‘‘Tis the season of giving" as the saying goes...while it's easy to get caught up in the materialistic aspects of the holiday, how many unwanted or pointless gifts do we receive that end up cluttering our home (and then eventually landfills)? Let's avoid bad (and wasteful) gift giving this season by shopping smarter and choosing more meaningful and thoughtful presents. Where to start? Here are some ideas that are rewarding to both the giver and receiver.


Experiences are a good alternative and can be more special in many ways. The trill of a new bag or phone fades while the enjoyment of an adventure lasts. A study from San Francisco State University in 2016 found that experiences more than material things make people happier. Don't feel they have to be extravagant like a luxury trip it's more about creating memories.

See the spectacular Chicago skyline all dressed up for the holidays the same way Santa does with Chicago Helicopter Experience.  Take the Holiday Lights Tours to see stunning views of iconic sites like Lincoln Park Zoo Lights, the John Hancock Center, Michigan Avenue, Willis Tower and Millennium Park. Prices are $149 instead of $179 per person for the month of Dec only.

Other options include iFly, trampoline park, skydiving, sailing, hot air balloon, and zip lining.

Chicago Helicopter Experience
2420 S. Halsted St., Chicago IL 60608

Top to bottom: Collection for a Cause, $50, Provides 408 Meals; Smooth Skin Delights, $35 ,Provides 282 Meals; Kiss Me With Kiehl’s, $25, Provides 205 Meals.

Top to bottom: Collection for a Cause, $50, Provides 408 Meals; Smooth Skin Delights, $35 ,Provides 282 Meals; Kiss Me With Kiehl’s, $25, Provides 205 Meals.

Purchasing a present that gives back to the community or a charity can be a more thoughtful gift.

Continuing its holiday philanthropic tradition, Kiehl’s launched its 10th Annual Limited Edition Charitable Holiday Collection. With the purchase of their whimsical gift set, designed by the artist Andrew Bannecker, Kiehl’s pledges 100% of its net profits, up to $100,000, to a charity. For the fifth year in a row, they’ve partnered with an amazing organization Feeding America®. 40 million people in the US are food insecure and 12 million of those are kids, this donation will help provide 1,000,000 meals to families this holiday season.

I had the honor and privilege of helping Kiehl’s pack meals at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the lunch bags would go to feed students and teachers of Harold Washington College.

Also, shop with Fair Trade companies or buy ethical-made gifts from places like Society B, Ethica, Fair Trade Winds and Accompany.

520 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611,
312- 321-3601

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Feed America

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Learning a new skill can be invaluable so consider buying a loved one lessons for one of their interests. Have they always wanted to learn to play the guitar or dance?  Along with it being thoughtful and rewarding, the act of learning a new skill is fun and they will have broadened their horizons.

For an elegant and informative evening with a drink why not learn more about wine at The Chopping Block? Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned sipper they offer classes for every level with accredited sommeliers. Get a solid foundation in wine tasting and sensory evaluation, that can help you build your wine knowledge and enjoyment. Classes range from $65- $90.

Other options include painting, cooking, dancing, baking, cocktail making, golf and iceskating lessons.

The Chopping Block
Lincoln Park: 4747 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, 773-472-6700
River North: 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-644-6360



WHO: Artists Frame Service

WHAT: Opens a River North location, just one block north of the Merchandise Mart

WHERE: 433 N. Wells St, Chicago, IL

WHEN: Now open

WHY: The store has an impressive variety of stocked photo frames – which includes their own frames manufactured here in Chicago- as well as a custom framing services. Here you can find unique handcrafted made to order frames that have been sourced from around the world. They also sell local art, custom mirrors, and both pre-designed or custom gallery walls. But most exciting is their professional digital photo and art printing services. That is right you can print images straight from you phone.



