But perhaps the most intriguing of the current collaborations is with singer Matteah Baim, who was working on an album in Chicago last year and connected with Gabier and Peters at an art show. “Her music evokes the same kind of feeling that I like to create,” says Gabier of the melancholy, ethereal vibe of Baim’s tunes. “I’ve been listening to her for years.” When he found out the singer also dabbled in design (she once worked for Imitation of Christ), he enlisted her to help with spring. Baim’s is the hand behind miles of macramé, the raw silk cording that cascades down dresses and tops, further punctuating the homespun sensibility. “It makes the whole collection a lot richer when we have these other contributors,” says Gabier. “It’s another way we can express our point.”
Peters and Gabier each bring something distinct to the design table as well. Gabier has the more impressive fashion CV: He cut his teeth working in the Antwerp studios of Belgian designers Jurgi Persoons and Dirk Schönberger. And, after returning to Chicago from Europe in 2000, he briefly had his own line, which closed in 2007. Peters graduated in 2008, and still holds his job as the assistant men’s buyer at Hejfina, one of Creatures’ retail accounts along with Scout in L.A. and Stand Up Comedy in Portland, Oregon. His fresh eye is the yin to Gabier’s yang. “I pull him toward being much more experimental,” explains Peters. “I’m very loose in the way I make patterns. Shane is more structured.”
The two differ even when it comes to the root of the label’s name, which has zilch to do with the Windy City. For Peters the moniker evokes a 1984 Japanese anime film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. For Gabier it’s a wistful torch song. His reference? The Nina Simone cover of Johnny Mathis’s “Wild Is the Wind.” “I’m drawn to moodier things,” he remarks.
The pair maintain that, differences and all, the combination works. “We’re a couple, so we have a very intimate relationship,” says Gabier. “We play off each other.” Adds Peters with a laugh: “No one ever gets full say in any garment.”