Walking into the Chicago Fashion Incubator feels like walking onto the set of Project Runway, but there’s a crucial difference: the incubator’s six designers are here to stay. They’re at the incubator for a year—all of them. These designers aren’t competing, and their runway shows are a time for celebration, not cruel dismissals. At a meet-and-greet this week, these designers are all smiles and great outfits, and while their naivete about the fashion industry is quickly disappearing, they still have the enthusiasm and optimism of young, creative entrepreneurs. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s a week after opening, and Cerato owner Tracey Glibowski is reordering Kristin Hassan’s drapey asymmetrical “Flow” tanks; a lone Jlee Silver maxidress—equal parts Hamptons and Mt. Olympus—hangs in the corner, the last in-stock representative of its kind. In other words, it’s been a pretty good first week at the new Southport women’s clothing boutique, which is dedicated to showcasing primarily local designers.
The store is clearly a labor of love for Glibowski, a former advertising exec whose recent layoff inspired her to turn her passion for fashion into a career. Surveying the store, a spartan-but-not-sterile space with exposed brick and country-chic blue wallpaper, she seems a little bit amazed at how well things have turned out. After all, Glibowski started with a concept but no insider knowledge of the Chicago fashion scene—she says she discovered many of the designers she features by trolling the internet. So far, though, she seems thrilled with the results.
“It’s a partnership,” she says of her designers. “I hope they’re in it for the long haul.” Which doesn’t mean she’s stopped combing the city for new talent—in time, she’s definitely looking to add new names to her roster, which currently includes Kate Boggiano, Eskell, Anna Fong, frei designs, jules, Avery Layne, Horacio Nieto, and Shorty Clothing, along with Hassan, Silver and a handful of out-of-town imports. Read the rest of this entry »
The roster for the Make a Statement: Design for the Cure runway show reads like a who’s who of Chicago design: Lara Miller, Melissa Serpico, Kate Boggiano, Kristin Rosynek Hassan of organiK Revolution and Lydia Wachowska of Evil Kitty are just a few of the designers contributing time and designs to the fashionable fundraiser. For Boggiano, it was an honor to use her talents for a good cause. “It’s great that Chicago is focusing on fashion, but it’s great too that charities are using fashion shows as a way to raise money.”
In its second year, the Make a Statement runway show is the primary event for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Junior Board, an organization that aims to raise AIDS awareness among 21-35-year-olds (particularly awareness for National Testing Day on June 27). For that young demographic, a style-related event was a perfect fit. “A fashion event is an effective, fun way to bring young people together and educate them on HIV and AIDS,” says Junior Board VP Patrick Marsden. The 2007 event drew more than 200 attendees, and this year’s promises to exceed 300, with VIP tickets long since sold out. Last year, each designer received a similar swatch of red fabric and was asked to create a signature garment. But this year the Board has switched things up, allowing designers to show off designs of their choosing. “You’ll see a really diverse range of styles from even more designers this year, which will allow a more fresh, entertaining show,” Marsden says.
Hosted by Project Runway alum Stephen Rosengard, the show will kick off with a parade of clever AIDS awareness t-shirts, modeled by members of the Junior Board, emblazoned with sayings such as “condoms: for wieners, not wallets” and “AIDS apathy makes your ass look big.” In addition to the local design showcase, guests will also enjoy an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment and can contribute further to the cause via a raffle and silent auction. (Molly Each)
The Make a Statement: Design for the Cure takes place May 8 at Le Passage, 937 North Rush, (312)255-0022. 7pm-10pm. $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Visit aidschicago.org/events for tickets and more information.
330 S. Dearborn, (312)212-8860, florodora.com [ratings]
Goods: Clothing and accessories for women; also home goods and stationery. Designers: Dresses and separates from Twinkle by Wenlan, Nougat London, Sita Murt and local designers Lara Miller and Kate Boggiano. Owner: Michael Blossom opened Florodora in the Monadnock Building, where his grandmother worked as an office girl in 1917. He named the store after the famously beautiful chorus girls in “Florodora,” a musical comedy from 1899. Vibe: With silk, tasseled lamps, a red-velvet chaise lounge, floors shellacked in floral paper and a display of sweet-smelling soaps perched in an antique sink, the shop feels like it could be the apartment of a turn-of-the-century temptress. Price Range: Moderate-Expensive. The Look: The clothing selection—defined by silky, touchable fabrics, dainty bits of lace and velvet and fine tailoring—is perfect gear for a modern Florodora girl. Shopper’s Perks: Preferred customers are privy to special discounts. Get discounted alterations on Florodora merchandise at the dry cleaners across the hall.
UPDATED OCTOBER 2009