The creative force behind Macy’s beloved holiday décor, Paul Anthony shares the Chicago places he finds most inspiring.
Paul Anthony stands at the gates of Macy’s Santaland, where he unveils his redesign November 8.
Paul Anthony’s destiny is written in the twinkling lights of Macy’s (111 N. State St., 312-781-4483): Growing up, the South Side native relished the seasonal pilgrimage to The Loop to visit the iconic holiday windows and Great Tree, and he’s spent the past two decades moving up the ranks in the department store’s visual merchandising department. Now manager of special productions at Macy’s, Anthony is eager for the November 8 unveiling of his redesign for this year’s Santaland, nestled in the fifth floor children’s department. “I went back to being a kid,” chuckles Anthony of the inspiration behind the whimsical tableau he’s created for little ones waiting to visit Kris Kringle. Here, he shares the stylish inspirations he’s excited to visit this season.
Paul Anthony enjoys the hunt for antique and vintage home goods at Randolph Street Market.
“I love antiques, and at Randolph Street Market (1350 W. Randolph St., 312-666-1200), I got a birdcage that’s shaped like the Taj Mahal; during the holidays, I put candles in it and let the shadows cast on the wall. I’ve also found a great vintage luggage set at the Randolph market, and it still has old paper luggage tags from O’Hare airport. At Broadway Antique Market (6130 N. Broadway St., 773-743-5444), I usually find great stuff, from jewelry to little gift items. The thing is, it’s about the hunt and the find—you never know what somebody’s going to have, and then when you see something, you go, ‘Oh, that would be great for somebody as a gift.’ I tend to shop ahead—I know that sounds awful—but I think of everybody as I’m shopping. I got a great vintage Chanel brooch at Broadway Antique Market and actually wore it for a little while, and then I gave it away as a gift. I loved it, and then I thought somebody else would love it even more.
The Art Institute of Chicago, whose Modern Wing was designed by Renzo Piano.
“The city is so full of great architecture, but my thing is going to the Art Institute (111 S. Michigan Ave., 312-443-3600). I love to walk around and look at the masters, and see whatever new exhibit’s there—even if it’s [for] an hour. The last two times I’ve just hit the Modern Wing, which is beautiful.
“I used to live in Lincoln Square. It’s so cute because the Chicago Brauhaus (4732 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-784-4444) is right there, so there’s German food, a great Italian restaurant [nearby], and a good Greek restaurant, all within four storefronts. A place that is amazing, right between Lawrence and Leland, is Merz Apothecary (4716 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-989-0900)—I love it for little gifts, and bath and body items. They have so many European bath and shower gels that are hard to find, so I just go in and start smelling everything and try new scents. Lavender’s one of my favorites—it’s a great scent during the holidays to relax—and they even have a great line of their own that I love.
“The Book Cellar (4736–38 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-293-2665) is a small bookstore-café with wine, and they have readings there. I often go walking after work, or during a crazy day just to clear my head, and I’ll end up there, perhaps order a glass of wine. I may not stay for the reading, but it’s just nice to have an easy place to go enjoy a glass of wine.”