I got back from my summer holiday just over two weeks ago. It was a mixture of full on sightseeing in Chicago, followed by three of the genuinely most relaxing days of my life. These were spent on Cape Cod, and then three more days in Boston. My friend and I had both been harbouring a desire to visit one of America’s largest cities for some time, and I am so glad we did.
We stayed in a hotel overlooking Millennium park, home to ‘The Bean’ (formally known as Cloud Gate). The park is in the east of the city and is right next to the shores of Lake Michigan. This was an excellent base point as it was right near to the loop train. This made it easy to access any area of the city that we wanted to visit. We did a lot of walking on our first day, which included The 606 – a 2.7 mile trail designed for walkers and cyclists alike. It is elevated from traffic and gives a lovely view out across the neighbourhood. It is similar to the Highline in New York, which I wrote about here.
Chicago From Above
We rounded off the day with a trip up the 108 storey building Willis Tower. The viewing area which is open to the public is on the 103rd floor, but a super quick lift means you get there in no time at all. It is the second tallest building in the USA, and offers incredible views across the city. The landscape is so flat and you can see for miles and miles. We went just before sunset. It was great to see the city lighting up as the sun went down, and ti was the perfect end to the day.
The view from Willis Tower
One area that I would recommend to anybody to visit whilst in Chicago is Andersonville. This district in the north of the city (nearest Metro stop is Berwyn) is an old Swedish settlement. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and drink. We had lunch at Hopleaf, a bar with a Belgian inspired menu and plenty of beers on offer. There was a delightful stationery store and framers called Four Sided where we both bought ourselves some souvenirs.
We spent the next couple of days wandering the Old Town, watching fireworks at Navy Pier (Wednesday’s and Saturday’s in summer) and eating lots of food. The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra played in Millennium Park one clear warm evening, which was a lovely unexpected treat.
Jazz in Millennium Park
The highlight of Chicago for me was the architecture boat cruise which is run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. A docent volunteer leads the tour and our guide was incredibly knowledgable. We opted for a twilight cruise so by the time the hour and a half was up, it was dark and the tall buildings lit up the sky. The particular tour is listed in the top 10 on TripAdvisor in the whole of the USA!
More Places to Dine..
No visit to Chicago is apparently complete without sampling a deep dish pizza. Lou Malnati’s was our pizzeria of choice and it didn’t disappoint. A simple margarita with a pepperoni topping was delicious and I wish we’d had time for more!
Other food highlights included a waffle breakfast at Eleven City Diner on Wabash Avenue and the liquid chocolate drink at Goddess and the Baker which has three locations across the city, including Wabash Ave.
Goddess and the Baker cake and biscuits. My friend bought the birthday one despite her birthday being in March.Apparently it was tasty!
Eleven City Diner.
Thank you Chicago (and my friend), for a wonderful 4 days in ‘the windy city’.
As I wrote in my last blog post, I love collaborating with companies on products that I wouldn’t normally manufacture myself. I was excited to hear from a contact at Comme Des Garcons late last year,with regards to a potential collaboration. Comme Des Garcons is a Japanese fashion label based in Tokyo and Paris. The company was founded by Rei Kawakubo in 1969. The Costume Institute’s Spring 2017 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York is dedicated to her. It features around 140 examples of her work from the early 1980’s to the most recent collections. The exhibition runs until September 4th 2017.
I created two pieces of artwork under the direction of Junya Watanabe. The finished garments are included in the Homme A/W 2017 collection and are on the theme of ‘happy army’.
The company had seen one of my repeat patterns featuring colourful cars, and wanted me to emulate that look for the designs to be used on their garments.
My initial sketches (some seen below), were done in pencil and ink, and mocked up in to repeat.
I went on to redraw my sketches and colour the artwork in a similar way to my car design. The end result is two statement prints that have been applied to high quality shirts for men.
I really enjoyed creating the art for this brief. Designing repeat patterns is what I love to do most. Working with such an iconic fashion brand is certainly one of my career highlights to date, and I look forward to working on more exciting and varied briefs in the future. If you’re an art director and are interested in finding out more about my designs, then head to my design portfolio page and fill in the contact form.