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Now Open: A Shrine For Those of Us With Collar-Stay Fetishes

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Our man about town Jared Hatch pays a visit to E. Oak Street haberdashery Shrine—and finds satanistic kabuki effigy heads, and more!

The resurgence of quality Oak Street is officially here. Want proof? Just venture upstairs to the second floor haberdasher’s den called Shrine. Located in the brownstone at 47 E Oak, its one of those “I feel special knowing that this secret treasure chest is here” kind of places. Being treated with great hospitable detail may be out of fashion lately but surely doesn’t feel like it here when we were greeted with a smile and an offered a cup of English tea or a Nespresso. (They also offer champagne, wine, or scotch if it’s not 11 a.m.). While our Volluto espresso brewed, an eloquent blonde woman brought out a heavy hanger from the closet for my coat. At that moment we knew we were in the company of gentlemen and great women.

The name Shrine, as Rafik, the super-fopp Algerian-Parisian proprietor describes, came from a sort-of epiphany he had on one of his trips to Osaka. A shrine as a place of theoretical convergence acts as a place for worship, or reflection. Throughout the weeks following that day he traveled from Osaka to Tokyo and these thoughts about the shrine began to relate to his childhood observations on style and accessories.

Sipping this yummo coffee (that arrived to me on an unpretentious silver tray), we were seamlessly transitioned from the inspiration for the shop to being shown a pair of cufflinks made by Glenn, a Japanese jewelry brand from Kai City. We were drawn to these because they look like satanistic kabuki effigy heads, but upon explanation we found that although they may look fun, the seriousness comes from the aesthetic of samurai and the craftsmanship of the 24 carat gold and burnished silver components of the head. Rafik goes on to tell us each of the teeth in the smile of the face is individual and has to be laid in place with expert care. No wonder those cufflinks are $$$ Buku Bonker Bucks.

Escorted through the store, we were amazed at the knowledge Rafik and his staff has about the products and processes and to explain the historical context of a brands. While waxing on topics of war and racecar driving Rafik weaves in the storybook tales of Persian rugs, and the Lagomarsino Argentine fedoras hanging on the wall. And then he said something so simple and almost prophetic that we stopped for a minute and locked eyes with the Francesco Maglia umbrellas.

“Its about the fabric. Fabric is what makes the clothes.”

It was that simple statement that brought the whole concept of the shop together. It’s about knowing about what you represent yourself with.

Shrine is still brand new as of November 26th, and is looking to build their collection to cover all areas of a haberdashery. Look forward to an array of enamel cufflinks from Mary McLaughlin, felt pocket squares from Yuka Hiroshi, Algerian smoking pipes, more pocket watches and bowties! Shrine has also found the original maker of, and will stock Eau de Cologne which was first made in 1709. In the coming year, the website will become shoppable and offer a forum or blog to ask advice about topics like the type of knot to tie with a 8mm tie or the correct way to lace your ‘vegetable-tanned’ leather shoes.

Stop by Shrine, pay Rafik and his crew a special visit and expect detail-oriented service- but don’t expect to see any chromium processed leather or half-assed craftsmanship. This is a shop for the serious ‘to the nines’ fashinisto with a collar stay fetish.
· [Official Site]
· Glenn [Official Site]

Shrine Haberdashery

47 East Oak Street, Chicago, IL 60611 Visit Website