Gwyneth Paltrow and goop launches collaboration with CB2 today

(left to right) Britt Pattner, Creative Consultant / Diana Ryu, Director of Content Operations (Managing Editor) / Gwyneth Paltrow, Founder + CEO / Jean Godfrey-June, Beauty Director / Megan O’Neill, Senior Beauty Editor


WHAT: Launching a limited edition collaboration with GOOP

WHERE: and in CB2 stores with limited products available on

WHEN: TODAY, August 30th

WHY: The goop X CB2 collection merges CB2’s modern approach to design with goop’s sophisticated aesthetic, offering elegant, yet laid-back pieces that you’ll want to live with. The collection ($9.95 - $5,796) is a true representation of Gwyneth’s design aesthetic and CB2’s creativity - think a mid-century Curvo pink sofa, intricate parisian-inspired china and comfy meditation pillows.

Collection consists of a mid-century Curvo pink sofa, intricate parisian-inspired china and comfy meditation pillows.

Was British Vogue Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers, fired?

It's come to light that former British Vogue Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers, didn't step down as originally reported but in fact was fired. In a very candid interview with Vestoj, Lucinda reveals all including her criticisms of the fashion bible. After being taken down the day, it was published the explosive and controversial interview is back up.  “Due to the sensitive nature of this article, we took the decision to temporarily remove it from the site,” Vestoj said in a statement.

Some in the industry have praised Lucinda for her frankness while others think it's more about bitterness. Will the current shake-up at the magazine be seen as a positive move, giving others a chance to work at this prestige magazine or is it an unfair treatment of your employees? Maybe a little of both?

What do you think?

You can read here Lucinda's interview with Vestoj and decide for yourself.


A Conversation About Life After Vogue With Lucinda Chambers

by Anja Aronowsky Kronberg

EDITOR’S NOTE: Following the original publication of this article, we’ve been contacted by lawyers on behalf of Conde Nast Limited and Edward Enninful OBE and have been requested to amend the interview. This request has now been granted.WE MEET AT A cosy private club in West London, the sort of hangout popular with fashion professionals who believe in the semblance of bohemia. For thirty-six years she’s been working at British Vogue, twenty-five of those as the magazine’s fashion director, but not long before we meet the fashion press has been full of headlines announcing her departure. We order lattes, and I’m struck by how candid she is.

A month and a half ago I was fired from Vogue. I phoned my lawyer; she asked me what I wanted to do about it. I told her I wanted to write a letter to my colleagues to tell them that Edward [Enninful] decided to let me go. And to say how proud I am to have worked at Vogue, for as long as I did, to thank them for being such brilliant colleagues. My lawyer said sure, but don’t tell HR. They wouldn’t have wanted me to send it.

Later I was having lunch with an old friend who had just been fired from Sotheby’s. She said to me, ‘Lucinda, will you please stop telling people that you’ve been fired.’ I asked her why – it’s nothing I’m ashamed of. She told me, ‘If you keep talking about it, then that becomes the story. The story should be that you’ve had the most incredible career for over thirty years. The story shouldn’t be that you’ve been fired. Don’t muck up the story.’ But I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the person who puts on a brave face and tells everyone, ‘Oh, I decided to leave the company,’ when everyone knows you were really fired. There’s too much smoke and mirrors in the industry as it is. And anyway, I didn’t leave. I was fired.

Fashion can chew you up and spit you out. I worked with a brilliant designer when I was at Marni – Paulo Melim Andersson. I adored him. He was challenging, but highly intelligent. Fragile, like a lot of creative people. We had our ups and downs, but he stayed with us for seven years. Then Chloé came along. The CEO at the time asked my advice about Paulo and I told him, ‘Paulo is great, but you have to know that he won’t turn the brand around for you in a season or even two. You’ve got to give him time, and surround him by the right people.’ ‘Absolutely, absolutely,’ he said. ‘I’ll do that.’ Three seasons later Paulo was out. They didn’t give him time, and he never got his people. I felt so sad for Paulo. If you want good results, you have to support people. You don’t get the best out of anyone by making them feel insecure or nervous. Ultimately, that way of treating people is only about control. If you make someone feel nervous, you’ve got them. But in my view, you’ve got them in the wrong way. You’ve got them in a state of anxiety. I’m thinking of one fashion editor in particular: it’s his modus operandi. He will wrong-foot you and wrong-foot you, and have everyone going, ‘Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.’

