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the occasions lady and

spring fashion on the magnificent mile
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite cities with one of my daughters, Emma, during spring break. Although we both had business to tend to while there, shopping along the Magnificent Mile is always high on the list when we visit Chicago. Although less glamorous, eating Chicago-style deep dish pizza is also on that list.

I love being able to walk from store to store along the mile-long stretch of the city. It reminds me of time spent window shopping with my mom as a young girl. The difference, of course, is that the Magnificent Mile is sprawling with everything from gourmet popcorn shops to high-end fashion houses. Apple, Burberry, Crate & Barrel, Kate Spade, Gucci, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co. are just a sampling of the many retail establishments located on this famous stretch along Michigan Avenue.

On the north end of the strip, Water Tower Place and the 900 North Michigan Shops attract shoppers with stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. Located on the southern part of the Mag Mile, The Shops at North Bridge include Swarovski, Etienne Aigner and a four-story Nordstrom with a shoe department that occupies the entire first floor.

On this blustery March day, however, it was a mannequin in the front window of the Gucci store at 900 North Michigan Avenue that mesmerized me. It was a very bold and youthful ensemble, not something that I would attempt, but it had a very strange appeal in an Audrey Hepburn meets a young Queen Elizabeth sort of way.

Since April is our spring fashion issue, I asked Occasions’ Art Director Brittney Guest to provide an illustration of the eclectic Gucci outfit. A devoted fan of both fashion and most things British, she wasted no time putting her artistic skills to work. Here’s a brief description to go with the illustration:

The top: The Union Jack (or Union Flag) red, white and blue wool sweater is detailed with faux pearl-embellished ruched sleeves and a crystal rosette based on military medals. Gucci, $3,800.

The skirt: A spaniel dog applique set against a background of flames is embroidered on the front of this yellow and black, high-waisted tartan plaid skirt. Gucci, $3,700.

Gucci accessories: Water lilies print scarf, $465; cat-eye sunglasses, $345; understated patent leather high heel sandals in hibiscus red, $695.

The $9,005 outfit, introduced as part of Gucci’s 2017 spring/summer collection, is representative of the contemporary vision brought to life by Alessandro Michele, who was appointed as the brand’s new creative director in 2015. He describes the new collection as “an eclectic conversation between different inspirations, that at the end becomes a language.”

I think that’s what I liked most about the bold outfit in the window. The pieces represented different cultures and different eras, but when assembled, it was uniquely familiar.

If sporting a British flag sweater and tartan plaid skirt isn’t for you this spring, don’t worry. Local boutiques offer lots of other options in Occasions’ Spring and Summer Style Showcase this month, and none of those will set you back $9,000.