August 18, 2017
by molly each | August 22, 2011 | Style & Beauty
The showroom is clean and airy to let the fashion speak for itself
For 10 years, Ikram Goldman has been outfitting Chicago women in the industry’s top designers (many of whom were previously unavailable in Chicago) and earning an international reputation for her keen eye, client relationships and for putting our city on the style map. Now she’s taking the next step—no, leap— with her new store, a three-story design mecca (built by Aria Group and designed by Mario Aranda and Ikram’s husband, Josh) that features not only high-end clothing and accessories but a gallery, a café, a home-décor section and a play space for her two-and-a-half-year-old twins. “It’s about showcasing the things I love properly,” says Ikram. “ You can come get the things you love, grab a bite to eat, go see art, listen to great music and talk to great people. I love the idea behind it: a place you can actually go and spend the day.” While the original Ikram store is already ranked alongside such world-class boutiques as Maxfield, Colette and Jeffrey, the new store ventures into a territory rarely traversed by other shop owners. “There are so few stores in the world doing what we’re doing, and for us to be able to do this in Chicago? It’s a privilege,” says Ikram.
|Ikram has dubbed her new store with its bold red exterior “the big red box.”|
Read on for a breakdown of the new store—and find out why it’s poised to become not only Chicago’s design central, but also a new community hub.
The First Floor
The Showroom: Though the showroom has been expanded from 3,800 square feet to 16,000, don’t expect the number of designer dresses to follow suit. According to Ikram, the boutique began to outgrow its original space after just a year, and this new larger showroom will allow for a proper showcase of such collections as Thakoon, Rodarte, Prabal Gurung and Narciso Rodriguez. “For me, it’s not about adding more or beefing up what we already have. In our [original] store, you see things like Azzedine Alaïa packed into a rack. Now Azzedine Alaïa is going to breathe into a rack.” You’ll also find shoes from Givenchy and accessories such as Prova scarves (among many others).
But despite being more than four times the size of the original store, the new space manages to maintain the intimate feel of the original thanks to the use of reds, brass, gold leaf and other touches, such as a spectacular glass installation. “I never want it to feel like a big, giant store,” says Ikram. “I still want it to feel intimate, for people to be able to walk in and have the same feel they had at our [previous] store.”
The Second Floor
The Café: The 30-seat eatery is modeled after a French café, a place where you can grab a quick cappuccino or savor a delectable midday meal. “We want people to come and hang out,” says Ikram. “We want it to be a meeting place.” To deliver the fresh, farm-to-table cuisine that the Goldmans believe in, the couple has recruited chef Christopher Sullivan, a veteran of some of Chicago’s most notable restaurants. “He processes food in a really interesting way,” says Ikram. “Nothing goes to waste.” The focus is on quality versus quantity, so the café will offer a select menu of ultrafresh fare, including a daily soup, two sizes of salads, three sandwiches, three desserts, fresh-squeezed juices and a special of the day based on whatever Sullivan wants to work with.
|Ikram and Josh Goldman|
The Gallery: Curated by Ikram and Josh, the gallery space will showcase a collection of local, national and international artists. First up? Josh Goldman’s own photography, a retrospective from fashion shows around the world. Other upcoming exhibits will showcase American artists such as graphic designer Jason Pickleman, Jonathan Frank, Nick Cave, as well as international artists like Peter Farago and Ingela Klemetz-Farago, whose photos of Chanel past and present—taken from the couple’s book, Northern Women in Chanel—will adorn the walls. As for how long exhibits will be displayed, Ikram says, “One might be up for two weeks, one might be up for three months. It depends on the needs of the exhibit.”
The Home Décor: While you won’t find plush sofas or wall-to-wall rugs, Ikram’s home-décor collection will include an eclectic array of home
The Third Floor
The Family Hub: While style is what defines the Ikram empire, the third floor and the rooftop of the new store are devoted to the heart and soul of the whole operation: the Goldman family. “We’ve made this little place for the boys where they can play and hang out. After preschool, they can come to the store and be with their mom and dad,” says Ikram. The rooftop will also be turned into a garden, where the Goldmans will grow fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs for their own kitchen and the café.
|Ikram offers an expansive selection of jewelry|
The Dynamic Duo: It may be her name on the front of the shop, but the 10-year success of the boutique is due just as much to Josh Goldman as it is to Ikram. “People see him as the business end, and he is, but I look to him for every single decision I make,” Ikram says. “I’m always bouncing ideas off him.” The couple is a familiar fixture at runway shows, sitting side by side as they check out the latest collections, and Josh’s input is essential to Ikram’s curation of the boutique. She notes that when he speaks up about a piece, it will end up in the store and always, always sell. Ten years after the launch of Ikram, and between raising their children, nurturing a business and traveling incessantly, the Goldmans still maintain a successful collaboration in both business and marriage.
“At the end of the day, we’re both smiling,” Ikram says. “I feel he’s the closest in my heart and I am in his heart, and I think that’s why it ends up working so well.” 15 E. Huron St.; ikram.com