You’re not allowed to fail in fashion – especially in this age of social media, when everything is about leading a successful, amazing life. Nobody today is allowed to fail, instead the prospect causes anxiety and terror. But why can’t we celebrate failure? After all, it helps us grow and develop. I’m not ashamed of what happened to me. If my shoots were really crappy… Oh I know they weren’t all good – some were crappy. The June cover with Alexa Chung in a stupid Michael Kors T-shirt is crap. He’s a big advertiser so I knew why I had to do it. I knew it was cheesy when I was doing it, and I did it anyway. Ok, whatever. But there were others… There were others that were great.

In fashion people take you on your own estimation of yourself – that’s just a given. You can walk into a room feeling pumped up and confident, and if you radiate that the industry will believe in what you project. If, on the other hand, you appear vulnerable you won’t be seen as a winner. I remember a long time ago, when I was on maternity leave, Vogue employed a new fashion editor. When I met with my editor after having had my baby, she told me about her. She said, ‘Oh Lucinda, I’ve employed someone and she looked fantastic. She was wearing a red velvet dress and a pair of Wellington boots to the interview.’ This was twenty years ago. She went on, ‘She’s never done a shoot before. But she’s absolutely beautiful and so confident. I just fell in love with the way she looked.’ And I went, ‘Ok, ok. Let’s give her a go.’ She was a terrible stylist. Just terrible. But in fashion you can go far if you look fantastic and confident – no one wants to be the one to say ‘… but they’re crap.’ Honestly Anja, you can go quite far just with that. Fashion is full of anxious people. No one wants to be the one missing out.

Fashion moves like a shoal of fish; it’s cyclical and reactionary. Nobody can stay relevant for a lifetime – you always have peaks and troughs. The problem is that people are greedy. They think, ‘It worked then, we’ve got to make it work now.’ But fashion is an alchemy: it’s the right person at the right company at the right time. Creativity is a really hard thing to quantify and harness. The rise of the high street has put new expectations on big companies like LVMH. Businessmen are trying to get their creatives to behave in a businesslike way; everyone wants more and more, faster and faster. Big companies demand so much more from their designers – we’ve seen the casualties. It’s really hard. Those designers are going to have drink problems, they’re going to have drug problems. They’re going to have nervous breakdowns. It’s too much to ask a designer to do eight, or in some cases sixteen, collections a year. The designers do it, but they do it badly – and then they’re out. They fail in a very public way. How do you then get the confidence to say I will go back in and do it again?

The most authentic company I ever worked for is Marni. We didn’t advertise, and what we showed on the catwalk we always produced. We never wanted to be ‘in fashion.’ If you bought a skirt twenty years ago, you can still wear it today. We never changed the goalposts. Our shows were about empowering women. We always treated our models beautifully and had incredible diversity in the company: my team was half boys, half girls, all different nationalities. It was very transparent, but when the company was sold everything changed. The Castiglionis were naïve. They sold sixty percent of the company, thinking that the new owner would respect what they had built. I never understood why they sold it to Renzo Rosso of all people. He is the antithesis of everything Marni stood for. The antithesis. When Consuelo left, I remember thinking why not give the design task to someone from the team? It would have been a reflection of how fashion is created today, and it worked for Gucci – Alessandro Michele had been at the brand forever before becoming the creative director. I talked to Renzo and he agreed, but then at the last minute he changed his mind. He brought Francesco Risso onboard, who had nothing to do with the company. Before Marni, he did celebrity dressing at Prada. He’d never done a show, he’d never run a team. But he knows Anna Wintour. And who is Renzo Rosso enthralled by? Anna Wintour. The last womenswear collection at Marni was a disaster; it had terrible reviews. The show was appalling. I heard the cost to produce it was two-and-a-half times what we used to spend, and it sold fifty percent less. A lot of American buyers didn’t even bother to turn up. Marni is no more. It saddens me, but then I remind myself that from the ashes something new can emerge.

