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There's a new kid in town, West Town in fact, to the fashion game. Vile & Valiant brings independent designers to Chicago who are not represented here, and many not represented in the US. Owner Mark Millar spent a lot of time in boutiques in London's east end, and wanted to bring that same passion and excitement to a store in Chicago, where he now lives. His smallish boutique also represents how much of a maverick he and V&V are: empty gold picture frames frame Ali Wall's tapestry skirts; feathered chandeliers hang above a long table with a wooden mermaid on it; blue mannequin heads decked out in baroque 17th century pompadours hold court at the back of the boutique. Millar was adamant about fusing art with with fashion, and making art out of fashion. And even Millar's choice of 'hood speak volumes about him-- he chose a weird stretch of Grand Avenue in West Town to set up shop. And in Vile & Valiant's window? old school Barbie dolls wear paper versions of store pieces.
Because the store items are unique, and you may not have seen anything else like them, Millar is very perspicacious in that he photographs a model wearing some of the intricate pieces in its many ways, and hangs it in front of the piece. Brilliant. Want to know which pieces we love and are living to own? Well, check out Ali Wall who fashions old tapestries into brilliant skirts and dresses. They have a very UK feel to them, and channel Vivienne Westwood. One of our faves was a golden brown colored pinstriped dress with a needlepoint tapestry down the center. Other pieces we love include the Monkee Genes jeans line which are unisex. Vile & Valiant is the only US store to carry them. We also love that the jeans are fair trade and organic, made without the use of pesticides.
We know that you're going to want to visit V&V immediately, but here are some things to remember: 1) DON'T GO TODAY. They're closed on Mondays. 2) take enough money--prices begin at $40 for tees and go to about $520 for tapestry dresses. 3) if you don't like dogs, maybe you should order your clothes over the phone. Daisy, the adorable pug and unofficial V&V mascot will greet you and help you shop.
· Vile & Valiant [Official Site]
· All Vile & Valiant coverage [Racked]