There is a reason Chicago is not consider a fashion powerhouse. Not because the city lacks style sense or trendiness, but as showcased during Style Chicago’s annual Art of Fashion runway show on Oct. 9, local designers can sometimes lack the same creative innovation as competing, bigger fashion brands.
However, with that being said, these designers are still talented at incorporating today’s top trends into sensible ready-to-wear pieces fit for the average Chicago woman.
Shernett Swaby opened Friday night’s show in Millennium Park with a sassy office-friendly collection. Aside from a recurring bushel of circular fabric spotted on every look, the attire felt hip and versatile; something a young intern could feel comfortable wearing to an office as well as happy hour.
Ricorso’s “Be Timeless” collection fit the name with a run of simplistically structured dresses. The looks grew more diverse as the show went on, ending with a beautiful Asian inspired satin sleeveless overcoat and gray floor length gown.
Judging by the screaming audience members, J.TOOR was by far the crowd favorite (probably more so for the models than for the clothes). However, even from a distance, the brand’s craftsmanship is apparent. J.TOOR presented two collections. The first held tailored suits, jackets and accessories, while the second collection had a wintery vibe with velvet suits in blacks and deep blues, reds and browns.
The warmth of spring was bought back by Borris Powell with bright yellow and blue bags and belts accenting the neutral hues of the clothing. A particularly stunning piece was a flowing white ruffled straight a- line dress accented with a skinny teal belt.
Following Powell, Heidi Hess paid tribute to October’s breast cancer awareness with a collection of loose fitting tops and bottoms paired with pink knit sweaters and hats.
The Calvin Trans collection started strong with a cool “femme fettle meets detective” vibe featuring straight-lined black skirts, free flowing tops and fedoras. However, the collection then took a tragic turn when two models came out wearing tasteless lime green mini dresses.
Michael Allen Stein
The bright colors of the leprechaun style, clubbing dresses from Calvin Tran created a nice transition to the vibrant florals in the designs of Michael Allen Stein. The collection’s contrast between pieces flowed seamlessly with structured black-and-white pieces strategically mixed among the florals.
Partial disaster struck again with Eva Pazola’s lack in fluidity. Some pieces were nice, such as the red-collared trench coat, and the silver bandeau and blazer combo…others, not so much. Specifically, the asymmetrical black knit sweater with the gaping off-center hole, drawing the eye to the model’s bra was pretty impractical.
Luckily the show ended on a higher note with the last three designers. La Nisay exhibited a stand out collection of Indian inspired gowns sparkling in gold embellishments.
Sparkles continued with Julie Mersine’s collection of non- traditional gowns for the modern bride. A personal favorite was the bell-shaped tutu skirt and embroidered top.
Alyce Paris closed the show with her staple evening gowns. A range of styles were shown; from an elegant crop top paired with a high-slit skirt to a red lace mermaid gown.
Photographs by: Jessica Braun Gervais
Were you at Style Chicago’s Art of Fashion 2015 runway show? Or do you have any favorite looks from our photos (above)? Leave your answer in the comment section below!