After much hype, beauty brand Glossier pops up in the West Loop | Bleader

After much hype, beauty brand Glossier pops up in the West Loop 

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click to enlarge COURTESY GLOSSIER
  • Courtesy Glossier

New York-based beauty brand Glossier knows how to build buzz. In June it posted a photo to Instagram of a pink Bean in Millennium Park—utilizing the same shade as its popular brand color (Pantone 705 C)—and shared plans to come to Chicago this summer. The post generated nearly 135,000 likes—well over double what those bookending it commanded—as well as more than 4,000 comments, ranging from "OMG I’M STOKED I LIVE THERE ILY GUYS! Like I'm legit crying tears right now" to "Wait, Chicago is getting a Glossier store? Or just a pop-up? Either way, I’m dying. Covered in goosebumps."

Glossier responded to the comments with cryptic lines like, "We'll be sharing more details about our Chicago experience soon!" Those details have since been revealed.

A pop-up Glossier retail shop will open at 114 N. Aberdeen in the West Loop on Thursday, August 23, and remain through the end of October. Chicago was "awarded" the store because it ranks in Glossier's top five "engaged" cities. Curated by the beauty brand's in-house design team, the space is meant to draw inspiration from the city's architectural history and art scene.

"When we came to Chicago, we understood that art and architecture was something we wanted to celebrate and emphasize," says Kendall Latham, senior experiential designer at Glossier. The shop was built into an old firehouse, which Latham claims has been transformed into an "exaggerated, distorted architectural museum," and it features enormous tilted frames of products from the Glossier line.

Within the all-white, Instagram-friendly, monochromatic space, visitors are surrounded by a grid of museum pedestals that have been repurposed as product-testing areas. Crown molding and other ornate architectural details bend and wind throughout at different scales. Corinthian columns and billowing floral arrangements have also been placed around, some of which are tucked in corners and behind hidden doors for shoppers to discover. Ambient music and found sound also play important roles, as domes suspended from the shop's ceiling feature different, focused soundscapes. It's all meant to affect the mood of the shoppers as they browse.

Visitors will be able to shop the full Glossier product line while also learning about the brand through interactive installations. Throughout Glossier's stay in Chicago it will partner with local artists and businesses for events. Thus far the only one currently under way is with photographer Deun Ivory.

click to enlarge COURTESY GLOSSIER
  • Courtesy Glossier

Meant to represent the eclecticism and broad scope of Chicago, the series includes photographs of individuals that both Ivory and Glossier feel represent the Chicago community. Two featured Chicagoans are Clifton Lyons, a local designer who was featured on Glossier's editorial site Into the Gloss, and Juliet Cangelosi, a photographer and editor at Glossier Gteam (the brand’s term for customer service). Glossier community manager Kim Johnson says that in addition to being a retail location—and outside of just Ivory's contributions—the space is meant to highlight local artists and creative entrepreneurs.

Ivory herself is known for portrait photography—including self-portraits—and often displays work that blends the worlds of health, wellness, and art, while also focusing on highlighting women of color.

"The inspiration for this portrait series was about celebrating the beauty, style and nuance of some of Chicago's creative visionaries, including myself," says Ivory. "Each muse was comfortable in their own identity, which made each photo session so uniquely powerful. I'm very intentional about working with brands that are in alignment with my values and beliefs. To be a black artist whose work is curated in such a beautifully designed mainstream space is really amazing."

Glossier Chicago runs through Sunday, October 28, at 114 N. Aberdeen, glossier.com. Mon-Fri noon-8 PM, Sat–Sun 11 AM-7 PM

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