Architectural necklines. Structural shoulders. Fluid skirts. Although deemed the “Second City” of fashion, Chicago put forth a valiant effort this past week with its Fashion Focus 2010 events. Established and emerging designers wowed the crowd with fashion-forward garments and vivid palettes.
AggaB’s use of geometric shapes and angles juxtaposed against a flirty 50’s vibe (read: long faux fur jacket and secretary-inspired skirt paired with fingerless leather gloves) garnered major applause and was my personal fave of the first show, “Macy’s presents the Chicago Fashion Incubator Designers Past & Present with CS Magazine” on Tuesday night.
Wednesday night’s extravaganza, Mario, Make Me a Model and WAVE OF FASHION presented by smartwater® and Chicago Magazine, served as the finale of a fierce modeling competition in which Briana Smith of Bolingbrook, IL, edged out the other four finalists to take home the title. The finalists strutted down the runway with seasoned Ford models to present designs from five Chicago designers.
Sending the most fabulously breathtaking, perfectly layered black-and-white ruffle-skirted gown down the runway secured Reddoll as my #1 pick for the evening. The fact that designer Tatyana Merenyuk created a shorter, just as couture but more wearable version, just about blew my mind into a million fabulous little black-and-white ruffled pieces.
Avant-garde was the name of the game for Thursday’s show, Dress Code, which highlighted creations from students of some of the city’s top design schools: School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Columbia College Chicago, The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago (IIAC) and The International Academy of Design and Technology (IADT). There were simply too many fabulous works of art to choose a “one to watch.”
All of these promising prodigies are guaranteed to change our perception of design. From the goth-horror looks of Christina Yi to the frothy confections of Maureen Sullivan, this was one extraordinary performance.
The finale boasted superior house music, a larger and trendier crowd, and some of the hottest looks all week. A few lines were a bit of a snooze, but thankfully, Lara Miller came to play. At first glance, you might not think much about the muted tones and basic shapes of her garments, but a good zoom-in will prove that basics can go from humdrum to quirky by adding a necklace comprised of a chain-link colorful framed photo of a man with a handlebar mustache.
Yep, you read that right. I also adored the birdlike strapless frock by new designer, Lydia Wawrzyniak. You would have never known she was an emerging artist amid experienced veterans with her ethereal dresses and flawless construction.
The energy, talent, and yearning Chicago possesses for its fashion scene is quite encouraging. It’s rumored that a Chicago Fashion Week is in the works for 2011, and while we definitely have a bit of work to do to be regarded in the same camp as New York and Milan, this year’s sixth annual Fashion Focus Chicago is a step in the right well-heeled direction.