I moved to Chicago almost two years ago without knowing anyone who lived in the city, how to get anywhere on public transportation, or how truly bad of a taste Malort could leave in your mouth. I spent many of my first few days wandering the city alone, allowing myself to explore and discover things I hadn’t seen before.
It was around this time that I began frequenting the shopping scene in the South Loop as it was close to my school and, more importantly, because I love clothes. The stores were all amazing; they had multiple floors, a full selection and were perfectly on trend. However, amongst all of these super awesome retailers one of them truly stood out: AKIRA.
Needless to say, when you think of AKIRA you think of Chicago fashion today. I haven’t lived in Chicago very long, but even I can see the strong connection the two entities share. AKIRA and Chicago are so in sync with one another that you couldn’t pull them apart even if you tried. From its humble beginnings as a small boutiques to its empire status it holds today, AKIRA, along with its fashion show, has been a staple in the Chicago fashion scene for years, and it managed to live up to its reputation at its Fall 2014 fashion show: The Last Dimension.
The Last Dimension was held on Sunday, October 5, 2014, within the warehouse-esque walls of the Grossinger City Autoplex. There were many activities to keep show attendees entertained before the runway show actually began, such as food and drinks, multiple DJs, artist exhibits, massages, a pop-up shop by AKIRA, and more. However, despite the excitement surrounding these events, these attractions were just a precursor of what was to come.
The actual runway show was hosted by Judy Hsu, of ABC 7, and Marco Foster, founder of Chicago Models. They quickly introduced themselves, special guest James Maslow, of Big Time Rush, and PAWS Chicago, which received a portion of the ticket sales, to the thousands of people sitting on the bleachers and white fold up chairs that lined the runway.
A portion of the show focused on semi-dressy apparel with classy pullover sweaters, dress pants and bow ties for men and figure flattering cocktail dresses for women. These garments mixed some classic Fall trends like fur, heavy knits and colors like maroon, navy, and winter white, and mixed them with more current trends.
Sleek minimalist pieces with interesting cut outs played a large role in many of these womenswear looks and were refreshing, especially considering how bad the cut out trend has gotten over the past year in a majority of retailers.
To take slivers of skin one step further, complete absence of clothing was another design element in many of the looks for both men and women. From men in leather thongs, women with nothing but duct tape across their chests and nipple grazing crop tops, AKIRA took the saying “less is more,” to a whole new level.
While this is a saying that is undoubtedly reserved for much, much, warmer months, than say mid-October, and the practicality of these garments in 50 degree Chicago weather is a little iffy, the looks were still a nice way to breakup the more traditional outfits that were shown. They managed to add an element of fun to the show and, based on the level of cheers and applause from the audience, were definitely well-received.
The Western look made a big comeback at The Last Dimension as model after model rocked a plethora of cowboy inspired prints and silhouettes. Western is a trend that has been recreated year after year. Yes, it’s been over done and yes, it can be cliche. However, the looks that AKIRA presented were not only interesting but also wearable and fashion forward.
Traditional Western design elements such as fringe, leather and suede played a large role in many of the looks, and they were made even better when combined with unexpected pieces such as delicate lace and sophisticated Fall fur. In fact, one of my favorite pieces of this segment, and perhaps the whole show, was a black and cream deep-v neck lace jumpsuit with a fur trimmed black coat and wide brim hat. The unique combination of the lace with the more traditional Fall pieces was different and would undoubtedly make a statement on the streets of Chicago.
The last set of looks to walk the runway were ultra elegant. Perfect for the holiday and New Year parties that are coming up in the next few months, the models donned floor length skirts and dresses, slick suits and trousers, and radiant jewelry and handbags. The Jewel tones, sequins and silk like fabrics that were used to construct the garments played a large role in their overall success and really kept the looks cohesive.
The best part about these looks? Although they were successfully styled in the show, they could also easily be taken apart and re arranged to make even more interesting outfits, which is obviously perfect for the Chicago fashionista who always has some place to be but not a lot of time to go shopping. Mix, match, whatever – this seemed to be an overall trend throughout The Last Dimension show and is a major plus (in my opinion).
The show ended with a large finale of every model reaching out to the audience, blowing kisses, and twirling around as they danced down the runway. The shopakira.com sign glowed over the photo pit as the audience got up, mingled with one another and took selfies with the striking runway scene as the backdrop.
Overall, with a wide array of garments and accessories for both men and women, AKIRA proved that they’re on top of the Chicago fashion game…As if I would have expected anything different.
What were your favorite looks from the AKIA’s Fall 2014 Fashion Show: The Last Dimension? Do you plan on purchasing any of the pieces? Leave your reply in the comment section below!