The Art of Shopping: Picking Among the Finds at Fashion Chicago

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By Alexandra Delaney

Throngs of moms and daughters, friends, significant others and families turned the cement pavement at Millennium Park into an urban runway as they shopped Chicago fashion designer’s collections. Fashion Chicago, presented by, rounded up local designers for a free shopping event that allowed visitors to peruse and purchase pieces from the local artists’ fall, winter and spring collections.

A table of glistening jewels served as a warm welcome. K. Amato’s sparkly, gemmed jewelry contains colorful stones set in fourteen-karat gold fill, plated eighteen-karat gold and sterling silver. Her signature is gold-filled chains. Several pieces evoke the holidays, like the gold chain bracelets laid on top of green and red bands. All of the handmade pieces have a charming feature, from delicately crafted shapes to Swarovski crystals and glass stones. Read the rest of this entry »

Designer Spotlight: Blake Standard

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Photo by Antone of

Photo by Antone of

Designer: Pierre Colorado

Background: New York native Pierre Colorado attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. During his sixteen-year career, he worked for Abercrombie, Levis, Nautica and more before launching his own collection.

Design Aesthetic: Blake Standard is all about simple lines, balanced color and comfort. “I hate overdesigned objects,” says Colorado.

Designer Inspirations: The customer’s lifestyles are the number-one source of inspiration for Blake Standard. “I design into her daily wardrobe needs,” says Colorado.

Chicago Inspirations: “We have a terrific urban landscape, yet I can bike to the park and the lake in eight minutes from my house,” says Colorado. “We have the latest stores and art exhibits, but also have a great deal of independent artists and one-off shops.” Read the rest of this entry »

Blake Standard

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4140 N. Sheridan, (773)472-7220,

Goods: Women’s contemporary sportswear. Designers: The label’s own line is backed by creative director and designer, Pierre Colorado. Owner: Having worked for huge lifestyle labels like Abercrombie & Fitch, Perry Ellis and Levi’s, Colorado brings his twelve plus years of design experience to Oakbrook with thus, his latest venture. Vibe: SoHo chic. The store is meant to embody the London loft Colorado sees the “Blake woman” inhabiting. Price Range: Moderate-Expensive. Shopper’s Perks: Although the Blake Standard line has been featured in boutiques like Perchance and Cinnamon, Oakbrook serves as their flagship – the very first to debut and exclusively feature the line in its entirety.

By Design: Nothing standard about Blake Standard

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main 1What do you do when you’ve designed for some of the biggest labels in the world before your fortieth birthday? Brands like Perry Ellis, Levi’s and Abercrombie & Fitch? If you’re Pierre Colorado, you take matters—and fabric—into your own hands and launch your very own clothing line.

“When I was ready to leave Abercrombie, it was kind of a life-changing decision,” he says. “I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I had opportunities in both New York and Los Angeles, [but] I just wasn’t ready to go to another corporate community.”

Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Colorado took the plunge. “Having my own label is something that I’ve always aspired to,” he says. “I was always interested in it. I was always drawing, sketching—I was always drawn to fashion.” Read the rest of this entry »


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3512 N. Southport, (773)244-1300, [ratings]
Goods: Clothing, accessories and shoes for women. Designers: Clothing by Diane Von Furstenberg, Cynthia Steffe, Alice + Olivia, Qi Cashmere, Blake Standard, Adam, Mackage; shoes by Bettye Muller, La Canadienne, Anyi Lu, Attilio Giusti; bags by MZ Wallace. Owner: Upon graduating from Northwestern’s graduate school of business, Mary Liz Lehman pursued her longtime dream of opening up her own boutique. Vibe: Vintage glam all the way. The black-and-white décor, green accents and large black chandeliers evoke a classic feel, while photos of style icons such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Faye Dunaway are a nod to old-school Hollywood glamour (as well as style inspirations). Price Range: Moderate-Expensive. The Look: The Perchance girl looks good from top to bottom, whether she’s running to Target or to dinner at Takashi. The stock caters to the economic range, providing affordable outfits for the college crew headed to the Hidden Shamrock, or the more established folks for a dinner date at Sepia. Shopper’s Perks: Perchance is one of the standard signature stores for the Blake Standard brand.



The Knitting Standard

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The April sun shines through the windows of Pierre Colorado’s Lincoln Park studio, but the designer’s got December on his mind. As founder and head designer of Blake Standard, a line of chic, casual knits that can be found in stores like Bloomingdale’s and Anthropologie, Colorado is constantly on the hunt for inspiration—and he recently stumbled upon a top that got him dreaming of tinsel and mistletoe. As he stands before the lace-adorned blouse—now tacked onto the holiday section of his inspiration wall—Colorado laughingly describes the garment as a “vintage who knows what.” It’s the lush, jewel-like pink of the shirt that grabs him, and the fuchsia hue will set the perfect celebratory tone for next winter’s collection.

But before carols come back on the airwaves, we’ve (hopefully) got plenty of seventy-degrees-and-sunny days to dress for, and the Blake Standard collection currently in stores has fashionable city-dwellers covered. “We make sportswear for the girl who wants to look cute all the time,” Colorado says, “whether she’s at a cocktail party or dressing casually for the weekend. All our pieces are denim-friendly, but they’re not ‘just a tee.’” Indeed, the detailing of Blake Standard knits—intricate piping, sophisticated silhouettes and buttery fabrics that Colorado produces himself—give the collection a look that’s entirely more polished than your average bumming-around gear. Take, for example, the pocketed tunic hoodie. It’s the kind of comfy-chic wardrobe staple that puts you at ease and manages to make you look good either on the plane or in the office. And because much of the spring line was inspired by trends prevalent in eveningwear (think of pleating and ruffles), some of the pieces could even dress a girl for a stylish soiree.

By the time spring 2008 rolls around, both sexes will be able to take advantage of the Chicago-based line. “The menswear will have a lot of light colors, some sailing references, and details like patches and stressing,” Colorado says, pointing to an inspiration wall that shows photos of a back-in-the-day Paul Newman. “The clothes will be for men that aren’t fussy or what I call ‘shiny’—you know,” he smiles, “the guys that wear belts with huge silver logos.” (Jennifer Berg)