Tuesday, October 27, 2009


If arrows are Cupid's "love bullets" then oysters are surely Aphrodite's. On Friday, October 23, love was definitely wafting in the air as hundreds of guests, dressed warmly in chic fur coats and designer leather jackets, pressed intimately together to indulge in their gastronomic passion for meaty molluscs (french derivative from the latin word, molluscus; it means "oysters", duh!) at Shaw's ever-popular 21st Annual "Royster with the Oyster" tent party.

The fab fete, which marked the last of Oysterfest’s five-day lineup of amorous-inducing, oyster-inspired activities and showcased oyster-slurping contests, beer tastings, the “Oyster Hall of Fame” Dinner and also featured live musical performances by some of Chicago’s most notable names including Melvin Taylor, Linsey Alexander and The Tom Holland Band.

Tent party guests grazed on fresh half-shell oysters, Cajun popcorn shrimp, spicy Jambalaya, and New England Lobster Roll sandwiches, enjoyed a selection of Goose Island beers and were treated to a live performance by the well-known blues guitarist and band leader, Dave Specter.

For more information about Shaw’s “Royster with the Oyster” event and 2009 tent party photos, please visit: http://www.shawscrabhouse.com/events/royster.shtml

Written & photographed by Kerry Shorr

Monday, October 26, 2009


Chic outerwear at Hugo Boss

Nothing like a cold and bleary night in Chicago to bring out true fashion grit. At a recent cocktail party at Hugo Boss, Vogue Magazine’s contributing editor, Kathryn Neale Shaffer (who personified simple elegance in a black knit jersey Hugo Boss dress), mingled with chic fashionistas and performed fashion makeovers throughout the evening.

Julie Liu, a local jewelry designer and owner of Tzen Boutique, needed a formal dress that would pair easily with her exquisite necklaces. Kathryn Neale Shaffer opted for subtle sophistication with a black silk “Dilia” dress ($650).

“Julie is an artist and this beautiful sheath is the perfect backdrop for her dazzling jewelry,” said the New Zealand-born Shaffer.

Tzen Boutique's Julie Liu

Head-to-toe Hugo

Fun fur


Josephine Albanese, Alexs Botelho & Kimberly Anderson

Mini fruit pies by The Entertaining Company

More tasty treats from The Entertaining Company

DJ Michael Smith

Gorgeous guests

Hugo Boss' Daniel Spratt & Tyler Curtis

While leisurely shopping the night away, guests enjoyed download-worthy music by LA's DJ Michael Smith, sipped free-flowing champagne and nibbled cracker-sized bites of smoked salmon with caviar, smoked chicken on Asian pears, and homemade mini strawberry and apple pies (catered by The Entertaining Company).

Luxe File Chicago sat down with Kathryn Neale Shaffer and found out her favorite things, from Lady Gaga to the sexy black dress.

Five Minutes with Vogue’s Kathryn Neale Shaffer

Kathryn Neale Shaffer in Hugo Boss

Luxe File Chicago: First of all, who are you wearing?
Kathryn Neal Shaffer: Hugo Boss, of course.

LFC: Where are some of your favorite places to shop?
KNS: I love shopping at flea markets or any places that sell vintage clothing.

LFC: Who is your favorite designer?
KNS: (Smiling) I work for so many designers and style so many shows that I wouldn’t want to pin myself down to just one!

LFC: What celebrity would you love to dress?
KNS: Lady Gaga! She is quite the creative force and so much fun.

LFC: What are some favorite clothes in your closet?
KNS: I love my Calvin Klein dresses and shoes. Furs I never wear. A pair of fabulous Helmut Lang vintage pants.

LFC: What should every woman have in her wardrobe?
KNS: A great coat and a sexy black dress.

LFC: Favorite quote?
KNS: Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.

LFC: Where were you born?
KNS: New Zealand.

LFC: Where do you currently live?
KNS: New York.

LFC: As far as fashion goes, how does Chicago rate up?
KNS: Everyone here is so elegant and well-dressed.

LFC: If there is one thing you could change about fashion what would it be?
KNS: How models are perceived, especially when it comes to weight.
Vogue is trying to change that.

Story by Sally Shorr
Photography by Kerry Shorr

Monday, October 12, 2009

Luxe File Chicago Hits Lucky Mag's Style Spotter Party and Jennifer Wirth's Birthday Bash!

Josephine Albanese and Sally Shorr at Lucky Magazine's "Style Spotter" Party

It’s universally believed that all work and no play makes a girl really dull (and we’re not referring to our complexion) so Luxe File’s Kerry and Sally Shorr decided to paint the town and do both!

Nestled along Bucktown’s famed boutique-riddled Damen Avenue, Marc by Marc Jacobs’ fashionistas paradise was the place to be on Wednesday, October 7. Fashionphiles flocked to the store for their chance to get spotted at Lucky Magazine’s uber-cool “Style Spotter Party” and to have their photos snapped by a professional photographer and showcased in LuckyStyleSpotter.com.