When Vetements came on the scene, what they were doing felt very new. At that particular time, it wasn’t what anyone else was doing. And when I saw the last Balenciaga show… Okay, you could say it’s a bit Margiela or a bit this or that, but honestly I was really really really excited. You know what was smart about it? It was the scale – you saw this tiny model emerge and it took forever for her to get close to the audience. It built up expectation. Everything was thought through: the casting, the music, the space. Everything. And I loved how we were all seated: so far from each other, it all felt anonymous. Normally at a fashion show, everyone looks at each other – who wears what, who sits where. ‘Oh, she’s got the new Céline shoes.’ But here you felt as if you were on your own. It was a new feeling.

Fashion shows are all about expectation and anxiety. We’re all on display. It’s theatre. I’m fifty-seven and I know that when the shows come around in September I will feel vulnerable. Will I still get a ticket? Where will I sit? I haven’t had to think about those things for twenty-five years. Most people who leave Vogue end up feeling that they’re lesser than, and the fact is that you’re never bigger than the company you work for. But I have a new idea now, and if it comes off maybe I won’t be feeling so vulnerable after all. We’ll have to wait and see.

There are very few fashion magazines that make you feel empowered. Most leave you totally anxiety-ridden, for not having the right kind of dinner party, setting the table in the right kind of way or meeting the right kind of people. Truth be told, I haven’t read Vogue in years. Maybe I was too close to it after working there for so long, but I never felt I led a Vogue-y kind of life. The clothes are just irrelevant for most people – so ridiculously expensive. What magazines want today is the latest, the exclusive. It’s a shame that magazines have lost the authority they once had. They’ve stopped being useful. In fashion we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need. We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people into continue buying. I know glossy magazines are meant to be aspirational, but why not be both useful and aspirational? That’s the kind of fashion magazine I’d like to see.

Lucinda Chambers served as fashion director of British Vogue for 25 years.

Anja Aronowsky Kronberg is Vestoj's Editor-in-Chief and Founder.

Lucinda Chambers says Goodbye to Vogue

Fashion Director Lucinda announced last month that she is leaving British Vogue after 25 years. I had the privilege of being her intern when I started my career 16 years ago. British Vogue won't be the same without her; she is a true visionary. She often worked with young designers, photographers, and models — as well as the big names like Mario Testino and Kate Moss. Fashion Junkie looks back at some of the beautiful and unique shoots she's styled over the years.

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Who Should Win Best Costume at the 89th Academy Awards?

With so many great films this year it’s going to be hard to pick the best picture at the Oscars. However, the costume category is equally as strong. In case you didn’t get a chance to see all the nominated films here are the five costume designers up for an Oscar, who’s your favorite?

LA LA LAND, Mary Zophres


ALLIED, Joanna Johnston

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JACKIE, Madeline Fontaine

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FASHION AND BEAUTY’S A-Z, N is for No Make-up

Alicia Keys

N is for No Make-up
The trend recently lead by Alicia Keys was also seen on the Fall/Winter 16 runway shows of Vetements, Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann and Giambattis Valli. How to pull it off? I ask two make-up experts for advice.

Nars International Lead Makeup Stylist, Ozo says “To pull off the ‘No Makeup Makeup Look’ you have to start with great-looking skin. The whole look revolves around skin looking immaculate, glowing and radiant. Always prep skin with a moisturizer to give skin a natural, healthy glow and then a dab of concealer under the eyes to even out any darkness and imperfections. A tinted moisturizer or foundation can also be used to create the illusion of flawless skin.”

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Senior Artist, John Stapleton says “Try a sheer foundation to get the look and use conceal as necessary. Finally, keep lips nourished with a lip conditioner. Eyebrows should be glossed and groomed with a clear brow set. Eyelashes curled and tinted with a thin coat of mascara. These tiny alterations will keep it looking polished and clean.

