French cool comes to the Gold Coast with the addition of Zadig & Voltaire, helmed by creative director Cecilia Bonstrom.
Cecilia Bonstrom was a model for fifteen years before joining the design team at Zadig & Voltaire.
“Our street-style chic attitude has a lot in common with the fashionable American lifestyle,” says Cecilia Bonstrom, creative director of Parisian import Zadig & Voltaire, which landed lakeside this fall. The former model became creative director of the brand in 2006; it was founded in 1997 by Thierry Gillier (whose father founded Lacoste)—and has been at the forefront of a casual-dressing revolution ever since.
“It’s more about style than fashion,” declares Bonstrom. Whether it’s a tee mixed with leather pants or a cashmere sweater paired with a men’s-cut blazer, Bonstrom and her team strive to achieve Gillier’s vision of dressing with a touch of androgyny, youth, and effortlessness. “It’s fashion made for a modern woman who wants to look cool without trying too hard, and is never overdressed.”
The new Gold Coast location—the brand’s first in the Midwest—on Oak Street.
The brand’s fall collection stays in that distinctive French vein and is described by Bonstrom in three key phrases: “Military, winter whites, and Bohemian rhapsody.” Among this winter’s stand-out pieces, she says, are “the military parka, the boiled cashmere hoodie, and the Camera bag—a new It bag for women on the go.” All fit in with the line’s “effortless look, built around a mix of easy-to-wear masculine and feminine rock-chic elements.”
The brand implements a philosophy of “new luxury,” which to Bonstrom simply means affordable luxury. In the ’90s, when Zadig started, in French fashion there were only high-end luxury labels or fast-fashion brands. “I was a model when I discovered Zadig & Voltaire, and I immediately saw the brand’s modernity thanks to the simplicity of the designs and the kind of self-service feeling of its boutiques,” she recalls. “The label’s original idea was to create luxurious pieces that were affordable, focusing on the style of each piece— basics with a twist. Gillier knew that if the piece was perfect, it would be coveted by women around the world”—including those here in Chicago.
Cecilia Bonstrom attracts fashion fans from musicians to movie stars.
Zadig & Voltaire, which operates almost 300 stores worldwide, found Oak Street the natural spot for its flagship in the Midwest. The Gold Coast space has a “French spirit that revolves around a play of materials and light,” says Bonstrom. “The use of elements such as poured-concrete tiling plays with our Parisian tradition, but it also keeps a clean Zadig & Voltaire rock spirit.” A major focus of the new store will be coats of course, and Bonstrom thinks outerwear should be simple. “My ideal coat should fit over a dress or jeans and a sweater, with chic heels or sneakers,” she asserts. “This season the coats are a bit longer to give them a more masculine, stronger attitude,” she continues. “It’s a true luxury because it’s a unique design, but still affordable.” 114 E. Oak St., 312-643-1240