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Round-Up: 2010's Best and Worst in Chi-town Razzle Dazzle

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Our man about town Jared Hatch sums up our top favorite Razzle Dazzle and not-so-Razzle-Dazzle moments in Chicago style, 2010.

1) The Best Window Display: We can always count on upscale RiNo boutique Blake to keep it classy and classic by sporting winter poinsettias in their always minimal window display. It looks good every year.

Honorable Mention: Alliance Bakery's outstanding edible model of the stretch of Division street between Ashland and Damen. Alliance's award winning talents stretch far beyond cakes and french macaroons into a miniature gingerbread world of skiing penguins and puking drunk guys made of frosting and fondant.

2) For the Showmanship Category: Columbia Sportswear opened on Michigan Ave earlier this year to some pretty great fanfare including a Lincoln Park High School marching band and a speech from Mayor Daley. Although that was pretty great, we're not nominating Columbia for the best of the best because of their ability to harness the power of the mayor but rather the mischievous smile that was flashed at us by the live 'snow angel' in their window a few weeks ago.

3) Filling in the 'finally a second location' category on the 2010 Razzle Dazzle list is the North/Clyborn Apple Store! Tourists crowding downtown sidewalks are a pain for the locals. And sometimes when you need emergency surgery on your iPhone you just don't have the stamina to battle the window gawkers on Michigan Ave. Two Hips and one Hooray for the new Apple Store at North/Clyborn CTA red line station. Honorable mention to the Apple Store Scottsdale for lending us their architectural blueprints.

4) In the Fauxhemians on the Up n' Up Category: Racked gives kudos to the Lipstick Dinosaur duo for their monster truck pop up shop inside Gavin in Evanston.

5) And in the Sacred Mother Category: With Oprah's OWN network launching this week we have to look back at Oprah's Ultimate Favorite Things episodes this year and reiterate to the world that the Queen of Talk kicked proverbial ass in a two-part spectacular by gifting diamond earrings, herb preservers, a boat-in-a-box, Hope in a Jar, German autos, and Lafco Candles that smell so good you could eat them. We love you Oprah and all the Oprah-Effected Chicago businesses you've touched with your magic wand. We were in Mertz Apothecary on Lincoln last week where they were showcasing your favorite Lafco Candle and the consensus of the clientele was that you were god and Los Angeles' financial woes need your magic wand more than the West Loop at this point in time. But do us a favor, por favor, come back and visit Nate B and Garretts Popcorn when you can.

6) The Chi-Town Razzle Dazzle Sale of the Century Award: goes to none other than the district's most profitable Borders Books and Music in the Gold Coast. After one extension of their lease, the store is finally closing and almost everything is on sale. When Borders' doors lock later on this week, the space will be transformed into a 50,000 sq ft menswear wonderland as we announce in our deepest tone of voice THE TOPSHOP COMETH. We can't think of a better outcome for the space- plus we bought a ton of Brazilian guidebooks and Portuguese translation guides at a major discount.

The Chi-Town Anti-Razzle in 2010:

1) Topping the Racked Anti-Razzle list: this year is Oprah venturing out on her OWN. We have our reservations about OWN just because most of the shows on the network probs will not be filmed here. You know how we feel and we don't want to cry about it anymore. At least is wasn't a bad break-up.

2) We're waiting for a Razzle-resurgence of Wicker Park's most cutting edge storefront: Gamma Player on Division had the most avant-garde selection of merchandise in Chicago. For shopkeeper Yoko Uozumi and sound artist Jeff Mills closing shop was one of the saddest events of the year and we will not forget the inspiration they instilled in the Wicker Park unconscious. Within the text of the last email sent to us by the amazing husband and wife team, they hinted at a spring-summer endeavour that would (to us) be like the second coming before the end. We cannot wait.

4) Drama Queen of the Year: goes to Block 37 for being trendy, beautiful, and always getting into relationship trouble.

3) The Ultimate Anti-Razzle goes to newcomer: Ted Baker, welcome to Chicago, thanks for coming, but lets keep in mind our favorite Al Gore quote indirectly referencing global warming: "The planet is in distress and all of the attention is on Paris Hilton."

Ted, you haven't been open for more than a month and we walk by your store at least once a day and see your door wide open letting all that hard earned warm air escape the store. Sorry to single you out, we know you're not the only one but please set a good example and keep the heat inside- you don't have to impress us by keeping your door open. Mmmh, and since you speak "British", we're encouraging you to read this article from the Guardian.

· Blake [Yelp]
· Columbia Sportwear [Official Site]
· Lipstick Dinosaur [Official Site]
· Gavin [Official Site]
· Mertz Apothecary [Official Site]
· Topshop will open on Michigan Avenue next spring [Racked]
· Gamma Player [Official Site]


212 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654