Whether quirky, cool, or perfectly polished, the city’s chicest couples put their own stamp on Chicago style.
“I love having things that others had before me,” says Ogilvy & Mather creative director and partner Tereasa Surratt, who on a recent balmy Friday afternoon is wearing a vintage coin-print Lanvin dress, a 1961 men’s Rolex, and a ring that once belonged to husband David Hernandez’s grandfather. “Everything’s got a story, and that’s what I enjoy about style in general: You get to tell your own personal story, and then someone else’s, like this dress.” Hernandez, executive creative director for Ogilvy & Mather, chimes in: “We both like saving old things—whether cars, or motorcycles, or buildings, or clothes.”
A prime example of the couple’s salvaging philosophy is Camp Wandawega, the Prohibition-era oasis they purchased in 2003. Although weekdays find them in their West Town home, weekends see Surratt and Hernandez at the Elkhorn, Wisconsin–based retreat they have worked to restore to its former glory. “We chose the period of 1925 to about 1960 to use as a decorating look and feel,” says Surratt, who decorated the camp in her signature masculine style—think plaid tablecloths, taxidermy, and chandeliers crafted from antlers. “If you go to any home that’s been in a family for a very long time, you see all the layers of different generations,” adds Surratt, whose husband of 10 years appreciates how that observation echoes her personal style. “What’s the wedding expression, ‘Something old, something blue?’” says Hernandez, laughing. “Tereasa is ‘something old, something old, something borrowed, and something old.’”
Back when he was a bachelor on a boys’ trip to Vegas in 2005, entrepreneur D.C. Crenshaw stopped by the Brioni boutique in the new Wynn Hotel, where future wife Alayna happened to be working. “Vegas was meant to be,” reminisces Alayna, a Vancouver native with backgrounds in menswear and womenswear who had moved to Las Vegas after more than a decade of selling for Emporio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Christian Dior on Rodeo Drive. Following a whirlwind long-distance courtship, D.C. and Alayna settled down in Chicago and were married—but not before Alayna took D.C.’s wardrobe to the next level. “Before I met her, the most expensive pair of jeans I bought was $35,” muses the man-about-town. “I was always a suit guy, but she helped me advance my casual game.”
Wearing a black maxi dress and an impressive stack of DoDo by Pomellato charm bracelets, Alayna cites Halston, Akira, and H&M (“It’s trendy, it’s disposable, and if my kids spill something on it, it’s not the end of the world,” says the mother of two) as a few of her favorite haunts. As the store manager for Pomellato, she’s particularly excited to see a bumper crop of haute new neighbors on Oak Street. “When I first moved here, Chicago fashion was kind of conservative, but I think that we are evolving,” she says “It’s exciting to see Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin, Dolce & Gabbana—it’s only getting better.” Just like D.C.’s style. “Often I have in my head what I’m going to wear, but then I change it because I like to take a risk and mix and match things that haven’t been done before,” says D.C., who favors custom tailoring and boutiques like Haberdash and Akira. “Usually he’s on point,” says Alayna with a laugh, “[but] I might tweak a little bit.”
As senior vice president of Sotheby’s Midwest, Gary Metzner has long been passionate about art, but in his 13 years with Scott Johnson he’s become much more attuned to fashion as well. “I’d never even been in Prada until I met him,” deadpans Metzner, whose husband chuckles while sipping coffee in their gallery-like River North condo on a sunny Friday morning. “[Now] everyone there knows our names!”
Metzner first met Johnson, a medical physicist, in 2001, and the couple were just married in Chicago in August—in custom Thom Browne suits, no less. “We handpicked all the fabrics and everything, so we really created it on our own,” says Johnson of the day-of jackets, pants, shirts, and bow ties. He’s always been particular about his wardrobe (“Even as a child, I remember looking at my mother’s fashion magazines and being like, ‘Where are the guys’ clothes?’”), while Metzner’s prepster aesthetic took shape while he was a saddle-shoe-wearing student at Indiana University. “Every time I walk in the lobby with a regular tie on, the doorman’s like, ‘Where’s your bow tie?’” He cites The Cordial Churchman in North Carolina as a favorite source for neckwear (“You can actually send them your old ties and they’ll turn them into a bow tie”), while locally Johnson praises Barneys, Lanvin, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, and—more recently—Topman as go-to shops. “I’m more of an introvert, he’s more of an extrovert,” Johnson says of Metzner, who has become known around the city as a talented benefit auctioneer. “Going with him to all the charity events, I want to wear something different to each one.”
