Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"The Luxe Life" at Lumen: A Great Success!

Saturday, February 20, 2010:
I arrived at Lumen around 8:45p.m. to prepare for the DNA 2050 fashion show and found my friend, Michael Taxy, the club manager of the evening. Taxy, as he is called around Lumen, is always a stellar guy to work with (and one of the sharpest dressers I have met in quite a while). He never misses a beat and always makes sure you're well taken care of. I listened in on the Lumen staff meeting while I awaited the arrival of Shaun Hargrove (Assistant Store Director of DNA 2050) and her team. Taxy motivated his staff and filled them in on the night ahead. "Tonight we have the cast from The Jersey Shore, so get ready!", he joked. (The night before, the Jersey Shore boys were in and from what I heard--it was a totally insane night. A night the staff wouldn't want to repeat so quickly after it was done with.) "Come on--it's a joke!", he exclaimed as the staff forced a laugh and he continued to fill them in on the evening ahead. "DNA 2050 will present a fashion show later in the evening...and Ryan here", he said while pointing to me standing nervously in a bowtie and tux tails, "will be putting on the show for us tonight." As nervous as I was, I thought to myself: "I could definitely get used to hearing that."

Once Shaun arrived and I knew the garments were set to go, the nervousness turned into excitement. We got set-up backstage for hair and make-up, went over a few things, and I awaited the arrival of the Factor Models. The females arrived first (at 10p.m.) for quick hair and make-up and the boys began rolling in at 11p.m. Shaun and her team from DNA 2050 really were the stars of the night. Shaun was the Stylist for the show, choosing the looks, the make-up, and the order of the show, leaving me as the Production Liaison between Lumen, Factor Models, and DNA 2050. I handled coordinating the details of the show weeks before we ever stepped foot into the venue for 'The Luxe Life' event.
Backstage at "The Luxe Life" show...
Now, here we were. Ten minutes 'til the show, scribbling mock-ups of the stage on a piece of paper, while giving runway orders to my beautiful models. "If you don't understand your order--tell me now!", I yelled. It seems we were as ready as we could be. The bouncer (who was really sweet, despite his deceivingly enormous build and towering height) popped his head in and said, "You ready??" I replied with a "yes" and then we were off to our posts. I stood at the end of the runway so I could see the models as they walked down and around. My savior of the night, Julie Darling, stood closer to backstage with the models so her and I could communicate via hand signals as I called the order. Shaun Hargrove and her fantastic staff ran the backstage madness as the show rolled on.
Backstage madness (and my very detailed stage diagram...ha!):
The music calmed and our host of the night, Victoria's Secret Model, Jamielee Darley, spoke to the (well-dressed and very drunk) crowd and announced our sponsors. In an instant, the spotlights hit, the music jumped, and I called my first model down the runway. The show was over in a flash, with a daring display of denim shown to the over-packed club. The Factor Models were champions--all showing up on time, keeping a smile (or a real fierce glance) throughout, and making the very best of an un-rehearsed show. Thank you, Factor (and Bridget Halanski!)
Adam Flock, Bridget Halanski, & R.M.B.:
R.M.B. & Victoria's Secret Model, Jamielee Darley:
After the last looks left the runway, we ran back stage to do a lot of clapping and tons of thanking. The entire experience was amazing and I learned a ton from every email, new relationship, and meeting I came across. Many thanks to Michael Taxy, Alison Richmond, Shaun Hargrove, Danny Miller, Bridget Halanski, Lubna Hassan, Jamielee Darley, Julie Darling, and all my amazing friends who showed up to support me Saturday. Each one of you made this an exciting experience and I hope to have the chance to work with Lumen, Factor Models, and DNA 2050 again real soon.
All the fabulous Factor Models, right after the show:
Cheers to a successful event for The Bowtie Memoirs and a fun night at Lumen!




P.s. While I was a bit too busy to take runway photos, caught some good ones! To see them and read the write-up, please click HERE.
Myself with my partner-in-crime and dear friend, Julie Darling:
Some of my favorites:
Lubna Hassan (Factio Magazine) & Jamielee Darley (Victoria's Secret):

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Join 'The Bowtie Memoirs' at Lumen!

