By George Wayne
So there was your favorite incorrigible, ink-stained wretch totally at ease, exuding effortless chic from seat 3A (American) on a quick getaway weekend to what GW will now declare – Chicago: America’s Coolest City. The Windy City, is how most jetrosexuals, raconteurs have long referred to Chicago. It was my first visit, and after a quick, long weekend nesting at the chicly appointed Thompson Chicago located in the heart of Chicago’s Gold coast, GW is more than looking forward to a return visit.
For now, there is no doubt that taking up residence at the swanky let low-key
Thompson Chicago is requisite. The 247 room, all replete, with floor to ceiling sweeping views of Lake Michigan or in my instance, birds-eye view of chic shops high brow shops such as Barneys, Ermenegildo Zegna et al, which abound along the Windy City’s famous Magnificent Mile or ‘’Mag Mile’’ as the local yokels call it.
The Thompson Chicago, with its bold architectural features and exquisite design by the noted British interior designer Tara Bernard, is one of the gold-standard hotel properties of the Chicago visionary and emerging 21st Century hotelier Benjamin J. Weprin and his much talked about Adventurous Journey Capital Partners (AJCP) - a dynamic hospitality development group which also counts in its holdings the world famous Malliouhana in Anguilla, BWI.
Hotel Saint Barth Isle de France, yet another of the iconic holdings of AJCP has just in fact been sold to the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Group under the famed Bernard Arnault for some $100 million dollars and is destined to be the first hotel property of the five-star LVMH conglomerate. But Chicago is his home and with great reason, in fact, one at this point in time could easily insist on making the effort to imbibe Chicago yourself and why not this month of August for the already iconic Lollapalooza Music Festival at the latter days of this month. Or even too, mid - September, how about the 22nd of that month FLOTUS Obama where you could orchestrate a seminal rite of passage for your growing teenage gazelles Sasha and Malia. And have your daughters accompany you down the red carpet of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago – dressed to the nines in kitten heels and fine evening wear to celebrate, petite chignons to top the look at what will be certainly be the HOTTEST art opening galas in America this Autumn.
The artsy-fartsy crowd from all coasts will be gathering en masse for this one of a kind international exhibition of the extraordinary career of David Bowie in a groundbreaking retrospective at the MCA, paces away from the fabulous Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago - for DAVID BOWIE IS - as this must-see retrospective is being called. “MCA has built its history on a multi-disciplinary understanding of creativity in all its forms,” says James W. Darling, the Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, “and this wide-angle retrospective will revere the extraordinary career of David Bowie.” “The exhibition,” he continues, “will focus on his creative process and his collaborative work with artists and designers and how that has influenced wider movements in art, design, music and theater.” This is not to be missed people, and if for no other reason - this is reason enough to follow this astute arbiter and pencil a visit to Chicago in your calendar before January 4, 2015 when the David Bowie retrospective will end its only American museum run.
I know I may sound ridiculously provincial in saying this, but GW was truly awed at how chic and sophisticated and stylish that town really is. And did I tell you? The sexiest, most awesomely well-dressed men – yes men – that GW has seen in any necropolis in some time seem to live in this Illinois city.
And then of course there is all American Express titanium card shopping to do! And yes my shopaholics the place to start has to be 900 North Michigan Shops. The fashionable indoor mall on Mag Mile features all the usual upscale staples - Bloomingdales, Gucci, Michael Kors and even Lululemon. And if you can’t find your favorite shop there then stroll around the corner north or south and you are bound to find a Vuitton, a Prada or a Tom Ford boutique. And while you are it, marvel at the helmet hair ladies who lunch, dressed to the nines, at 1:00 pm on any glorious sun filled Chicago afternoon. Sights such as that are increasingly rare in Manhattan. When was the last time you saw a clutch of well-dressed women of a certain age strolling Madison Avenue? The ladies-who-lunch are alive and well and teetering all over the Mag Mile in their Manolos en route to a klatch at one of the thousands of divine and fabulous restaurants that dot this well noted and much acclaimed foodie city.
After a quick few days strolling the Mag Mile and of course, taking the most perfect selfie by the Chicago landmark public art of Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park, the nights were spent at fine dining spots like Kevin Boehm’s Girl & The Goat where even the sautéed green beans are the most delicious you will ever taste in your life! And this is the city where that famous Chicago chef Art Smith can make tofu taste like true friend chicken at his new food venture LYFE Kitchen on N, Clarke Street.
It’s all about healthy food choices for Oprah’s favorite chef these days and GW will now be the first to tell you that Art Smith in fact will open his next LYFE Kitchen in Hells Kitchen this September just in time for the fashionistas congregating for New York Fashion Week that same month will have a new boîte to flaunt their size triple zero J Crew fashions.
And I will be in touch.