“We just got back from Paris, and I loved shopping at Maliparmi,” says Emily Sachs Wong, wearing orange-striped trousers purchased at the Italian boutique. “My very favorite style is late-60s Beatles-esque,” adds the @Properties broker, who shops at Neapolitan and Barneys New York for favorite labels Dries Van Noten and Marni.
Emily’s husband of 13 years, Thad, describes her style as “modern-day hippie.” He classifies his look as “uniquely preppy,” and he has plenty of Chicago sources to help him achieve it. “I go to Chuck at Barneys, Allen at Ralph Lauren, Edmund at George Greene, and Pape at Saks,” says the @Properties cofounder, a self-described value shopper who has also found himself buying suits and sport coats online: “I like the best of the best; with Ralph Lauren, I will only buy the Purple Label, but I will buy it at the end of the season.” While Emily doesn’t share Thad’s penchant for online shopping (“He’s tried to get me to go that route,” she says, “but with women’s clothing, the nuances and fit are so different”), both appreciate attention to detail. “I want clothes either noticeable for me, or noticeable to somebody else,” says Thad, “[but] I want my personality to be at the forefront.” Adds Emily, “We’re that couple who buys the [luxurious] white T-shirt that nobody else on the planet would know the difference—instead of going to Target.”
“We run a restaurant together, we work out together, we shop together,” says Komal Patel of her partnership with her husband, Attila Gyulai, with whom she created Embeya, the progressive Asian restaurant in the West Loop. “Many times we color coordinate,” chimes in Gyulai, who often sets the tone with a classic tailored navy suit from favorite labels like Ermenegildo Zegna, Morris & Sons (“A fantastic, fantastic shop—they really know what they are selling”), and Suitsupply, while Patel is smitten with Maria Pinto’s new M2057 line. “I love classic shapes with somewhat unusual texture and an architectural feel,” she says of the label.
A native of Zambia, Patel prefers a dose of whimsy in her wardrobe, though she and Gyulai avoid competing with Embeya’s stunning aesthetic; today, Patel’s raven hair cascades down a black and white Jean Paul Gaultier maxi dress that complements Gyulai’s light violet button-down. “To an extent we want to [blend into] the background,” she says of the Karen Herold–designed destination (“We probably sent the wood floor back at least 20 times to get [the distressed] look,” recalls Gyulai). Adds Patel, “A lot of what we wear is shaped by our environment and who we are dressing for.” She grimaces when Gyulai cites age as an additional factor for how their wardrobe has evolved in the four years since they met. “Speak for yourself,” she laughs as Gyulai kisses her forehead. “I feel like I’m 21.”
“You are a snappy dresser,” makeup artist Shannon O’Brien proclaims to husband Matt Roan, who beams happily in response. O’Brien laughs across their table tucked toward the back of Filter Cafe on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. A native of Cary, O’Brien first met Roan, a DJ, in 2007 when she was celebrating her birthday at Sonotheque (“The Internet flirting was strong,” recalls Roan, an Elmhurst native, of their subsequent Myspace correspondence). At their November 2013 wedding, Roan wore a tuxedo from Sebastien Grey—the same maker of his go-to black suit. “Even with the jacket, you feel polished when you have something that actually fits you nicely,” he says.
Though Roan finds himself doing more online shopping via ASOS and Gilt, he still loves supporting Wicker Park standby Penelope’s; meanwhile, O’Brien cites thrift stores, H&M, Topshop, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue as her sartorial stomping grounds. “I wore this bright orange jumpsuit out on Friday, and it’s got a big open back that’s cut deep, so I just threw a tank top underneath, and it wound up being amazing,” she says. “Then we came home, and we’re watching Orange is the New Black, and I was like, ‘All right!’ I totally looked like a disco princess.” “This one is a chameleon,” Roan says of O’Brien. “A risktaker. I love it.”
photography by bowen ross; The Storytellers: Tereasa and David were photographed at Camp Wandawega; Tastemakers: Alayna and D.C. were photographed at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse; AlAynA: clothing provided by AzeezA And jewelry by pomellAto; d.c.: suiting provided by bogA; hAir by giA At mAriAnne strokirk sAlon; mAkeup by troy At chAnel boutique; The Dapper Duo: Gary and Scott were photographed at Threewalls Gallery; The Connoisseurs: Thad and Emily Wong were photographed at The Legacy at Millennium Park; The Visionaries: Attila and Komal were photographed at Embeya; Gyulai: SuitinG provided by MorriS & SonS; patel: ClothinG provided by tel aviv Couture; hair and Makeup by daniel howell; The Cool Kids: Matt and Shannon were photographed at Dave's Records