Saturday, February 20, 2010:
It is not often that I write about an industry party before it happens, but I have an event that I want to personally invite you to! This Saturday, February 20, 2010, The Glenlivet, DJ Jem, Factor Models, HALO [FOR MEN], DNA 2050, and The Bowtie Memoirs invite you to experience "The Luxe Life" at Lumen. The event is being presented by Lumen and Genuine Entertainment and your host for the evening will be none other than the stunning Victoria's Secret Model Search contestant, Jamie Lee Darley!

I have been working hard with Danny Miller (DNA 2050 Store Director), Shaun Hargrove (DNA 2050 Assistant Store Director), Alison Richmond (Director of Marketing & Events for Lumen), and Bridget Halanski (Director of Runway Division for Factor Model Management) to put together a fabulous fashion show featuring designs from my newest "Obsession of the Bowtie" and Chicago's hottest denim destination, DNA 2050. The event will begin at 9p.m. and wont stop until 3a.m. The DNA 2050 fashion show will begin later in the evening, but get there early to sample single malt scotch whiskey from The Glenlivet, receive hand massages (and a range of other services) courtesy of HALO [FOR MEN], all while enjoying the energetic sounds of DJ Jem. I will be there at 9p.m. to talk about my work and love for The Bowtie Memoirs and help get the models ready to stomp the yard!

So, clear your Saturday night and join me at Lumen for the first event that The Bowtie Memoirs has the honor of being a part of!

Special thanks goes out to the beautiful Alison Richmond for asking TBM to join the incredible line-up of some of Chicago's finest establishments and industry...


"The Luxe Life"
Hosted by Jamie Lee Darley

Saturday, February 20, 2010
9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
($20 COVER AFTER 10P.M.)

839 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607


Did I forget to mention: FREE champagne for the ladies??
(I guess not!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Obsessions of the Bowtie: DNA 2050

Monday, February 15, 2010:
FACT: There is nothing better than finding the perfect pair of jeans: the look that complements your style, the brand that makes you feel like a million bucks, and the fit that shows off all your assets. (All puns intended.) So, when I found a shop to satisfy my need for the blues, it was only fair that I share it with my friends. Which brings me now to my new "Obsession of the Bowtie": DNA 2050. This one-stop-shop for a killer selection of denim is a must for anyone who feels the same as I do about finding the right threads to slip into. (Not to mention a gorgeous staff to help you make the right choices.) The dazzling duo, Danny Miller (Store Director) and Shaun Hargrove (Assistant Store Director), take great pride in what they do--and they know their denim. I had a chance to speak with the two of them about DNA 2050 to get the real deal on this new addition to the popular 900 Shops Mall (900 North Michigan Avenue). Here are some things they told me you needed to know:

"Offering a unique and contemporary way to shop for your favorite pair of jeans, DNA 2050 is the shop for the ultimate denim fit, style, and trend. This is not your typical denim bar, with a concept designed to be progressive yet practical. Inside the shop, the selection of denim represents today's rising stars in the denim world. The mix of brands provides an assortment to cater to denim aficionados with the perfect fit for everyone, making DNA 2050 the ultimate denim destination in every market we enter." (Clearly, I agree.)
After taking a look myself, I can confidently tell you that the selection is evocative and expressive. But there's more than just jeans in this hot-shop! The collections that complement the denim represent the latest trends seen on the streets for both men and women. Alongside stacks of beautiful blues (and grays and blacks, etc.) you can grab a sharp blazer, a great woven shirt, and a handsome leather bag to complete your look. (It's obvious that DNA 2050 stays on the pulse of all the new names in ready-to-wear fashion.) The combination of the labels in the store provide an assortment created to arouse and express your individuality.
Whether you're a boyfriend-cut girl or a skinny-jeans-loving boy, DNA 2050 has something for you. With over thirty brands of carefully edited premium designer denim and a stunning selection of other fine garments and won't leave the store empty-handed. (A little bird also told me that Danny is leaving Chicago this week to hand-pick tons of new merchandise.) So, my friends: what are you waiting for?! Now that you have the facts, get your assets over to DNA 2050 and say hello to my friends, Danny and Shaun...


Shaun Hargrove (Assistant Store Director) & Danny Miller (Store Director):
Some of the brands to get your hands on:
Ohmigod: SHOES.
Accessories? Yes, please.
Ladies: How 'bout a little bling on your blazer?
They've got it all...
Drop in and say hello...
Tell them Ryan from The Bowtie Memoirs sent you!

