The intersection of Walton and Rush Streets in Chicago has recently become one of the city’s hippest shopping pockets. In March, Diesel, the ultracool Italian denim and sportswear line, moved in at 923 North Rush, across from Urban Outfitters. And just off Rush at 46 East Walton is the new home of French design house Agnes B.
For both newcomers, the Chicago shops mark their first forays into the Midwest.
“We’re such an urban brand,” said Yves Seban, U.S. chief operating officer for Agnes B. “We do well in urban environments. Chicago is an extremely sophisticated city. [The move] was long overdue.”
The 2,600-square-foot store sells the same slim-cut, chic looks for women and men that are sold in 90 Agnes B. stores worldwide, as well as its cosmetic line, Agnes B. Beaute.
Like the clothes, the shop’s interior is spare, with gray concrete floors and mostly white fixtures. Black electrical tape affixes moody pictures of the collection to white walls.
Diesel went all out for Seventies mania in its store, complete with flagstone floors, “Big Eye” art and orange shelves on fake wood racks.
“We were doing a lot of business here,” said Don Henshall, chief executive of Diesel USA, referring to wholesale accounts in the area. “We thought we’d fit in well. Chicago people are not shy.”
Besides denim, shoppers can find full-length brown and blue plaid halter dresses, slim pants and lots of fun nylon travel bags in the 6,000-square-foot store. And, to take a refueling break, check out Diesel’s cafe on the second floor.