The New Social Order

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Thompson Hotels Chicago Influencers X Helen Berkun


Summer in Chicago is social butterfly season – just ask Helen Berkun. The fashion photographer, stylist and blogger spends sunny days shooting and styling the city’s most fashionable residents and celebrities around the globe and evenings taking on the city’s social scene; her off-days are often spent shopping, of course! Through extensive research (it’s a stylist’s duty!), Helen has discovered the best boutiques in the Windy City that will help any fashionista take on the city, one shopping bag at a time.

We asked Helen a nearly impossible question: What is her favorite store? “In all honesty, I love to shop and I will do it anywhere. Depending on what I am shopping for…” So, we made things a little easier and asked her to categorize her favorite retailers:

Ikram, Blake, Gallery Aesthete and Akira: the best local gems!

Luxury Garage Sale: For vintage finds.

Zara: When I’m looking for basics.

Chanel and Hermes: For signature pieces that I will hand down to my little girl!

Lulu’s at the Belle Kay: For one-of-a-kind baubles.

“Every summer in Chicago is the ‘BEST’ summer,” Berkun says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and nothing is as incredible as Chicago in the summer.” For those looking to take advantage of Helen’s favorite season, here are a few of her summer suggestions:

HB: Visit Montrose Beach, it’s a gem! Although most locals will tell you North Avenue or Oak Street, I disagree. Those beaches are great, but I love Montrose because of its large grounds. You get a little bit of everything there: a little city, street art, and a gorgeous park! I also love the harbor and the walks on the pier there.

TC: If you were treating a girlfriend from out of town to the perfect Chicago day, what does that include?

HB: Brunch at Bistrot Zinc and shopping at Luxury Garage Sale. Marvel the gorgeous collections at Ikram and grab a coffee and dessert at the upstairs restaurant. Head on over to Lincoln Park and chill in the grass. You are also so close to the beach, and I love the beach! Finish off the night at Nico Osteria for cocktails and dinner.