DNA 2050 the 900 Shops...
Phone: (312) 944-0040
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 12pm-6pm

Friday, February 12, 2010

C/FAN Fall 2010 Fashion Preview at Dubhe Carreno Gallery

Thursday, February 11, 2010:
Earlier this year, I attended the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion Runway Show in Millennium Park and fell in love with a certain collection as it glided down the runway. The looks were strong, beautiful, and smart--just like the designer (who I later had the pleasure of meeting). The mind behind this brand, known as C/FAN, is none other than the fabulous Christina Fan. When we met months ago, we instantly hit it off. She was a carefree, fun-loving young woman with a drive to succeed (not to mention, she's strikingly beautiful). Soon, Christina became more than the hottest emerging designer on the Chicago scene, she became a friend.
Christina Fan (Designer of C/FAN), R.M.B.,
Chelsea Lavin (Publicist for @superfun)
Last night, I was honored at the chance to join her and other fashion fans for her C/FAN Fall 2010 Fashion Preview at Dubhe Carreno Gallery, featuring sculptures by renowned artist Anne Drew Potter, and sponsored by Gen Art. The guest list was impressive, with a full range of Chicago's fashion elite showing up to support Christina including Barbara Glass (Image & Wardrobe Consultant, Speaker, Blogger, Student Mentor), Tracey Tarantino (Producer/Owner of Zzazz Productions), Monica Dimperio (Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Midwasteland), Kevin Aeh (Editor for Time Out Chicago), Meghan H. Turner (Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, Chelsea Lavin (Publicist for @superfun), and the one and only, Melissa Gamble (Director of Fashion Arts & Events for the Department of Cultural Affairs). The event began with a cocktail reception at 7p.m. and the gallery quickly filled up with Chicago's most stylish. We anxiously awaited the fashion installation, which began around 8:30p.m. (Give or take a few minutes).
Tracey Tarantino (Producer/Owner of Zzazz Productions),
Shaya Ali (Factor Models),
& Barbara Glass (Image & Wardrobe Consultant,
Speaker, Blogger, Student Mentor),
Factor Model in C/FAN Design
Sculpture by Anne Drew Potter
The resulting show was worth the wait, as C/FAN designs began to emerge in groups of three. Rather than walking a runway, the models stepped out and then stood in place so onlookers could catch a thorough glance of the new garments. (After all, that's really the point of a fashion show, isn't it?) This style of show was different from others I've attended in the past. It was great to have an opportunity to really study the designs, rather than trying to catch the details in a matter of seconds, only to watch the models disappear before you're able to grasp the concept of a garment. The resulting installation was a breath of fresh (spring) air with a fabulous palette of brilliant grays, mossy greens, and rich plum shades. The garments showed off easy fits and thoughtful cuts with a range of soft silk, flowing wool, and regal velvet. Christina's designs are what every woman desires: garments that shift seamlessly from work to play, with a keen attention to detail, and smart style. (Trust me, ladies: Your wardrobe will thank you.)
C/FAN Designs:
Many thanks to Christina Fan for inviting me to view her collection and to my good friends who joined me for such a fantastic evening. The continued success of C/FAN is inevitable and I'm excited to watch Christina evolve and thrive as a talented designer. Cheers to many more fabulous shows in the future and to Christina's continued success in Chicago...

I think it's pretty clear:
I'm a C/FAN!

Christina Fan (Designer of C/FAN)
Shaya Ali (Factor Models)
We made it to the Dubhe Carreno Gallery!
R.M.B & Maureen Refvem (Chicago Men's Style Examiner for lovely and beautiful Brianna Frederick
(Good friend and Gen Art Intern--congrats on your last event, Bri!)
Factor Models in C/FAN Designs
Joan Kittredge (Fashion Student at ILIAC),
Christina Mighty (Chicago Model & Stylist),

& Maureen Refvem (Chicago Men's Style Examiner for
Factor Models in C/FAN DesignsLONG LIVE MCQUEEN!
Chelsey Carter (Chicago Model & Designer of Alex Carter)
Factor Models in C/FAN DesignsChelsey Carter (Chicago Model & Designer of Alex Carter),
Christina Mighty (Chicago Model & Stylist),
Monica Dimperio (Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Midwasteland)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pottery Barn Opening: Lincoln Park

Thursday, February 4, 2010:
A couple weeks back I received an exciting email from Melissa Maynard, the editor-in-chief of Factio Magazine, inviting me to join her for the upcoming Pottery Barn Opening. As a big fan of Factio, I was instantly flattered and immediately RSVP'ed for myself and a few friends. On the eve of the opening, I assembled a group of my best buds, picked out a bowtie, and began my travels over to the event. Upon entering the sprawling new 15,000 square-foot space, we were greeted with smiling attendants who took our coats and sent us off on our Pottery Barn adventure. Sounds of a live jazz band (see: Stitley) could be heard throughout the space as we passed tables of gorgeous food and grabbed a glass of white wine from the upbeat servers.
Before attending the event, I had made a mental list of people I wanted to see. First on my list, was my good friend and mentor, Susanna Negovan of Michigan Avenue Magazine. I spotted her immediately, standing out from the crowd in a beautiful red dress with that "editor-in-chief glow". She was speaking with the fabulous Grace Wahler, Michigan Avenue Magazine Account Executive and Grace's charming beau, Zack Napolitano. I quickly made my way over to say hello and fill them all in on life after interning. One down on my list--two to go.

Christina Mighty, R.M.B., Grace Wahler, & Zack Napolitano
(Photo from: ChicagoNow: Candid Candace...see the full story HERE!)
While speaking with Susanna and friends over sips of white wine, I spotted the lovely Candace Jordan (Speaker, Model, Blogger, Chicago Socialite), who was next on my list. She greeted me with a big hug and I posed with friends in a picture for her blog. As the night rolled on, I was having trouble locating the last (but so not least) name on my list, Melissa Maynard, who had invited me to the event. Candace quickly came to my rescue and we went on a Pottery Barn search to find her! After looking unsuccessfully, we gave up, which really gave me a chance to get a good look at the store. Around every corner was something more visually beautiful than the next. The size of the store is really quite unbelievable and the selection is just as amazing. Candles, bedding, silverware, mirrors, glassware, drapery--you name it--they have it!
As I was grabbing a few photos of the store details I was stopped by two fabulous women, Leigh Oshirak and Michaela Wilkinson, who asked if I was "the blogger guy" they had heard about. I figured the answer was "yes, I am" and I responded as such. They had said that they had heard so much about me and were delighted to have me join them at the event. I was floored with excitement (though still unaware of who they were) until the story came to light. They were the public relations masters for the Pottery Barn and had gotten word of my attendance from my missing link of the night, Melissa Maynard! We chatted for a few and I admitted to them that I was on a search to find Melissa, only to learn that she had left only 30 minutes ago. *insert foot stomp and "grrrr"* I had just missed her!
My 'search partner', Candace Jordan and myself:
I gathered my buds and we grabbed a final glass of wine while devouring the plates of deserts that kept walking past us full of soft caramel, salted chocolate truffles, and other ridiculously tasty treats. I walked over to set my glass down at the bar (which was clearly closing at this point), turned around, and just about screamed out loud (okay, so it's very likely that I did scream out loud). There, standing behind me, was the one and only, Melissa Maynard! (She had snuck away for a moment but returned to the party just in time.) Success! We chatted for a while about her work, the magazine, and our school (Melissa also attended the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago and had actually created Factio Magazine with her husband, Henrique Kerch (CEO of Factio and also an ILIAC alum), as one of their final projects!) We grabbed a quick photo together and I joined my friends at the door, who were waiting with my coat and a "what were you doing?!" (I quickly told them I had finally found Melissa and they quickly understood.) We threw on our coats, thanked the same smiling faces at the door, and headed out into the cold Chicago evening. As I walked away from the Pottery Barn, I smiled to myself as I mentally crossed the last name off my list...

I found her! My new friend, Melissa Maynard and I:
Good friends: Candice Purnell (Mayor's Office of Special Events),
Paige Peterson (The HAUTE Spot),
& Maureen Refvem (Chicago Men's Style Examiner for

Christina Mighty (Chicago Model, Stylist, and good friend...)Yours Truly!The fabulous Monica Dimperio (Founder/Editor-in-Chief of The Midwasteland),
Christina Mighty (Chicago Model/Stylist),
& Lisa Frame (Leo Burnett Account Executive)