ELLEN STIRLING, owner, CEO, and President of The Lake Forest Shop in historic Market Square, was destined for a career in fashion even before she was born. “My grandmother, Margaret Baxter Foster, played with Coco Chanel in Paris,” says Stirling. “She couldn’t stop shopping! When she and my grandfather returned to Lake Forest there was no room in the closets, hence the beginning of The Lake Forest Shop.” Now on the cusp of its 100th anniversary, the luxury women’s clothing boutique is still styling discerning North Shore women—sophisticated attire for cocktail, business and board meetings, dressy casual, or simply jeans with a fun top. Stirling, who studied Art History at University of Chicago, took the helm at the shop in 1986 when her father asked her to rescue the store after “too much expansion too fast and hefty debt,” according to Stirling. With her appreciation for art, eye for high fashion, and savvy business sense, Stirling did just that with a highly personal approach to client relations and satisfaction. Not surprisingly, Stirling counts Coco Chanel and her uncle, Conde Nast—who published Vogue and founded his eponymous publishing house—as her role models. On any given day, you’ll find Stirling at the shop dressed in Algo of Switzerland. “They have the most beautifully made clothes with versatile pants, gorgeous and luxurious blouses, and fabulous fitting jackets and sweaters.” We’d expect nothing less of the indomitable Ellen Stirling.
The Lake Forest Shop is located at 265 E. Market Square in Lake Forest. For more information, call 847-234-0548 or visit thelakeforestshop.com.