The moment you glimpse the giant flatscreen at 1154 LILL Studio, you realize: this isn't your average purse party.
The Chicago-based company takes the concept of "purse parties," where guests can buy a handbag while noshing with friends, to a whole different level. The three Chicago locations open their doors to visitors who are looking for a little more customization in their accessories.
LILL lets you choose from more than 40 styles of handbags, totes and tech items, select from more than 130 fabrics for the body, the trim and the lining, and then pick up your custom-made item (the production facility is right on the South Side) three to four weeks later.
And although the huge touchscreen lets guests try out different color combos and bags, the real draw is the opportunity to touch and see the fabrics in person. They might not look it from a distance, but the upholstery-grade fabrics are heavy-duty enough to sustain a beating at O'Hare and emerge unscathed (although you should waterproof once you get home).
Store employees are more than happy to make suggestions and help out the creatively challenged, but the fun comes in bonding with friends as you mix-and-match on the way to creating your dream bag.
Walk-ins are welcome, but the stores also host events and even have catered meals delivered directly there (call ahead to make arrangements). Plus, with the studio's fun selection of new-mommy and bridal items, it's a great place to host an intimate event like a baby shower or low-key bachelorette party.
And if you still like the idea of a traditional purse party in your home, visit the website and click on "Host a Handbag Party." A LILL representative will bring the studio to you for a fun get-together. But in that case, the giant flatscreen is on you.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.