By Alexandra Delaney
It’s that time of year when you don’t want to admit the cold winter is here, but you can’t deny the chill in the air is making it increasingly difficult to text on your phone or fumble through your purse to find your CTA card. We’d all rather walk blissfully through the orange-and-yellow fall foliage than think about digging through our winter closets. (In my case: a plastic storage bin I shoved all of my sweaters into and hid in an attempt to delay winter’s arrival. Think: if I’m not prepared for it, it just can’t be here yet.)
Instead of fighting an inevitable force of nature–winter will be here; there’s no dodging that in Chicago—there is a fun way to embrace the changing seasons. Cold weather doesn’t have to mean dull. There are new twists on blazers that will have you welcoming cool weather with arms wide open, even if it’s just to put your jacket on.
Fall is the season for layers, and blazers are the perfect addition to any outfit. Varying in weight, color and textures, they can achieve multiple looks for any scene. Chicago stylist and fashion expert Amy Salinger believes blazers are a timeless purchase:
“Blazers are a great buy because they are a foundation piece in your wardrobe. If you buy a simple style, you can make it last for years because it will always be stylish. Don’t be scared to spend more money on great blazers because they are a cost-per-wear item. You wear them a lot making them worth the cost.”
Wardrobe and prop stylist Courtney Rust agrees that the key to blazers is that sometimes it’s worth paying a little more. Rust has styled commercials for Audi, Esquire, Nike and Rolling Stone to name a few, and knows the completeness of professional quality. She cautions that cheap fabric doesn’t hang as well on the body and that a good blazer will never go out of style, making it worth the splurge. Read the rest of this entry »
Go gallery-hopping, buy beautiful clothes, then sip a glass of bubbly and nibble on dessert. Art and fashion at Atelier, then food and wine at Prosecco. “Now we have a one-two punch,” says Kathryn Alvera, co-owner of both Atelier and Prosecco, although it’s really more of a one-two-three-four punch.
Walking into Atelier is like stepping into the closet of a mature but hip art collector/clotheshorse: paintings, photographs and antiques coat the velvet walls and wooden countertops. The clothing is well-organized and dense, but there’s certainly a lot of it (for both men and women), and it ranges from cheap (I eyed a thrifted $10 C&C tank) to bank-breaking (vintage Lanvin, Chanel and Stella McCartney).
Atelier will also be working with legendary tailoring house Cesare Attolini to design custom suits. Alvera says “It’s something of a coup” that the prestigious Neapolitan suit-makers are partnering with her boutique, which opened in April, but she’s convinced the exquisite suits, with prices reaching far upwards of $4,000, will find a niche among sartorial Chicagoans. Read the rest of this entry »
1165 N. Clark, Suite 400, (312)640-3878, sofiavintage.com [ratings]
Goods: Men’s and women’s vintage apparel. Designers: Bob Mackie, Gucci, Ungaro , Armani, Escada, Chanel, Missoni and Valentino. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE: The current version of this listing is found here.
5668 N. Clark, (773)447-8527, mrandmrsdigz.com
Goods: Men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and gifts. Designers: Mixing couture vintage with great new finds, you can find everything from classic Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel to fun tees, hoodies and frocks from labels like Eva May, Nabi and Corporate Punk. Read the rest of this entry »
“Chic Chicago, ” the newest exhibit at the Chicago History Museum, highlights more than fifty high-end couture gowns chosen from the museum’s collection of more than 50,000 historical pieces. The exhibit is a unique juxtaposition of high-brow and low-brow, of silk, pearls and satin set against a backdrop of soot, metal and blood. In a city famous for its slaughterhouses and gangsters, Chicago’s elite sought to rise above their hometown’s stigma by flaunting fashion from the most expensive and cutting-edge couture boutiques in Europe. On display are dresses donned by notable Chicago women between 1861 and 2008: Mrs. Potter Palmer II was presented to the Queen of England in a chiffon Madeleine Vionnet gown in 1938; nearly sixty years later, Oprah Winfrey wore a Chanel evening gown she purchased on Michigan Avenue. While admiring the exquisite beauty of these fashion masterpieces, visitors are constantly reminded of the gritty, industrial city in which these gowns were worn. At a mirrored vanity against one wall, guests are welcome to apply the perfume of their choice: Chanel’s infamous No. 5… or the timeless stink of the stockyard. (Laura Hawbaker)
“Chic Chicago” runs at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 North Clark, through July 26, 2009.
Line: Anna Fong
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.