Tuesday, October 19, 2010:
After a few hours of sleep and a full day of work it was officially time to start the Fashion Focus festivities! I tightened the bowtie, met my roommate Todd Starr Smith and my Boss Marie P. Anderson and we hopped a cab to Millennium Park. Once we arrived, Kiran Advani saved us from the daunting line and showed us to our seats. There we were - sitting in the press section, ready to have a look at the Chicago Fashion Incubator: Past and Present Show. This, the first of the runway shows at Millennium Park, was presented by CS Magazine and Macy's and featured looks from the 2008-2010 past CFI designers: Anna Hovet, Jess Audey, Nora del Busto, Agga B. Raya, Lidia Wachowska, Kate Coxworth and Kristin Hassan - followed by collections from the current designers-in-residence at the CFI: Leah Fagan, Christina Fan, Stephanie Kuhr, Donaldo Smith, Miriam Cecilia Carlson and Jonnie Rettele.
The show began with collections from past designers (followed by the current collections) and we saw 103 looks glide down the runway. I was able to scribble some thoughts for each of the collections and below is my take on what I saw from each. Special thanks to Dean Paul for his fantastic photography. Here we go!
Past CFI Designers:
Kristin Hassan - Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago alumni and former contestant on The Fashion Show - sent out a collection of playful dresses with a flirty feel to each. Her embellishments, such as handmade headpieces, exposed zippers and over-the-top broaches adorned her looks. Volume and polka dots were key to her collection.
Kate Boggiano (Kate Coxworth):
Kate Coxworth of Kate Boggiano played with tailored pieces that whispered of sweetness. Her fringe details and over-sized collars offered a hint of personality and fun to these somewhat business-like looks. She focused on deep necklines and simple details to add a softer sex appeal to her collection.
Evil Kitty (Lidia Wachowska):
Lidia Wachowska of Evil Kitty gave us a pretty collection that screamed of a rocker chick. This conflicting idea worked for this collection adorned with spikes, lace and safety pins. Her silk cocktail dresses and striped details gave a tough feel to your ordinary dress.
Agga B. (Agga B. Raya):
Agga B. Raya of Agga B. is quickly becoming one of my favorites from this year with her stacked fabric dresses and powerful silhouettes. Any high-powered business woman would die to wear her fur adorned looks and origami cut dresses. Here is a designer with a strong point of view and the talent to make waves in the industry.
Anna Hovet constructed a series of tunics, tops and rompers in soft pastels - with touches of black for contrast. Her 'geek chic' theme was represented with big eye glasses and fingerless gloves that climbed up the models' arms. Her soft silhouettes and futuristic sportswear looked comfortable and easy to wear.
Nora del Busto showed the crowd a collection of detailed dresses full of interest. Her cut-outs, exposed zippers and weaved fabrics gave the garments an extra level of designer touches. She added splashes of fuchsia and busy patterns to make her looks stand out.
Audey (Jess Audey):
Jess Audey of Audey designed an earthy, pretty collection of dresses and skirts with volume, color and pattern. Her collection was sweet and modest with a country girl feel to it. The models couldn't help but smile as they walked down the runway wearing her dresses - in cowboy boots, no less.
Current CFI Designers-in-Residence:
C/FAN (Christina Fan):
Christina Fan of C/FAN - who is known for her solid-colored basics that easily transform from day to night - has gone a bit tropical (and I love it.) Her collection this time around featured beautiful sunsets and beach scenes on chiffon - breaking away from the C/FAN norm, while still keeping the essence of the flowing, easy-to-wear looks that Christina is known for.
Killian Gui (Donaldo Smith):
Donaldo Smith of Killian Gui - one of two menswear designers-in-residence - sent out a collection of woven shirts full of extra details. Pearl buttons, raglan sleeves and pinstripes adorned his collection of well-made shirts. He played with color-blocking and Gingham check to add variety and a smart feel to his collection.
Alidade (Leah Fagan):
Leah Fagan of Alidade constructed an array of blouses, pants and cardigans that are easy to wear and comfortable. Her classic looks and asymmetrical cuts added ease to her collection and her cool color palette offered a fresh breath of air to her line.
Dottie's Delights (Stephanie Kuhr):
Stephanie Kuhr of Dottie's Delights always has vintage on her mind. This was clear in her sexy collection of bras, girdles and garters that made the audience take notice. She added pops of red and spiral details on bras to attract attention to all the right places.
Nonnie Threads (Jonnie Rettele):
Jonnie Rettele of Nonnie Threads has an eye for menswear (and for what I personally like). Her collection featured interesting cuts and layered looks that left me wanting more. The fitted wovens, slim-fit pants and collared vests added interest and depth to her stellar collection. One of my faves.
Miriam Cecilia (Miriam Cecilia Carlson):
Miriam Cecilia Carlson of Miriam Cecilia was the closing collection of the show - and she did so with a 'bang'. Her short dresses and long gowns feature mica - a mineral she hand-mines and uses to add detail to her dresses, or to make necklaces to perfectly complement her looks. Her white and plum strapless gown with a train (shown above) was the perfect choice for her finale - gorgeous!
I hope you enjoyed having a look at the collections that hit the runway this past Tuesday from the past and present Chicago Fashion Incubator designers. Congratulations to all the designers for their hard work and dedication. Designing a collection takes focus and determination and all of you continue to make Chicago proud and the world take notice.
Until next year!