Lights, Camera, Fashion: Taking Note of the Art of Fashion Show

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Michael Alan Stein/Photo: Courtesy of StyleChicago.com (photographer: Don Marshall)

By Alexandra Delaney

Spotted on Randolph Street: sparkles, sequins and fluffy fur shawls. The glamorous getups weren’t costumes for Halloween, but fashion-fascinated Chicagoans sure got a treat as they gathered at Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade for the Art of Fashion show. The fashion show was one of many events throughout the week as part of Fashion Focus Chicago.

The dark autumn night was offset by a soft red glow peeking through the plastic walls of the white tent. The scene was sleek: soft white couches, tall white tables just the right height to hold a cocktail, and sparkling red lights. The attendees were a group as mixed in age as they were in garb—zebra print jeans to black glittery dresses to patterned denim pants—but they were all unified by their interest in fashion.

Despite the drizzle, the atmosphere under the big white tent was sizzling during the runway fashion show as ten Chicago designers showed pieces from their Spring 2013 collections.  The featured designers included Barbara Bates, Borris Powell, Eva Pazola, Lara Miller, Michael Alan Stein, Michelle Tan, Nade Baer, RÜCH (Ruchika Singh), SHALINI (Shalini Sharma) and SWABY (Shernett Swaby). Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Shopping: Picking Among the Finds at Fashion Chicago

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By Alexandra Delaney

Throngs of moms and daughters, friends, significant others and families turned the cement pavement at Millennium Park into an urban runway as they shopped Chicago fashion designer’s collections. Fashion Chicago, presented by StyleChicago.com, rounded up local designers for a free shopping event that allowed visitors to peruse and purchase pieces from the local artists’ fall, winter and spring collections.

A table of glistening jewels served as a warm welcome. K. Amato’s sparkly, gemmed jewelry contains colorful stones set in fourteen-karat gold fill, plated eighteen-karat gold and sterling silver. Her signature is gold-filled chains. Several pieces evoke the holidays, like the gold chain bracelets laid on top of green and red bands. All of the handmade pieces have a charming feature, from delicately crafted shapes to Swarovski crystals and glass stones. Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion Focus Chicago 2012 Complete Schedule

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Here’s the press release from the city with the complete FFC schedule for this fall.

FASHION FOCUS CHICAGO 2012
A Week Long Showcase of Chicago’s Fashion Industry
Monday, October 15 – Sunday, October 21

Fashion Focus Chicago 2012 returns for its eighth year October 15-21 for a week-long celebration of Chicago’s thriving fashion industry while showcasing some of its top designers.  Highlights include three headlining runway shows in Millennium Park and fashion events at various locations around the city.  Fashion Focus will feature a variety of free and affordable industry happenings, shopping and designer events.

The City’s fashion initiative supports and promotes independent fashion boutiques and fashion designers living and working in Chicago. The theme this year for Fashion Focus Chicago is You saw it on the runway, now buy it!  In addition to showcasing the talented fashion industry, patrons are encouraged to purchase what they like directly through designers websites and at independent boutiques not only during the event, but year round. Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion Focus Chicago 2011 Complete Schedule

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Here’s the press release from the city with the complete FFC schedule for this fall.

FASHION FOCUS CHICAGO 2011

MONDAY, OCTOBER 17 THROUGH SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23

Final schedule of events for the seventh annual celebration of Chicago’s fashion industry

Fashion Focus Chicago, a week-long celebration of Chicago’s thriving fashion industry taking place Monday, October 17 through Sunday, October 23, showcases some of the city’s top designers and features runway shows in Millennium Park and at various locations around the city, plus a variety of free and affordable shopping and designer events and industry happenings. The week’s activities are coordinated and directed by the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC) in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Read the rest of this entry »

Still in Style: On the eve of its big week, what’s the present and future state of Chicago fashion?

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By Nicole Briese

Monday marks the beginning of local fashion mavens’ favorite time of the year: Fashion Focus Chicago. While the Second City’s version of fashion week may not boast the allure of similarly dedicated weeks in New York, Paris or Milan, Chicago’s efforts to bring fashion to the forefront of the community have definitely become a highlight in recent years. Exciting shows from known and up-and-coming designers alike combined with shopping events and seminars designed to celebrate the industry have given us something to look forward to mid-October for the last five years running.

