Word on the Chicago street told me that there’s a store filled with leopard print, purple velvet and combat boots that blasts sonic indie rock like Crystal Castles and Foals… and it’s from the UK. Dear God—someone either get me to this store STAT or buy me a pacemaker.
The same infamous weekend that I spent learning the transit system of Chicago ended up being the opening weekend of Top Shop, a retailer that only pops up in major cities and features styles such as underground glam.
It was quite easy to find the place. The practically all-glass storefront commands its own corner on North Michigan Avenue. Colossal prints of Kate Moss look-alike models cover the sides of the building. The models look fierce and gigantic—looking up at one of them makes me feel like I’m looking up at a T-rex in leather platforms.
Inside makes me feel like I’m at a David Bowie concert in Soho, circa the late 70s. I’m handed an official Top Shop pink and black water bottle, because I guess they’re used to their customers breaking a sweat walking from room to room each filled with a different theme of clothing. I walked into one section that I’m going to dub the well, dub-step (no pun intended, or was it?) room. Neon spandex and florescent yellows and greens nearly singed my eyes when I tried to look at a couple pairs of tights and sneaker combos. But every outfit screamed rave scene—perfect for the Electric Daisy festival in Vegas, baby.
Another part was a shout-out to the 90s grunge scene—Hello Courtney Love before she went postal in the early 2000s. There was an area draped in long lace skirts, with leather jackets in colors you would only see in an Italian vineyard—olive greens and mauves.
The store also held an Alice in Wonderland, back-to-childhood appeal. The store’s name was displayed in various places in lit-up box letters that resembled a toddler’s alphabet playing cubes. The vibrant clothes were hung from metal rods juxtaposed from one another at different positions on the wall.
Top Shop encompasses edgy and quirky ensembles for a girl who wants to look tough, but is really just a kid at heart. My college-girl funds meant I could only afford a black and gold necklace, but I’ll be back soon for my Courtney Love garb.
By Sidney Cherie Hilley