their 2014 SS collection.

Look 18 at Jil Sander’s Milan show is a beautiful wool knit with a gingham print that is almost water color-esque. Black and gray stripes both horizontally and vertically over carefully placed black and dark white blotches. This piece really changes up the gingham style and is expected to be seen on many trend setters soon.

Yohji Yamomoto once said, “I hate fashion because all it is, is trends.” When shopping it’s important to consider why each trend suits your style. Picking a trend just because it is trending is foolish, but picking a piece that is trending because it allows better expression is creative. Like Yamomoto, Lanvin, Prada, and Jil Sanders have been the ones setting, not following these trends for years. If originality is your style priority, there isn’t any other place in Chicago you will be able to find such a wide range of designer trends seen on the hottest runways from around the world.




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Polar Vortex Chic: Men’s Edition
Stay Toasty with Stylish Winter Looks

Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and the Polar Vortex keeps producing increasingly bad sequels.  In other words, winter is far from over – if anything, it appears to be gearing up for battle. Rag Bone Sweater

Though your instinct might be to remain indoors and don a sweat suit, under a Snuggie, under a down comforter, life must go on…and it must be stylish.

Take advantage of some late-season sales and gear up for what is sure to be a couple more months of snow and cold.Hermes Men

Rag & Bone Sweater, Barneys

Wearing this beautiful Merino wool sweater will feel like wearing a robe, except for the disapproving stares.  Rag & Bone does casual, masculine cool better than most and this piece, with its unique shawl collar and mélange texture, is a perfect example.

Cashmere Scarf, Hermès

If you’ve never wrapped your neck in a lush, soft-as-butter, cashmere scarf, you truly don’t know what you’re missing.  This one, from scarf genius Hermès, is long, simple and elegant.  It’s available in a striking rust color, as well as oatmeal, navy and grey.  It will perfectly fill that spot your coat doesn’t quite cover, as Montcler Menswell as an empty place in your heart.  That’s just what cashmere does, believe us.

Down Parka, Montcler

This coat is not playing around, in warmth or style.  Not only is it waterproof, but it’s super light as well.  So, you won’t feel like you’re wearing a down comforter with sleeves, which is decidedly not cool.  We especially like the length on this coat – it will protect your pants as you sit down on the snow-covered front seat of your car after digging it out post-blizzard.

Corduroy Trousers, Paul Stuart

Is there anything better than a classic corduroy pant in a rich, gold?  They add that bit of extra warmth and Corduroysdurability, as well as a sexy, professorial vibe.  If you’re the guy that wears jeans or cotton trousers every day, try switching it up with some corduroys.  Paired with a smart, modern sweater and you can’t go wrong.

Leather Gloves, Scoop NYC

These gloves are like a warm cloud for your hands.  They’re made out of an extremely soft, hand-stitched Nappa leather and, as if that wasn’t enough, they’re lined with pure cashmere.  The visible Scoop Glovesstitches add an artisan touch to make these gloves stand out from the crowd of bland leather gloves.

Leather Boots, Emporio Armani

Here’s the problem with boots:  Usually, whatever feels warm and solid outside looks like a joke as soon as you step into the office.  And, who wants to lug around another pair of shoes to change into?  These boots from Armani, however, are undercover agents that function like a rugged boot while coming off as a slick dress shoe as soon as your trousers slip over them.  These are boots youArmani Boots can live with.

Trillby Hat, Paul Stuart

You need a hat; there’s no getting around that, regardless of what it does to your hair.  So, you should probably opt for one that also makes you look painfully cool, as if you’ve just stepped out of an old, black and white Rock Hudson film.  This fur felt, made-in-Italy topper Hatdoes just that.  It will keep your precious body heat in while also significantly upping your dapper factor.

It can be hard to feel like your dashing, handsome self when temperatures plummet and the snow just won’t stop falling.  Icy sidewalks and chattering teeth don’t exactly make you look hip.

The good news is, with a few key pieces, you can maintain your style without risking hypothermia.  Instead of falling back on the usual knit beanie and North Face coat, try something new that’s cool and hot at the very same time.

Polar Vortex Chic: Women’s Edition
Cool Finds to Keep You Warm this Winter

Winter 2014 is not playing around, that much is clear.  Between the seemingly endless snows and the dangerously cold weather sent Calypso St Barth Vestfrom the North Pole, Chicago is taking a beating.

That doesn’t mean, however, that your style has to suffer.

Whether you’re clearing heaps of snow off of your car or just hurrying down the street to the nearest Starbucks, you can still manage to be the picture of cold-weather chic with a few, hot additions to your winter wardrobe.

Rabbit Fur Yali, Calypso St. BartJil Sanders Sleeves

Looking cool while staying warm is all about layering – you can throw this gorgeous, rabbit fur vest over practically anything for added warmth and style.  Dress it down with jeans and chunky boots or go more formal by pairing it with an LBD and heels.  Either way, you’ll want to cuddle with yourself.

Sleeves, Jil Sander

Jimmy Choo BootsDon’t be limited by short-sleeved tops; just add these lux leather sleeves to any outfit to give a bit of extra coverage and insulation.  They’ll keep you warm while adding a subtle, avant-garde edge to your look.

Yule Boots, Jimmy Choo

These boots are not only beautiful, but practical.  When you’re trudging through a couple feet of snow and black ice, you’ll love the low heel and high shaft.  And, though your face might be freezing, your feet will be luxuriating in the rabbit-fur interior lining….mmmmm.Montcler Coat

Gamme Rouge Coat, Moncler

Moncler’s coats are insanely warm and insanely stylish.  This one is subtly striking with beautiful, understated details and textures.  It’s not over the top for dropping the kids off at school, but it’s elegant enough for a night out as well.

Armani CoatDown Jacket, Emporio Armani

Down jackets can sometimes leave you looking like the Michelin man – not so with this chic number from Armani.  The exaggerated cowl neck and perfectly-proportioned lines set this jacket far apart from the department store variety down coat.  And, the whisper-soft color will stand out from the ubiquitous drably-colored outwear on the street.

Gilly Forge Pia Hat, Barneys

This classic shape will never go out of style, and the lined, faux fur will never leave you out in the Barneys Hatcold.  This simple hat is reminiscent of Russian royalty and will look pretty great with just about any of your outerwear options.

Gloria, Agent Provacateur

Agent ProvacateurOK, admittedly, this stunning lingerie won’t do too much for your core body temperature, but it definitely will make you feel hot.  It’s a mental thing.  When your feet land in an icy puddle, you may just feel a little better knowing what’s underneath your puffy coat, wool sweater and long underwear.

Freezing temperatures do not mean that you have to sacrifice your usual, killer style.  On the contrary, winter gives you an opportunity to experiment with layering on new styles and luxurious pieces.

Splash out on some new winter styles and you’ll end up wishing for snow and below zero temps.  How else will you get to show off your new, Arctic-chic look?

Balsan introduces Shop & Lunch prix fixe menu

Balsan Bar

Balsan introduces Shop & Lunch, a delicious three-course prix fixe menu.  Available for $27 per person, weekdays 11am-4pm, the menu option includes:


Cumin Roasted Carrot Soup  -OR- Artisan Greens Salad


Club Sandwish -OR- Chicken Caesar Salad -OR- Tarte Flambee -OR- Wild Mushroom Bolognese -OR- Seared Faroe Island Salmon


Dark Chocolate Terrine

Balsan is located inside the Waldorf-Astoria at 11 E. Walton. Please call (312) 646-1400 for more information.