But changes wrought by the economy and even bigger uncertainty about the city’s future political lineup beg the question: what will become of Chicago’s fashion scene? With the demise of Gen Art in May, along with the city’s well-publicized economic woes, rumors started circulating that Fashion Focus Chicago might not even take place this year. After all, Gen Art sponsored one of the event’s most anticipated shows with Fresh Faces in Fashion Chicago; who would be there to take their place in the lineup? The rumor mill churned again when Chicago’s first and only director of Fashion Arts & Events, Melissa Gamble stepped down not long after. But the city’s fashion imperative has been a pet project of Mayor Daley, so when he surprised everyone by announcing that his current term, ending in 2011, would be his last, questions about the future came into stark relief. And what about the loss of some of the city’s most renowned names in retail and design? The doors to high-profile gems like Maria Pinto, Ultimo and Jake began to close as economic casualties in the last year, leaving in their wake the question: was Chicago’s nascent fashion industry fashion doomed before it could ever reach its full potential? Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion Focus Chicago 2010 Complete Schedule

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Here’s the press release from the city with the complete FFC schedule for this fall.

FASHION FOCUS CHICAGO 2010

MONDAY, OCTOBER 18 THROUGH SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24

FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Fashion Focus Chicago, a celebration of Chicago’s thriving fashion industry, returns for a sixth year in 2010. Running from Monday, October 18 through Sunday, October 24 Fashion Focus Chicago showcases some of the city’s top designers, and features runway shows in Millennium Park and at various locations around the city, shopping events, and industry seminars. To make a reservation for an event or for general information, please visit www.chicagofashionresource.com.

This year, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs is expanding its partnership with the industry to help market and produce the runway shows taking place in MillenniumPark. Fashion Focus Chicago 2010 is a collaboration with the headlining show producers: Macy’s and the Chicago Fashion Incubator; Mario Tricoci; StyleChicago.com; and the city’s four fashion design schools: Columbia College Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, the International Academy of Design & Technology Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute Chicago.

“Fashion in Chicago is evolving and it is exciting to see a wide range of businesses involved with the industry—from a national department store along with a local nonprofit, major beauty brand, the four fashion design schools, and an on-line media outlet—more invested and involved in the City’s efforts to support the local designers and independent boutiques in Chicago,” stated Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Below, please find a full schedule of events taking place Monday, October 18 through Sunday, October 24, 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion Focus Dates Announced

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The city issued a save-the-date right before the Labor Day weekend (and last than a week before the Mayor’s announcement that this would be his last FFC, among other things), announcing the dates, but no event details, for Fashion Focus Chicago 2010: October 18-24. Stay tuned for details.

The Show Must Go On, You Twits! City denies fashion week rumors

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Earlier today, fashionistas fumed when blogger Audarshia Townshend tweeted, “OK, so it’s been brought to my attention that Chicago Fashion Week is NO LONGER. WTF?!” A reasonable premise given the recent demise of Gen Art, who traditionally produced the centerpiece show, and the exit of Melissa Gamble, the city’s fashion honcho, and the thundering silence about this year’s plans emanating from City Hall, which usually gets announced about now. (Last year, Tommy Hilfiger flew in to help announce the events on July 14.)

We asked the city to confirm or deny the report and this is the response from Kiran Advani, who does PR for the Chicago Office of Tourism:

“The Chicago Office of Tourism is denying the reports on Twitter and is confirming that there will be fashion shows taking place at Millennium Park in October. A press conference regarding more information about the City’s fashion initiatives and programming is tentatively planned for sometime in August.”

Fashion Focus Future? Chicago “fashion czar” Melissa Gamble is gone

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Crain’s reported today that Chicago’s Director of Fashion Arts & Events, Melissa Gamble, has resigned. Gamble, the only person ever to hold this post, oversaw the City’s fall fashion week, known as “Fashion Focus Chicago.” Coming on the heels of the demise of Gen Art, who produced Fashion Focus’ marquee show, Fresh Faces in Fashion, Gamble’s departure has to be seen as a serious setback for the city’s fashion endeavors.

When I called the City to check the status of Fashion Focus, I was sent an ominously ambiguous statement, reprinted below. However, Chicago Office of Tourism spokesperson Karen Vaughn confirmed in a follow-up email that Fashion Focus will be going forward, with dates and details to be announced in its customary mid-summer press conference. (Brian Hieggelke)

Here’s the statement: Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion Focus Chicago 2009: Le Jardin de L’Amour—Borris Powell Design Spring 2010 Collection

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Set amidst a French-inspired garden of perfectly trimmed hedges, sculpted foliage and bunches of soft, white blossoms, Borris Powell’s thirty-three-piece womenswear collection, inspired by the excitement of new love and the advent of spring, is both elegant and youthful in its Fashion Focus debut (October 24). Read the rest of this entry »


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