Guests enjoyed mac & cheese scones, smoked chicken empanadas and nibbled on mini-cheeseburgers made of brownie patties, shortcake buns, PomJuice ketchup, white chocolate mayo and shortcake french fries for dessert (event was catered by The Entertaining Company).

Shopping felt like dress-up and we wanted to snap up a little bit of everything from Jacobs' colorful collection – from vintage-y cocktail dresses (we fell in love with the ultra-femme Stretch Wool Dress; $398) and 1940’s-by-way-of-the-1980s’-inspired coats and jackets to perfect-for-layering neon-colored shirts and deliciously soft sweaters.

Our new wardrobe went from mundane to marvelous in a Chicago second!


Hailing a cab, we sped across town to attend our dear friend and defense attorney Jennifer Wirth’s surprise birthday party at the River North hotspot, Martini Park. The party, organized by Jennifer’s boyfriend and attorney, Art Murphy, didn’t kick off until the couple breezed in almost an hour late. No one seemed to mind and everyone was buzzing about whether or not Jen had already figured out the surprise considering her gossipy group of Facebook and Twitter-happy friends. Sweet notes included birthday cupcakes and decadent donut fondue and the evening’s highlight was a rowdy karaoke rendition of Janice Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” performed by the birthday girl.

Party guests included: Josephine Albanese, Kim Anderson, Wendy Battaglia, Christine Bohuczky, Marybeth Brandabur, Justin Breitfelder, Lara Brislin, Ken Dorado, Travis Eacona, Shane Eisenhauer, Jackie Freitag, Keith Gestaut, Sally Gestaut, Michelle Habiak, Cassandra Hall, Annee Hood, Peter Merkel, Arthur Murphy, Susan Schendel, Raul Rossett, Kerry and Sally Shorr, Alexis Widlak, Natalie Widlak, and Kathy Cardwell Zoglauer.

Jennifer Wirth shares a dance with Art Murphy

Christine Bohuczky, Sally Shorr, Jennifer Wirth, Kerry Shorr and Josephine Albanese

Lara Brislin, Sally Gestaut and Kathy Cardwell Zoglauer

Story by Kerry & Sally Shorr
Photography by Kerry Shorr

Friday, October 9, 2009

Amanda Brooks Book Launch at Chanel

Dripping in designer duds and clutching signed copies of the season’s hottest self-help tome to personal style, Chicago’s fashion elite crammed into Chanel on Wednesday, September 30 to meet the literary world's newest It girl, Amanda Brooks.

Amanda Brooks, a Vogue fashion contributor and Tuleh muse and former creative director, was in town touting her fashion insider secrets in her book, "I ♥ Your Style" at Chanel, who hosted the book launch at its Michigan Avenue boutique. Holding court in head-to-toe Chanel Cruise 2010, the beautiful blonde mingled with over 150 well-heeled (and well-wishing) fashionistas, including Luxe File’s Kerry and Sally Shorr, who sipped champagne and mojitos, and nibbled on diet-sized hors d'oeuvres and chocolate truffles.

Friend and fellow muse, Diane von Furstenberg, penned the book’s Forward. “Fashion is a mysterious thing to express,” writes the venerable von Furstenberg. “Style is something each of us already has – all we need to do is find it.”

Thanks to Amanda’s shopping spree-inspiring book, I think we just did.

Story by Sally Shorr
Photography by Kerry Shorr

Monday, October 5, 2009


On Wednesday, September 30, Vogue magazine contributor, fashion consultant and author, Amanda Brooks, was in Chicago for a book-signing party, hosted by Chanel at its Michigan Avenue boutique.

Luxe File sat down with the fashion femme to discuss an assortment of subjects ranging from her new book and next steps to stalking Patrick Demarchelier and her obsession with American Apparel unitards.

LF: What inspired you to write this book?

AB: I wanted to encourage women to find their own sense of personal style. While we are all inspired by magazines, designers, celebrities and stylists, it’s important to have the tools you need to become the person you want to show to the world each day.

LF: A woman can be the epitome of style but how does she stay inwardly inspired?

AB: I think it’s trial and error. Just have the willingness to try something new, even if you regret it. I once wore a dress that I felt, from the moment I left the house, was a huge mistake. But then I had people commenting on it all night and I was like, “Are you insane? You really like this dress?” So it’s just a willingness to try different styles, to dress out of your comfort zone and not worry so much about what other people think.

LF: When it comes to style, do you agree with a "less is more" approach?

AB: I think you just have to feel like yourself in your clothes in order to carry things off. There are people who are suited for much simpler looks while others are suited for more ornate ones. Diana Vreeland was an amazing style icon and she was highly ornate. So I think it depends more on the individual and what suits them the best.

LF: Our fashion “foundation” begins early in life and can be affected by those close to us. Who influenced your style?