FASHION AND BEAUTY’S A-Z, O is for the new designers, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia at Oscar de l Renta

Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia

O is for Oscar De La Renta
This iconic American brand has seen a lot of change over the last couple of years. First with the death of De la Renta, then, earlier this year, the departure of his successor, Peter Copping. Now it’s a new chapter for the company with wonder kids from Monse, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, taking over. We look forward to seeing how they update this classic brand.

FASHION AND BEAUTY’S A-Z, P is for plaid coat by Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham

P is for plaid
From big to small, from tartan to Glen plaid, the print was seen at the runway shows of Sonia Rykiel, Victoria Beckham and Rachel Zoe. This time around the look is less traditional holiday and more modern and muted.

FASHION AND BEAUTY’S A-Z, Q is for Queens, 2 new royal biopics including The Crown and Victoria

Q is for Queens
Two new royal biopics are hitting our screens each depicting the early reign of two very different female monarchs, Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II. Both showcase gorgeous period costumes complete with sumptuous silks, fur stoles and of course the crown jewels, all of which will put Downton Abbey to shame. ‘The Crown’ is available to view now on Netflix, while PBS’s Masterpiece ‘Victoria’ will be released this coming January.

FASHION AND BEAUTY’S A-Z, R is for Rei Kawakubo the designer behind Comme de Garcons who will be the subject of the new Met exhibition

Comme de Garcons

R is for Rei Kawakubo
Rumor has it that the Japanese designer behind Comme de Garçons and Dover Street Market will be the subject of The Met’s next exhibition. This will be the second time that the museum has devoted a show to a living designer.

FASHION AND BEAUTY’S A-Z, S is for Spots leopard print a big fall/winter trend including this  Dolce & Gabbana dress

Dolce & Gabbana

S is for Seeing spots
Leopard, the animal print of the season, was spotted everywhere this fall from jackets and bags to shoes and belts. The looks range from masculine tailoring at Dries van Norton and H&M to ladylike at Dolce and Gabbana and J.Crew, to rock chic at Saint Laurent.

Fashion and beauty's A-Z, T is for teamwork including the collaboration of Iris Apfe

Iris Apfel x INC Collection

T is for Teamwork
This season we have seen many fashion pairings including H&M x Kenzo, Iris Apfel x INC Collection, Tommy Hilfiger x Gigi Hadid, Olivia Palermo + Chelsea28 and Fenty Puma by Rihanna Just to name a few.

Fashion and beauty's A-Z, U is for updating your look by changing your lipstick, try Dior's new shade Poison

Dior's Poison

U is for Update your look
The easiest (and cheapest) way to update your look is with a new haircut or make-up. The must have shade for fall is a deep dark lipstick, however this time around it’s less goth and more sweet. Try Dior’s new shade, Poison, at Sephora.

Fashion and beauty's A-Z, V is for velvet a big trend for fall and winter, including this Alberta Ferretti suit

Alberta Ferretti

V is for Velvet
Break away from expected jeweled toned colors with fall’s hottest fabric velvet. Instead go for more unusual colors like blush, canary yellow, lilac and Aquamarine to keep it new and fresh. The hottest fabric for fall, velvet, is available in everything from dresses to bag to shoes, but the hot piece is the velvet pantsuit.

Fashion and beauty's A-Z, W is for white stripes on skater shoes Vans

W is for White stripes
The iconic white stripe sneaker, Vans, has overtaken Adidas’ Stan Smith popularity with fashion editors at New York fashion week this past September.

Fashion and beauty's A-Z, X is for x-tra long sleeves including this Jason Wu look,  a big trend for the season

Jason Wu

X is for x-tra
These x-tra longs sleeves are definitely more of a fashion forward trend on the runways (Jason Wu, Tibi, Creatures of Comfort, Marc Jacobs, J.W Anderson and Vetements) that may not be for everyone.

Fashion and Beauty's A-Z, Y is for Yellow paired with pink including this Delpozo look, a big trend for the winter season


Y Is for Yellow
Forget dark and muted colors for the fall instead go for light and bright. This season on the runways (Delpozo, Creatures of Comfort, Marissa Webb, and Ulla Johnson) shades of canary yellow paired with blush pink creates an unusual color combination for the colder months.

