Last night I went to the grand opening of the newest cheaply chic retail outlet to hit the streets of Chicago, San-Antonio based chain A'Gaci. As the first of two Chicago store openings set a week apart, the party was held in the ground level retail space of the Palmer House hotel. The clothing selection was on-point trendy, but resembled the same aesthetic of disposable fashion one would see in Forever 21, or how H&M used to be. The apparel could have been, for the most part, found just about anywhere with its tired array of 80s bustiers, multi-tiered skirts, fringed scarves, and fake bomber jackets. However, upon stepping foot onto the second floor's shoe salon I could see that there may be some saving grace in this addition to an already too-crowded league of budget-friendly retailers: their shoes! As the most crowded section of the store, I had to nudge myself into the nook displaying shelves upon shelves of seasonally-friendly styles (not cluttered with picked-over summer sandals at 90 percent off like everywhere else these days). There were colorful suede peep toes and black cage stilettos and I even heard some girl say that one pair of of heels looked exactly like a style out YSL's latest lookbook.
I had my own eye on a pair of dark turquoise (imitation) leather booties and luckily found a helper right away in the crammed space. When I got my shoes I began to try them on and noticed the woman sitting next to me on the banquette was trying on the exact same pair. She looked familiar but I couldn't place it right away. It wasn't until I had the shoes on, surveying myself in the nearby mirror and she started to gush about how much she liked them did I see that it was Annalynne McCord, star of the new 90210 series and the evening's celebrity guest! She was clad all in A'Gaci pieces I had seen on the floor and, I have to admit, made them all look damn good. We chatted for a minute about what to wear the booties with and how versatile they could be and she seemed genuinely excited to walk away with them, as though they were a luxury purchase and not just a $32 pair of shoes. We agreed to both get them (though I'm doubting she actually had to pay!) and I asked her for a photo because I couldn't shake how cool it was that this down-to-earth girl was glamorous and a celebrity, but also a regular shopper like me and weighed the same options as I did when deciding to make a purchase, may it be $32 or $1,000. The experience definitely made up for the other disappointing aspects of the store and I can honestly say I will have to go back into A'Gaci from time to time and check out the selection of that little shoe salon that now has a place in my heart!
Photo Source: Second City Style