Chappell Confidential

Wed. March 12, 2014 12:00 AM
by Terrence Chappell

Quite honestly, I haven't updated my column since October of last year because I was bored. It almost seemed as if you've attended one event, opening, or benefit, you've been to them all. And with some events, that was the case. However, with the launch of the Saks Fifth Avenue men's store at its new location, as well as the W City Center's newly designed extreme EWOW Suite, Chicago has reminded me that it once again has its finger on the pulse of what's new and hip in fashion and luxury living. In particular, Equality Illinois presented Matrix director Lana Wachowski with the Equality Illinois Freedom Award and overall brought the marriage bill's passing full circle with a celebration. I'm happy to report that I'm no longer bored, but grateful to share some of this city's most innovative events with you!

Equality Illinois hosted its annual gala on February 8 at the iconic Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan. With the passage of the marriage bill in Illinois in November, this year's gala was truly a cause to celebrate. Presented by BMO Harris Bank and WIRTZ Beverage Illinois , this year's gala chair Jennifer N. Prizker welcomed attendees to an evening that not only toasted past victories, but looked forward to future ones. Wachowski came out as transgender in 2012. The "Matrix" director delivered a touching speech on the constant struggles of the transgender community and revealed to guests her personal journey.

"One check box, an M, granted me access to legal, social, and financial privilege while another box another letter, an F, denied me completely. This is perhaps a suggestion of the nature of our most ambiguous form of inequality. Consider for a moment why is it that every piece of identification from the very first to the very – from our birth certificate to our death certificate - begins with being measured from one box to another," said Wachowski.

Wachowski then urges guests to think "why are those boxes so important". "Why do we make gender so important," questions Wachowski. "Why do we make gender the fundamental prime entity," continued Wachowski.

Other special guests included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, State Representative Sara Feigenholtz, Cook County State Attorney Lisa Alvarez as well as other civic leaders and dignitaries. The evening concluded with a dance after party.

Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago's new men's store celebrated its opening with a private press party last month at 700 North Michigan Ave; right across the street from the older location. The new location features an open spaced, multi-leveled store complete with you guessed it, a stylish selection of high-end menswear brands, accessories, and outerwear. The Fifth Ave man can also expect to enjoy a made-to-measure experience with a private space to relax while he creates his perfect, custom suit. The store also features a restaurant, Sophie's, for guests to dine while shopping. General manager Doug Moss feels that the store speaks to men on a deeper lifestyle level beyond suits and jeans.

"The Fifth Avenue Man speaks to a lifestyle approach to shopping. We do not have vendor shops, rather you sense a flow between floors that provides the client with Saks' philosophy on menswear. We previously housed all accessories and shoes in their own location. We now approach the client from a wardrobing point of view. On the 6th floor, you now see a total approach from clothing, accessories and shoes which speaks to The Fifth Avenue Man's lifestyle. On 7, you are able to speak to a contemporary audience, presenting a total dressing approach for each segment of our clients," said Moss.

I've always been a fan of the W Hotel brand. I could offer an overly in-depth analysis about how the hotel's aesthetic reflects my lifestyle and scene, but to be perfectly honest, they're kick-ass hotels that's just fun to party at for any reason. I've encountered some of the most eccentric and fun people at the W Hotels. In particular, the W City Center, 172 West Adams just launched its newly designed extreme EWOW Suite. Staying true to the W's signature look and feel, the suite takes a playful approach to luxury lodging with a game room equipped with Pac Man and Space Invaders. Complemented with a half-circular bar in the living room for entertaining overnight guests or hell just yourself, the suite definitely brings its rockstar game. Expect to pay up to $1500 a night for a stay at the rockstar suite.