Fashion and Beauty's A-Z, Z is for Zoo and other animal motifs including this Gucci snake dress


Z is for Zoo
Animal motifs were spotted on the runway including a snake and black panthers at Gucci, mice and cats at Dolce and Gabbana and swans at Stella McCartney. There is an innate cute factor with animals but go for a quirky look with these prints.



A is for Athleisure
Fall’s most popular menswear trend, Athleisure, has finally surpassed the heritage trend, which has reigned supreme for the last several years. For this trend pair hip tracksuit jackets with dress pants or try a tracksuit jacket in luxurious fabrics like satin or sequins as seen at Burberry and Neil Barrett.

Essie's After School Boy Blazer, $

B is for Blue nails
For fall the super saturated nail is hot but the color of the season is blue. A few of our favorites include Burberry’s Imperial Blue ($22), Essie’s After School Boy Blazer ($9) and Deborah Lippmann’s Rolling in the Deep ($18).

Raf Simons

C is for Coup
Raf Simons, who recently stepped down as the designer from Christian Dior, has been snagged by Calvin Klein. This highly regarded luxury European designer will surely give the New York brand a new life and much needed credibility to the flagging brand.

Dries Van Norten

D is for Diversity
After a new high with the fall collections (shown last spring) the percentage of models of color on the New York runways has taken a slight drop, what’s going on? So although numbers of diverse models are heading in the right direction, they’re still not equal to the reality of our world.

Stella McCartney

E is for Earrings
If you didn’t already know, studs are over! The shoulder-grazing earring trend continues this season and was spotted on the runway shows of Rodarte, Marni, Stella McCartney, Sonia Rykiel, Valentino, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen. The dangly earrings are perfect for the upcoming party season as it looks killer with bare shoulders and a topknot.


F is Fur
To be on trend this fall add a touch of fur into your wardrobe, either a fun accessory (Fendi) or just a collar (Sonia Rykiel). We especially like the faux furboots seen at Topshop.


G is for Guitar straps
Handbags have been given the rock n’ roll treatment this fall with extra wide, striped webbing and embellished straps. It was seen in the collections of high-end designers Lanvin, Fendi and Gucci, as well as more affordable brands like Elle & Jae, Steven Madden and Rebecca Minkoff.

Prada at Neiman Marcus

H is for Hiking boots
The must have winter boot is the hiking boot, but don’t worry you don’t actually have to go hiking in them. Available in a flat (Stuart Weitzman and Nine West) or with a block heel (Louis Vuitton and Tod’s), they look especially cool worn with a dress like at Prada and Maison Margiela.

Christian Siriano

I is for inclusive
Three major designers have made a stance for plus size women. Christian Siriano’s spring ‘17 show saw five plus sizes models walking the runway. While Tracy Reese will be offering a wider range of sizes, 0-18, with her spring 2017 collection. And Prabal Gurung is partnering with a plus size clothing brand, Lane Bryant for a Spring 2017 collection.

David Beckham in H&M

J is for Jacket
This season’s must have jacket for guys is the bomber. It might have started last summer but the trend isn’t going anywhere, in fact, it has become so popular that it has overtaken the denim jacket. Spotted in the collections of Jil Sander, Maison Margiela, Topman and H&M. But don’t get rid of your denim jacket just yet, a classic never goes out of style.

Tory Burch

K is for Knits
The knit of choice is the turtleneck, for men, it’s the perfect piece to throw under a suit (Hermes, Boss selection, Reiss) and for women wear it under sleeveless dresses (Creatures of the Wind, Tory Burch and Karen Walker).


L is for Loosen up
Menswear changes at a snails pace so we don’t see the slim trouser going anywhere soon but a new crop of looser, wide leg trouser has popped up at Fendi and Burberry shows.


M is for Menswear inspired clothes for women
One of the biggest trends for fall is taking their cue from the boys. What makes it new this season is the mix of men’s suiting fabrics with a feminine silhouette DKNY, J.Crew and Monse)