I have a confession to make. I have never been inside Ikram. It completely and totally intimidates me. Perhaps not even the store so much, I have no issue walking into Hermes or Chanel and I can’t really afford anything in there either, but Ikram herself. For those of you who don’t know, she’s basically the Oprah of fashion. The woman who single handedly legitimizes any claim that Chicago can have on fashion, and like Oprah, Ikram is a kingmaker.
Ikram may have come to national attention when dressing Michelle Obama but she was at the forefront of the fashion word long before that.
“The influence of a chain like Barneys is obvious, but a handful of other boutiques — including Colette in Paris, Maxfield in Los Angeles, 10 Corso Como in Milan and, of course, Ikram in Chicago — can do as much to establish a market for an emerging luxury brand as any national department store. At the highest end of the fashion industry, they are the gatekeepers and anointers. “Even if an account is from Russia, I always tell them I’m carried at Ikram,” said Stephen Courter of Ohne Titel. “They’ll have more trust in the label.””
In some ways, Ikram is not like most of the women I usually think of when I think of my personal fashion icons. She doesn’t live to be photographed, or wear the outlandish clothing of Daphne Guinness. And yet, she’s arguably shaping the world’s fashion scene more than any of the it girls on the covers of magazines.
Ikram and her eponymous boutique don’t follow trends, they set them. But more then trends she has a high focus on quality and is known for being unfailingly rigorous in the standards for the clothing that she caries.
If you can afford to shop at Ikram, you’re bound to get clothing that will stand the test of time in both form and function. And you might even catch a glimpse of Ikram herself.
Just don’t expect to see me there. I’m still irrationally terrified of her.