Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saks Fifth Avenue Gets Cheeky!

Jessica Zweig, Michael Mason, Lynne Bredfeldt, Arturo Gomez,
Itika Oldwine, Marcus Riley, Julie Darling & Erica Bethe Levin:
Thursday, March 25, 2010:
Saks Fifth Avenue and CheekyChicago presented "The Cheeky People of Style" with a fabulous runway show to celebrate "Contemporary Week" at Saks. Chicago's most stylish showed up to support Jessica Zweig and Erica Bethe Levin, the beautiful duo behind CheekyChicago. On the runway, spring trends from Saks were shown off by Julie Darling (Julie Darling PR), Lynne Bredfeldt (Director of PR, Park Hyatt Chicago), Itika Oldwine (Harpo Studios), Arturo Gomez (COO Rockit Ranch Productions), Marcus Riley (NBC), and Michael Mason (James Hotel)--the "Cheeky People of Style".

The event was on floor 5 of the Chicago landmark and Julie Darling and I arrived to prepare her for the show. A sleek pink runway (that I could have swore was made of candy) was ready and waiting for the crowd and the models. Some of my favorite industry friends filled the rows including Kim Peiffer (NBC, Modern Luxury), Rachel Schwanz (Entertaining Company), Justin Jacobson (Platinum Events), Ben Soldinger (Cosentino Wines), Scott Johnson, James Goeke (Vital Bridges), Kelli Zink (, Meghan Turner (, Abby Dunn (Blast Marketing), Stacey Levy (Exhale Chicago) and many more. The runway presentation was hosted by the Cheeky girls and Saks Fifth Avenue's Director of Marketing, Julie Selakovic. They explained the looks we were going to see and introduced the chosen models of the evening.

The resulting show was an absolute blast and it seemed everyone in the room knew one another. Models interacted with the crowd and no one took themselves too seriously as they strutted their stuff for us. The after party at JBar was also a hit (thanks for the impromptu photo shoot, Amanda Puck!) We finished the night at Hub 51 for amazing sushi, nachos, and Cosentino wine with the crew. A really great evening with some really cheeky company.


I filmed some clips from the show so you could get in on the fun. Excuse the lackluster quality and my commentary! The looks were grouped into Work, Play, and Party. Enjoy!

Abby Dunn, Kim Peiffer, Stacey Levy, Julie Darling, & R.M.B.:

Lynne Bredfeldt, Itika Oldwine, & Julie Darling

Julie Darling & Rachel Schwanz:

Kim Peiffer, Stacey Levy, Justin Jacobson, & Kelli Zink:

Jessica Zweig, Julie Darling & Erica Bethe Levin:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicago Fashion Incubator Announces 2010 Designers at 900 Shops

The Chicago Fashion Incubator Designers for 2010:
(L to R): Jonnie Rettele, Leah Fagan, Stephanie Kuhr,
Smith, Miriam Cecilia Carlson, & Christina Fan
Tuesday, March 16, 2010:

The 900 Shops hosted an inspiring event to announce the six talented individuals that were chosen to be this year’s designers inducted into the Chicago Fashion Incubator. A space on the 5th floor of the 900 Shops was set up to showcase the work of past CFI designers and to introduce Chicago to the next class. I attended with Paige Peterson to meet and greet the designers that will be getting a lot of attention in the coming months. As part of the Chicago Fashion Incubator, each designer will have the opportunity to learn the economics, marketing, and merchandising that goes into developing a collection. Throughout the experience, they will have the support of industry experts, mentors from Macy's, and the broader fashion community. This opportunity is truly one-of-a-kind for these individuals and is proof of the hard work, dedication, and vision that it takes to be a successful designer.

The 2010 Designers in Residence and their lines:

*Christina Fan - C/FAN is the marriage of menswear inspired details, such as pocket squares, and feminine silhouettes, which creates a line that is extremely versatile, high quality, yet still affordable.*Donaldo Smith - Killian Gui is a contemporary menswear brand that masters the blend of elegant business attire with modern casual wear.