AB: My mother. The dedication page of my book is all pictures of her. Different parts of my mother’s life inspire me at different times. For instance, when I want to dress casually, I’m always thinking about my mom in the 1970's. She lived in Palm Beach and would always wear little striped t-shirts with worn-in, bell-bottom jeans, a little Gucci ostrich purse and huge oversized sunglasses. It was an amazing combination of Palm Beach classic sportswear and a groovy 1970's feel. I very much relate to that in myself.

Then in the 1980's, my mom moved to New York and she really got into experimenting. She wore a lot of Azzedine Alaia and I definitely channel that look when I go out at night and want to be dressed up.

LF: Who are some of your style icons?

AB: (Flipping through her book) Jane Berkin is a huge style icon for me. And Bridget Bardot. There are so many photos of Bridget Bardot that you see and you think you’ve seen every photo of Bardot but I hope, as you go through the book, you will see photos you’ve never seen before that are amazing. Kate Moss, obviously. The thing I love most about Kate Moss is she looks different every single day. She doesn’t really stick to one style but she always looks like herself.

LF: Women today are bombarded with images of what society deems attractive. How can we overcome superficial beauty metaphors so that we may find our own personal style?

AB: Diane von Furstenberg always says, “Personal style is accepting who you are.” For her, it was about embracing her curly hair. She grew up in Belgium where her hair was brown and curly and everyone else’s was blonde and straight. She really struggled with it her whole life. Even as recently as the 1990's, she was still straightening her hair. Now, her hair is wild and curly. She says it took all these years to accept her hair and she dresses much more authentically to herself now and is much more comfortable in her own body. She looks the best she’s ever looked and it’s because she just embraces what she was born with and who she is. I think every woman can relate to that.

LF: Who are you wearing right now?

AB: I’m wearing Chanel. The dress is from the Resort Collection a couple seasons ago and the necklace is from the current Cruise Collection. I’m also wearing Chanel shoes.

LF: In Chicago, where is your favorite place to shop?

AB: (Laughing) Well, yesterday was my first day in Chicago! I was here for one day when I was 18 years old for a party. So, what did I do yesterday? I arrived to Chicago, went to the Museum of Contemporary Art and had a salad in the café there. Then I walked up North Rush Street and I went to Ikram, Barneys, and American Apparel. I LOVE American Apparel! I exercise in their unitards and sleep in their Henley shirts.

LF: Who are some of your favorite designers today?

AB: Consistently, one of my favorite designers is Chanel. It has that great mix of very classic clothes, for all ages and sizes. There’s also a use of materials that are not precious like when they put plastic on their suits. That makes things more interesting. For me, my look is often very “classic”. I don’t want to look like a clichĂ© so I like to add a little bit of irony. I feel Chanel does that so well.

LF: You have built a very close relationship with one of fashion’s most intriguing designers, Diane von Furstenberg. How long have you been friends?

AB: I met Diane when I was 18. I was dating her son, Alex. I’m 35 now. I also work for her as a consultant. She really is a remarkable woman. She designed her life with no blueprint. She took all of her conditioning and what the world deemed "appropriate” and just got rid of all that. She lives her life in a way that works for her.

LF: Is there anything a woman must have in her closet?

AB: I think every woman's closet should contain a “10 Greatest Hits”. Those are the pieces that you’ve had over the years that just work for you - a blouse, a jacket, a pair of jeans, a cardigan. Whatever items they are, you should know and be able to identify them because they are the foundation of your wardrobe.

LF: Is there anything a woman should ban from her closet?

AB: The only fashion “don’t” I can offer is you should never wear anything you do not feel like yourself in or be proud of when you walk out the door.

LF: Favorite words of wisdom?

AB: “Insist on yourself, never imitate” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's in my book. It means knowing who you are and always being yourself.

LF: You have had an illustrious career in fashion – a coveted internship with photographer Patrick Demarchelier, creative director for Tuleh, contributing writer for Vogue magazine, author, muse and style icon. What advice would you give to a young person who would like to follow in your footsteps?

AB: I would say, “Follow your bliss”. Go where the path takes you but take responsibility for your life, too. I think the worst thing you can do is to not try things because you don’t know what you want to do. I got the internship with Patrick Demarchelier because I saw him in a restaurant. I went up and introduced myself to him and he invited me to come to his studio the next day to watch a shoot. There was a blizzard and the shoot was cancelled. His manager later offered me an internship. I wouldn’t say it was because of luck because I took the initiative. Before I worked with Patrick, I was planning to be a waitress in Burlington, VT for the summer. If I hadn’t gone up to him that night and introduced myself, who knows where I’d be right now!

LF: What is next on your agenda? Are you going to relax a little bit or write another book?

AB: (Laughing) No, I’m definitely not going to relax! I run a company and I’m really busy with that. I’ll start to think about another book after this one winds down. “I ♥ Your Style” definitely lends itself to other subjects – Beauty, Wedding, Home – so we’ll see.

LF: LUXE FILE is dedicated to “the love of living luxuriously". Please finish this sentence: "When it comes to living luxuriously, always..."

AB: Make sure you’re enjoying it. And always do it with a smile.

Story by Kerry Shorr