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WILD: Record-Breaking, Art-Filled Outlet Mall Opens in Chicago

Inside the Fashion Outlets of Chicago before Thursday's opening. All photos <a href="http://www.barrybrecheisen.com/">Barry Brecheisen</a> for Racked Chicago.
Inside the Fashion Outlets of Chicago before Thursday's opening. All photos Barry Brecheisen for Racked Chicago.

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The Fashion Outlets of Chicago made a bold entry into the world two weeks ago with an opening that reportedly broke records. More than 230,000 shoppers streamed into the mall during its inaugural weekend and they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to a local Chicago news source, the Bloomie's outlet raked in $160,000 on Thursday alone while Gucci and Prada each pulled in about $250,000, and Saks Off Fifth and Last Call Neiman Marcus netted about $150,000 apiece.

The 530,000-square-foot outlet center has been making news since it was announced last year. Located 15 miles from downtown Chicago, it's also conveniently planted across the street from O'Hare Airport, the third largest air hub in the world. Mall execs have devised all sorts of incentives for travelers experiencing a delay or layover such as shuttle service and luggage storage. "If your flight's at 4:00 pm, bring your bags, drop them off. Your baggage will be shipped straight through and you can pick up your boarding pass," exclaimed the shopping center's developer last month.

Feel the outlet mall's vastness.

Our Chicago site has full coverage of the artwork featured throughout the mall, which was commissioned by mall developers and curated by Miami gallery Primary Projects. Oversize mobiles hang from the ceilings; bright, patterned works cover the walls, ceilings, even escalators [see a full gallery here]. Ten contemporary artists are represented.

Serious signage.

Other Fashion Outlet novelties: the "smart" parking structure was designed so patrons need not walk more than 75 feet to reach a mall entrance, there are two fine-dining restaurants and a food court with room for 700 contained within the center's air-conditioned caverns and 24 skylights were installed throughout so shoppers could be bathed in natural light. Flagship outlets include Barneys New York Warehouse, Bloomingdale's The Outlet Store, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH; luxury brands Gucci, Ports 1961, Giorgio Armani, Prada and Burberry (coming soon) are also represented as well as a raft of contemporary and lower-priced brands like J.Crew, Gap and Forever 21. The full store list is here and much more coverage can be found on our Chicago outpost.
· Fashion Outlets of Chicago [Official Site]
· Record-Breaking Numbers for the Fashion Outlets' First Week [Racked Chicago]
· FINALLY: Opening Day at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago [Racked Chicago]
· INSIDE: The Best Art from The Fashion Outlets of Chicago [Racked Chicago]
· GAMECHANGING Fashion Outlets of Chicago, By the Numbers [Racked Chicago]
· All Fashion Outlets of Chicago Coverage [Racked Chicago]