Chicago Looks: Style Impressions

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Chicago Fashion Incubator design director Andrea Reynders and blogger Alex Maier ( were attending the preview of the Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity exhibit at The Art Institute.

What’s your favorite piece in your outfit? Why?
Andrea: With what I am wearing this day, the favorite piece is my brooch—a handmade one designed and made by Gillion Carrara, who encrusted my children’s teeth in African wood, snakeskin and bone.
Alex: My shoes. They are Alden tassel loafers. They will last long enough for me to hand them down to my son. That is, if I get married. If not, I will gladly wear them my whole life.

What’s your approach to prints? How about color?
Andrea: My approach to color is choosing a tone or value of a color that complements skin and hair. Sometimes I consider the personality of the person I am designing for and choose colors that describe that person. In my own wardrobe I use a base palette of black, white, cream, red, and blues most of the time. I like to add prints to feel exceptional.
Alex: With prints, especially for men, fit matters the most. If the garment fits correctly men are able to be more daring. I rarely recommend mixing prints but I felt the venue would be fine for an outfit like this.

How did you feel about the exhibit? Did it inspire you in any way? 
Andrea: I love the exhibit! I feel a strong affinity to Impressionism—the colors and the moods have inspired me so many times. I thought the concept of the exhibit was brilliant and the presentation in the three significant museums so contemporary.
Alex: The exhibit was fantastic. Whether I was in the “grass room” or viewing the garments on display, the experience immersed me in the culture of Paris circa 1860. It was amazing to see how the art and fashion industry played off of each other and in ways pushed themselves to do more and say more.

—Interview and photograph by Isa Giallorenzo

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