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Owen + Alchemy is already Logan Square's coolest hotspot—despite the fact that it's not yet open and you won't find a single craft gin and tonic on the menu—and Anne Owen is the green-minded genius behind it all. Her dream baby, a "modern juice apothecary," has been tantalizing Milwaukee Avenue pedestrians for weeks with mystical plantlife in the window and witchy black walls, not to mention bottle after colorful bottle of flavorful, nuanced, cold-pressed juice.
Owen, who favors sharp, all-black outfits and a bob to match, describes the process of opening Owen + Alchemy as "unreal" and an "emotional roller coaster," but says it's all worth it when she witnesses people interacting with her creation for the first time (that is, swooning over her coconut juices and nut milks). The store itself is so fashionable that it's not surprising Owen comes from a fashion-centric background herself. We sat down with this physician's-daughter-turned-publisher-turned-green-entrepreneur to try and crack her style code.
You've worked in fashionable places before—from Modern Luxury Brides to Cosmopolitan. What style tips did you pick up from your time in publishing?
When it comes to fashion, I think the most important thing is to wear what makes you feel comfortable. Don't be a slave to the trends, but instead pick the ones you like and rock 'em out.
Fashion, for me, has definitely changed since I went from a magazine publisher's shopping budget to a true entrepreneur's shopping budget. I've had to get more creative, but I've been enjoying the challenge. And since I don't have a boss these days, I can take more fashion risks, which can actually be more fun than relying on deep pockets.
Photo: Neil John Burger
How does your love of healthy eating and living reflect itself in your fashion?
Oh wow, it's funny that you ask. I was just having a conversation with a good friend of mine and we were discussing how as our knowledge grows about natural foods, so does our awareness of why we should be dressing in natural fabrics, using natural skincare products, and cleaning our house with natural cleaning products. It becomes a bit overwhelming and you can start to make yourself crazy. The most important behavior that I've developed is label-reading—I will not purchase anything these days without knowing what it's made of. If I don't know what an ingredient or material is, I'll look it up, so I'm constantly educating myself. In that way, natural, clean eating has made me a much more aware and conscious consumer.
What are the most stylish restaurants in Chicago?
I love the style-watching in Logan Square. Every time I leave Longman or Lula I'm inspired to either get a new tattoo, do something new to my hair, or drag myself shopping.
Photo: Maria Ponce
When you cook, what's your in-the-kitchen look?
I wish I could say something super chic and fab, but as most of my close friends will attest, I'm a sucker for anything cozy and comfy once I'm home.
Literally the first thing I do when I get home is change into one of my favorite pairs of sweats. Since my love affair with sweatpants has gotten pretty serious due to many late-night/early-morning work sessions, this year I invested in some killer Helmut Lang sweats which have actually allowed me to rock my fav home-garb outside of the house.
What Chicago restaurant dish most accurately represents your personality, and why?
I'm going to do a pairing: Owen + Alchemy Number 06 green juice with kale, coconut water, parsley, romaine, and ginger paired with the heirloom tomato salad with cucumber, red onion, basil, cashew cheese, and lemon vinaigrette. This is literally chef Jared Van Camp's version of my most ideal meal ever. It's all natural and healthy with a little bit of edge.
Ok, last up: What are your favorite Chicago stores?
Oh man, tough question. I could get lost in Merz Apothecary for hours. Morgan from Edith Hart is my girl, so she always finds something amaze for me when I pop in. I adore the dark, gothy vibe of Robin Richman, and they carry Rick Owens, a major plus. My favorite gift-buying spots are Sprout Home, Alapash, and the store at the MCA. And if I could live inside of Asrai Garden I would—I find that place magical.