Gábor Hizó, Alanna Zaritz, and their daughter Zel Credit: Isa Giallorenzo
Alanna Zaritz, 39, was born and raised in Chicago and is one of our city’s treasures. She is a familiar, welcoming, and eye-catching figure at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), where she has worked since 2005 (she’s currently the MCA’s store manager).
Zaritz’s awe for her hometown is contagious, and very handy, since she has valuable local tips. Her love for fashion is obvious, as she approaches the art of dressing with devotion and expertise. “Fashion is alchemical and chameleonic. Not only does dressing up show regard for people you meet, it causes propulsive explosions of energy,” she says.
“I’m always challenging my ideas about self-expression via fashion. My sense of self is wavy, and my closet is similarly all over the place. If only I was better at creating through visual art or music, but I’ve got this natural affinity for making color and texture combinations on my body. We love a flowy silhouette!” she adds. Zaritz’s style is influenced by the way she moves through space, and her job at the MCA. “It’s a super-inspiring place to be. From the ever-changing exhibits to my colleagues to the patrons to the building itself, to the freaking glorious force of nature Lake Michigan, which is just in our backyard, we are always being plied with ideas about who we are and who we can be and how we fit meaning into our existence,” she elaborates.
On the day Zaritz was photographed, she was sporting a laundry list of fashion designers celebrated by those well-versed in the métier. “Sies Marjan faux astrakhan jacket in an unexpectedly delightful lilac, seafoam Craig Green quilted trousers, crystal Simone Rocha sandals, and iridescent Loeffler Randall purse. The idea is ‘Monet’s Water Lilies escapes the Art Institute.’ It’s all secondhand,” she says.
Zaritz completed her ensemble with an iridescent Loeffler Randall purse. Credit: Isa Giallorenzo
Zaritz felt particularly proud of a humble yet powerful accessory: her “I Voted!” sticker. “Voting is the absolute minimum—less than the minimum. Vote and volunteer and do the research and be involved in your community,” she advocates.
Zaritz found a match made in fashion heaven in designer Gábor Hizó, 35. “We’ve been together about ten years, but we were friends before that. Gábor was the first person who was never derisive regarding my interest in style and that, among his infinite wonderful qualities, was refreshing. I am always curious to see what he’ll put together. He’s got a great and mysterious inner fantasy. Also, he’s supportive of creative expression, whatever shape that may take, and not just for me and Zel [their eight-year-old daughter], but expansively. He’s a great collaborator,” Zaritz says.
Since they wear the same size, Zaritz often shops Hizó’s closet, and they go on exciting thrifting trips together. “We traveled a lot this year and we thrifted in Palm Springs, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, and New Orleans. We buy and sell at Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, Elliott Consignment, the Second Child, and the RealReal as well, plus Vestiaire Collective and eBay. We prefer pre-loved garments—paying retail is a scam!” asserts Zaritz.
Hizó concurs. “I like secondhand resale shops and small boutiques,” he says. That day while strolling and voting with his family in Chinatown, he was going for “warmth, utility, and mobility.”
“I am wearing a Craig Green quilted worker jacket, AllSaints wool slacks, Salomon trail running shoes, and a hat I picked up at City Lights in San Fran. I try to carry some kind of camera [a Fuji X-Pro1 for today] with me at all times as I am Zel’s number one paparazzo. I think the blue of the jacket is bizarre in the best way possible. It’s the color of the future,” he predicts.
Zaritz, 39, found a match made in fashion heaven in designer Hizó, 35. Credit: Isa Giallorenzo
Hizó is the living example of how menswear can be fun, interesting, and boundless. “Try on everything. Prescribe to no size, trend, style, color, or gender,” he says. Hizó describes his style as “unconventional, but sensible, with lots of black and some pops of color.” He’s currently into big pockets, roomy fits, draping layers, ambiguity, and unusual silhouettes, and also “all the amazing utility-focused vintage clothing from the 80s and 90s by [Marithé et François Girbaud], Yohji [Yamamoto], and Issey Miyake that were as impressively forward-thinking then as they are today.”
Their daughter Zel was wearing a lovely non-saccharine denim jumpsuit and Cookie Monster socks. “Zel’s outfit is also all secondhand, socks aside. Nununu jumpsuit and Timbs [Timberland boots]. Her crossbody bag was a gift from a cool friend,” says Zaritz. She advises parents to buy pre-owned garments and avoid disposable fashion: “Buy natural fibers that decompose and quality items that can be handed down repeatedly or resold. Mend and do repairs. Learn to sew and teach your kids to sew. Once you can darn your socks or patch a hole, you’ll never look at any garment the same way, much less a clothing store. Also, kids naturally gravitate towards fun and fantasy. Encourage that tendency,” she adds.
With fashion in her DNA, Zel claims to love dresses, jumpsuits, and cool sweaters. Like her mother, she values movement. “I like to twirl in my dresses,” she says. And like her father, Zel values a bit of minimalism and graphic details: “I like simple clothing with shapes on it.”
This family’s love for art and fashion is only paralleled by their love of Chicago, and these Pilsen dwellers have a lot to share about the city. They are fascinated by Chinatown, and know many of the neighborhood’s nooks and crannies well.
“We love the vast variety of restaurants, the park and the river, the library and landmarks, the cultural events, the people-watching. I frequently recommend taking the water taxi or river tour and getting some local perspective. Aji Ichiban, Tsaocaa, QXY, Veggie House, Hello Jasmine, and Tous Les Jours are some of our favorites. (Tous Les Jours is South Korean, not French; don’t let the name fool you.) I’ve been going to Joy Yee since I was 11. Chinatown is a perpetual vibe,” says Zaritz.
“We are regularly enticed by the idea of bubble tea, Hong Kong-style waffles, and snacks from Aji Ichiban. The sweeter things in life! Thankfully it’s a quick jaunt over from Pilsen,” says Hizó. “A fun summer move is grabbing cold beverages from Chinatown, then taking the water taxi that stops in Ping Tom Park toward downtown for an unofficial architectural tour of the city. Chicago was built to be seen from the river, and it always seizes me,” he adds.
Isa Giallorenzo’s Street View 161
Isa Giallorenzo’s Street View 080
GlitterGuts’ photographers and cofounders Sarah Joyce and Eric Strom set up an impromptu studio in Pitchfork’s Book Fort to capture portraits of the authors, readers, and festivalgoers passing through. Book Fort at Pitchfork 2018