In this economy, you might be wondering how to spend less money on your wardrobe without looking cheap. Teonna Ingram and Bree Lara have the solution. At their store, Borrow a Dress Couture (BADC), a girl can rent a designer dress from the likes of Vera Wang, Alexander McQueen or Dolce & Gabbana for three days for a quarter of the retail price. Since women rarely wear a formal dress very many times, dress rental, says Ingram, is a great way to “save money and still look fabulous,” especially with rental prices ranging from $35-$300. (Dresses are also available for sale in the $150-$3,000 range.) “Women, no matter what the economy, still have events they have to attend,” Lara notes. Inspired by tuxedo-rental stores, Ingram and Lara say they saw a need to have a similar establishment for women. “It’s bound to happen in Chicago. Why not be the first to do it?” argues Ingram. Read the rest of this entry »
Designer: Annie Novotny
Background: Annie Novotny graduated from the School of the Art Institute in 2004 with a BFA in Fashion Design, but she could always be found in the school’s Fiber and Materials Department “weaving, dyeing and making weird things.”
Design Aesthetic: The philosophy is all about balance and sustainability with Frei. She combines elements of menswear tailoring with organic fabrics “which allow for a more natural or softer feel” to her designs.
Designer Inspirations: Though Novotny doesn’t generally keep tabs on other designers, she admires Marni’s laidback elegance as well as Alexander McQueen’s glitz and glamour. “I really love the theatrics; I think it’s pretty mind-blowing with what he does,” she says.
Chicago Inspirations: Her main source of local inspiration is Chicago’s creative community and her many talented friends that she can always bounce ideas off. Read the rest of this entry »
Background: Fong studied Fashion Design at Columbia College Chicago, and after a stint with Chaps Ralph Lauren in New York, she moved back to her hometown of Chicago to start her own line. In 2007, Fong (who is of Guatemalan and Chinese decent) won the 2007 AOL Latino Fashionista award, and was named a “rising star” by Fashion Group International.
The pieces: Classic clothing with modern details. Fong combines colors and neutrals, and her silhouettes elegantly hug a woman’s curves yet allow for plenty of movement.
Designer Inspirations: Carolina Herrera, Alexander McQueen, Elie Saab, Sonia Rykiel, Berardi, Chanel.
Chicago inspirations: “Fall in Chicago inspires me. I love the change of season and the smell of autumn in the brisk air. It makes me visualize stylishly layered garments in a mild winter setting.”
On being a designer in Chicago: “It’s definitely a competitive and challenging career choice. Chicago is giving local designers exposure, networking opportunities and workshops for designers to learn more about the business. On the other hand, we lack resources in regards to fabric suppliers, contractors and showrooms.”
What to look for: Keep your eyes peeled for Fong’s creation on the pages of glossy magazines. Celebrities have latched on to her collection, as Kimora Lee Simmons, Nadine Velazquez and former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres have donned her designs. Check out her Fall ’08 trunk show at Malabar on October 11.
Where to find Anna Fong: Macy’s State Street. Also watch for her Web site launch at anna-fong.com.
873 N. Rush, (312)587-1000, ikram.com [ratings]
Goods: Clothing and accessories for women. Designers: Proenza Schouler, Narciso Rodriguez, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens, Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Thakoon and Undercover. Owner: Ikram Goldman has run her eponymous Gold Coast boutique for more than seven years. A famous champion of emerging design talent, Goldman’s killer eye earns her frequent mentions in the pages of Vogue. Vibe: Serene and upscale. A series of arches in the walls, swatches of gold and ornately carved wooden screens create the feeling of a haute fashion temple. Price Range: Luxury. The Look: Sophisticated fashion editor. Italian movie star. Jet-setting heiress. This woman has a weakness for glamour and a keen, intellectual understanding of fashion. Shopper’s Perks: Despite her status as couture queen of Chicago, Ikram Goldman is warm, open and charismatic. She lavishes attention and expert sartorial advice on each of her clients—plus, she throws the most fabulous parties in town.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009