Structure, detail, elegance. These are the traits you can expect from every piece of clothing that furnishes the showroom at VMR, a new women’s apparel resale shop located at 34 East Oak Street.
VMR (Vintage, Modern, Resale), a joint venture from former attorney Tina Kourasis and stylist Mark Gill, is a true pleasure to browse. The space itself reminds me of a contemporary art gallery – bright white walls, edited pieces placed with intention, and like art, you are welcome to linger with a particular item for as long as it takes to fully appreciate it.
In fact, I arrived just as Mark and Tina were rhapsodizing about Valentino’s authoritatively cool creations under design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pietro Piccioli. From there we got onto the topic of flared-leg jeans, then tote bags, and in no time Tina was having me model a Douglas Hannant woven jacket with a dove-gray fur collar. “This one really comes to life when you put it on,” she said, as I turned to look at myself in the mirror. She was right. It took my outfit to a whole new level, and garnered oohs and aahs from spectators. This is the kind of enthusiasm that pulses through the place.
Mark and Tina are passionate about beautiful clothing and interested in what makes a collection or a piece distinct. They aren’t just selling clothes – they’re thinking about style. In most stores you buy a dress for your party and your specific need is met. At VMR, Mark and Tina will help you find pieces that articulate your individual style, and add depth and range to your closet.
For a photography enthusiast like myself, I couldn’t resist taking close-ups of the furs, radiant silks, laser cuts, and wafer sheers. Richness of texture is a consistent theme in the pieces they’ve collected. You’ll spot swoon-worthy resale items from top tier labels such as Alaia, Chanel, Valentino, McQueen, Narciso Rodriguez, Giambattista Valli, Missoni, and Celine. And, they carry a tight assortment of brand new, current-season offerings from Fendi. Depending on when you pop in, you may discover current-season selections from upcoming designers such as Lagi Nadeau, a talented local designer who integrates comfort with edgy shapes. A particular current-season treat is a capsule of Maria Pinto form-jersey pieces, all under $400, in a subdued color palette of grays. The Pinto pieces are remarkably versatile. An away-from-the-body dress has that exaggerated, boxy appeal; tailored it becomes the urban girl’s perfect desk-to-dinner sheath.
So, the next time you are considering a splurge for a special event I recommend adding VMR to your shopping list. You’ll enjoy the Mark and Tina experience, and nothing beats the sweet victory of scooping a designer gem for less. Prices vary but here’s a rough guide: tops are $50 to $500, pants are $100-$500, shoes are $300-$400, coats and jackets are about $300-$2000, and dresses are about $500-$2000.
Before you leave, stop to admire the oversized drawing on the wall of a shimmering tutu and golden crown. As a fashion blogger I like what it implies: the dress-up trunk full of sequins and furs and all kinds of whimsy should be a part of our adult lives too.
VMR is by appointment only (but don’t let that scare you – it just means you get one-on-one attention!)
Address: 34 E Oak St, 7th floor, Chicago, IL 60611