*Jonnie Rettele - Nonnie Threads is a result of early-mid 1900's inspiration, merged with a modern semblance. She is motivated by men's desire for functionality, fit, and ambition for modernity.

*Leah Fagan - PELOTON features Leah's trademark look; well-crafted separates, innovative details that are casual, yet polished, and, most importantly, a fabulously comfortable fit.*Miriam Cecilia Carlson - M.C.C. features draped and manipulated fabric inspired by ideas and thoughts of life.

*Stephanie Kuhr - Dottie’s Designs is a line of vintage-inspired lingerie and foundation wear, under the name Dottie's Delights.I had a chance to meet each of the designers and was truly impressed by their collections. They all showed a sense of maturity in their designs and an attention to the needs of the ready-to-wear consumer—which is an important aspect of fashion. But, making it into the CFI is just the first step—the hard work lies ahead for these talented Chicago faces. Whatever the outcome of their future, we will all be watching closely to see what these designers are made of. My very best goes to each and every 2010 CFI designer...Chicago's rootin' for ya!


p.s. Want to get a look at the collections for yourself? Check the hours below for the pop-up shop, located in the 900 Shops, 5th Floorand get over to support your local Chicago designers!

**Store hours: Starting Thursday, March 18th, the retail store will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each Thursday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.**

Myself and Paige Peterson:

Christina Fan and myself:

Miriam Cecilia Carlson and myself:

Jonnie Rettele and myself:

Stephanie Kuhr, Ryan M. Beshel, & Leah Fagan:

Donaldo Smith and myself:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gold Rush Show Benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities on any image to view full size...
Wednesday, March 10, 2010:
Sahar Dada and Misa Verbeek presented Gold Rush, a truly indulgent evening at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Crystal Ballroom. The event began at 6:30 with a cocktail reception and art exhibit featuring the stunning works of Misa Verbeek. Her artistic vision centers on "women and the emotional voyage of love, grandeur, and passion." Her creations are visually stunning and she uses such media as wood and metal to produce truly emotional pieces of art. Her work was on display as my guest, Alejandro Diaz and I, mingled with some of my favorite Chicago industry, including Dan Uslan (Publisher, Michigan Avenue Magazine), Rick Patrone (Advertising Director, Michigan Avenue Magazine), Ricardo Sebastian (President, Luxury Management/Director of Sales, Mint Male Magazine), Petra Ford (Model, Factor Women), Marik Skolil (Consulate of the Czech Republic), Gina Fontanini (Filmmaker), Lubna Hassan (Factio Magazine), and many others.
The work of Misa Verbeek:
Just before the cocktail reception came to an end, I visited the backstage area to get a sneak peek of the garments that Sahar was about to present. I ran into some friends who were dressing models for the show and spoke with some of my favorite Chicago models about their thoughts on the clothes. They all agreed that the designs they were about to wear were exquisite. I grabbed a quick photo with the designer, wished her well, and headed back to my front row seat to watch the garments come alive.
Dressers, models, and garments backstage before the show:
The show began with a video installation that highlighted both Dada and Verbeek's inspirations for their art and what motivated them to create the art pieces (Verbeek) and designs (Dada) for the Gold Rush show. After some words from the director of Ronald McDonald House Charities, the outstanding beneficiary of the event, the show began.
The designs presented were beautiful and strong. Jeweled hues, crystal embellishments, and golden fabrics floated down the runway. The collection, fittingly named 'The Gold Collection', was rich and spoke to Sahar's South Asian culture with metallic fabrics and eclectic colors. The range of designs was plenty--from short, flirty dresses to long, draping pieces that seemed to burst to life with each step. The resulting show was a plethora of colorful looks, elegant garments, and funky frocks that could pull anyone out of the haze of winter. Sahar's designs seemed to scream to spring and summer and demand the attention that this talented Chicago designer deserves.

Designer Sahar Dada and R.M.B. before the show:
Alejandro Diaz, Ryan M. Beshel, Heather Peterson,
Ricardo Sebastian, and Michal Bonar before the show:

The show begins!
Sahar with her family after the show: