Friday, September 16, 2011

A Very Merry "Fashion's Night Out"

Thursday, September 8, 2011:
It can be said that anything Anna Wintour creates/endorses/promotes turns into fashion gold.  Well - I said it ... not sure if you agree - but seriously?  That women is a powerful fashion genius.  Moving on..

In New York - 2009 - Ms. Wintour (be polite - or she'll eat you) - started "Fashion's Night Out", "as a means to encourage consumers to shop and support the fashion industry during the tough economic climate." (wikifashion)  Now, just two years later, FNO is celebrated in over 250 cities (and in NYC alone, over 1000 retailers continue the new tradition.)  
This year - Chicago was no exception - with events popping up all over town to celebrate our love of fashion.  Michigan Avenue was buzzing with stylish fetes this year - as was Oak Street and so many other retailers across the city.  (In fact, the new TOPSHOP|TOPMAN opened to the public on September 8th - which Chicago clearly has a huge crush on already.)

I was honored to be able to attend The 900 Shops FNO event called "Fame, Fashion & Flavor: 900's Night Out" - which was hosted by ... waaaaaait for it:  THE Brad Goreski. *swoons - passes out - hits head - dreams of Brad - wakes up again to continue writing this post* ... Where was I?  Oh yes ... the event was also sponsored by my buds at CS Magazine, the wonderful women at Julie Watson Style, Gilt City, Fig Media (shout out to my favorite fashion DJ - Megan Taylor!), Event Creative, eDrop-Off (who had an amazing photo booth), Agency Galatea (so proud of my girls and guys!) and many other fantastic local businesses that gave their time, energy and services to make this outstanding event come to life.  
The result?  An absolute fashion success - and in my opinion - one of the best parties on the Avenue.  (Biased?  Maybe - but I don't lie - so that makes me right.)
(L) Brad & Paige Ann Peterson ... (M) Kelli Zink & Brad ... (R) Candace Jordan & Brad
Agency Galatea Guys and Girls with Brad Goreski:
 (L) Briana, Brad & Katie ... (M) Saba & Nick ... (R) Brad and Josh:
 (L to R - Back Row) Josh, Nick, Mike & Thomas
(Front Row) Julie Watson & Annie Barlow
Once my models had walked the runway and the event was settling down - I joined a group of friends to head over to support one of my favorite Chicago shops - Sofia Vintage on Oak Street.  We walked over (everyone looking dashing - like it was Fashion Christmas) to check out who was "Living Lovely" at 72 East Oak.  We arrived and were greeted by many familiar faces.  I ran into one of my favorite Chicago fashion photographers, Bryan Whitely - and then was thrilled to see the lovely Ciara Newby.  We went outside to get some air (Sofia was hoppin!) and ran into Mr. Ian Doran - who had just come from work at Jack Spade (lucky.)  The crowd outside was fantastic - such a mix of styles and conversations and handshakes.

As I departed for home, I decided to leave my headphones in my pocket and take it all in.  I strolled up Oak Street and then continued South on Rush.  Everywhere I looked, there were glimpses of fashion - like an entire city had taken an extra few minutes to put on something
special this evening. The city was buzzing with an energy that was quite different than any other day when I have walked these streets. I smiled as I strolled, a bit slower than normal - hands in my pockets, grinning like a child on Christmas morning.

Only - this was different - this was Fashion Christmas...

...and this perfectly stylish night was my gift.

Happy "Fashion's Night Out", Chicago.



P.s.  To check out my FNO interview with Chicago 3 Media, click HERE.   (:
Merry Fashion Christmas to ME.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Night in Paris, to Welcome London: The TOPSHOP|TOPMAN Private Dinner

Wednesday, September 7, 2011:
After attending the fantastic TOPSHOP|TOPMAN private shopping event - it was soon time to head over to Paris Club for the private dinner, hosted by Sir Philip Green.  (What a private day I was having.)  I was only allowed to arrive solo, so I threw the bowtie back on in the office and began my way over to the event.

Once I arrived - I was checked in and given a small card with a number on it ... a table number.  I memorized the number '11' and did what any solo party-goer would do - I located the bar.  A handsome bartender walked over and I asked him what the deal was tonight.  His response? ... "It's open bar, sir." ... "Oh?", I thought - "It's that kind of a party?"  I order a whiskey/coke and before the I'm-alone-and-it's-awkward set in, Emma Arnold of Tres Awesome (one of my favorite fashion blogs) nudged me on the shoulder.  She was a welcomed sight - with her cool, calm demeanor and leather jacket-over a t-shirt-over a dress hotness.  It was about to begin...

Before I could could make that slurping sound with my straw (more whiskey, please) - we had a full-on party going.  I saw Samantha Saifer (CS Magazine) across the room - looking amazing (those pants?! - love.) ... James Goeke and I spotted each other, both raised a 'hello hand' and he came by to gossip (P.s. LOVE him, James!) ... not far behind him, his wifey Jessica Zweig (Cheeky Chicago) came over for a smooch/hug combo ... I finally met the handsome Mr. Anderson Bell (FanFueled Tickets) and ordered him another Stella, as he told us about how he keeps his girlish figure ... my obsessions walked in shortly after - Christina Fan (C/FAN) and Ms. April Francis (AF - Refinery29 Contributor - Total Fox) - #CallMeYouTwo ...  Getting the point?  The room was packed with Chicago's most stylish and elite - and there I was ... somehow invited to be in the middle of it all.
Christina Fan & Bridget White:
The original time for dinner (8p) had come and passed (though, most of us didn't notice - see: open bar.)  As it approached 8:30p. I heard someone say "Well - Miley's not here yet."  I'm sorry - what?!  At this point, my stomach is Not. Happy. with said Miley Cyrus, who is holding us back from quite a delicious, fancy dinner.  So ... we wait.  Around 9p. it is time and I begin the search for No. 11.  

Arriving at my table, I was delighted to be sitting with some of my favorite Chicagoans.  I just about squealed when Molly Each (Michigan Avenue Magazine) scooted in to my right - love that women.  To my left - Ms. Bridget White (eDrop-Off) sat down (looking as beautiful as ever) ... minutes later, we'd be swapping childhood stories and literally holding back tears - xo, B-dub!  Across from me sat a stellar lineup of Chicago's finest men:  Matt Lee (Editor-in-Chief of The Men's Book) - which, to me, is liking sitting across from Oprah ... Jason Berngard (Market Lead, Gilt City), whom is marrying my girlfriend, Sam Saifer (don't tell him) ... and Michael Corrigan (Zapwater Communications) - THE man of the hour (as far as I'm concerned), who had a hand in planning the entire night.  Excellent work, Michael!

After everyone was settled, watered and wined - it was time to hear from Sir Philip Green - the man behind TOPSHOP|TOPMAN.  He stood and spoke kindly - telling us how thrilled he was to be in Chicago and how much he was looking forward to growing his business here.  After a few words - we raised our glasses and had a cheers to TOPSHOP|TOPMAN ... and rightfully so.
So - there we were - drinking fantastic wine, eating shrimp the size of my hand and having conversations that I wanted to last all night.  I could have thought of no better way to end the summer - surrounded by amazing, hardworking (and really good-looking) people - sipping wine - laughing and eating absolutely delicious food.  I didn't think it could get any better - until dinner was over.
Full and ready to burn those calories - the crew headed upstairs to the roof - aka: Studio Paris (which I had never been) - for another round of open bar (Sir Philip - I love you) and some stellar DJ sets.  There, I shook it up with Monica Dimperio (The MidWasteland), Kevin Aeh (Time Out Chicago), the handsome Ian Doran (Jack Spade) - and of course, Miley (who - by this time - had stolen someone's suspenders and thought it would be like, so funny to wear them with her outfit.)
LOOK at me, Miley!
Here was what I remember of our conversation:

Ryan:  "Hi.  I'm Ryan."

Miley:  (in that weird voice of hers)  "Hiii.  I'm Miii-lay"  (What?  She has an accent.)

They shake hands.  They dance for approximately 48 seconds.  They part ways.

Shorty after this experience, I was back to my girl Bridget, shakin' it like it was Saturday.  Until I realized ... it was Wednesday ... and 2a.m. ... and definitely time to go...
Kevin Aeh & Monica Dimperio:

As the cab drove through the streets of Chicago - wind whipping through the window - I thought about the truly amazing evening TOPSHOP|TOPMAN had created for us that night.  Never before had I been to an event like it ... and it took a shop from across the pond to give me that experience.  

As the cab driver reached my place, I had only one thought on my mind:  When is the next TOPSHOP|TOPMAN opening?!

(I just hope I make the list.)


Myself, Christina Fan & Bridget White:
Monica Dimperio ends the night with some #SASS:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chicago (with an English accent): TOPSHOP|TOPMAN Arrives on Michigan Avenue

 Wednesday, September 7, 2011:
Hello, my friends ... it has certainly been too long - and I've missed you dearly.  Between hustling at the agency, freelance work and a move - I have been a bit distracted from the world of the bowtie.  I can't promise it wont happen again - but I can tell you I will always be back!

Speaking of being back ... I have good reason to be.

Have you heard a small whisper or tiny chatter about this little shop that opened up on Michigan Avenue?  Have you?

Ok - who am I kidding? ... Ladies and gentlemen - TOPSHOP|TOPMAN IS HERE ... and boy do they know how to make a stylish scene.

I recently received an invitation in the mail to attend the TOPSHOP|TOPMAN private shopping event and was definitely intrigued.  I was thrilled at the chance to check out the goods before anyone else - and since I have been a hermit lately, I couldn't think of a better excuse to shed the shell.

I arrived around lunch with my Agency Galatea boss, Marie P. Anderson - and quickly got to work checking out the merch.  We started on the ground floor and combed through the women's garments.  I loved the colors and textures - great styles and cuts - and decent price points.  (Marie was gawking over a very Gaga-esque t-shirt with a faded cross printed on it and cut-out shoulders.)  
After a few minutes - I began whining about wanting to see the TOPMAN floor and we caught the escalator up to Floor 1 for what was the beginning of many fashion heart attacks.  I loved the massive visual display in the men's section and the low ceiling kind of made it feel a bit more chic - like a secret (though, real fancy) basement shop.  The visuals are almost too much to take - but I'm okay with a little over-stimulation during shopping.
I can't speak on fit, as I did not yet try on the clothes - but I loved the looks that I saw.  Great basic wovens (with interesting added touches) - drop-crotch jeans and slacks that slim near the ankle - and THE suit.  Yes - THE suit.  I had a total moment when I saw it and I think I scared Marie out of her shoes from the squeal that came out of my mouth.  (Fashion heart attack alert.)  I wanted to strip this maroon creation right off the mannequin - AND the bowtie.  I'll say no more - have a look below.  (I died.)
After a few photo opp's, courtesy of Tyler Curtis (and Matthew Reeves of - we made it down to Level -1.  First of all - "Level -1?"  It's kind of unnecessary to call it that (and I kind, sort of, totally love it and want to use it in daily language to describe where I am at, should I be in a basement.)  Level -1 houses walls of shoes, accessories, more garments (women's, if I remember correctly) and more gorgeous people that work at this delicious store.
After browsing every level of TOPSHOP|TOPMAN, I can safely say that I am in love.  Not only is the store visually beautiful - but it adds some much needed fashion street cred to Michigan Avenue (along with the sexy new AllSaints store.)  The prices are affordable and the styles are more edgy and London-ey than your average H&M.  (Did I just say London-ey?)  Chicago has been buzzing with word of this new shop and TOPSHOP|TOPMAN has done a very good job at creating such buzz.  If you haven't had a chance to check out the store - you must.  I guarantee you'll walk out with something you love - and if you're not careful, you may even catch an English accent.