Lights, Camera, Fashion: Taking Note of the Art of Fashion Show

Designers, Events/Exhibitions, Fashion Focus Chicago, Fashion Shows No Comments »

Michael Alan Stein/Photo: Courtesy of (photographer: Don Marshall)

By Alexandra Delaney

Spotted on Randolph Street: sparkles, sequins and fluffy fur shawls. The glamorous getups weren’t costumes for Halloween, but fashion-fascinated Chicagoans sure got a treat as they gathered at Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade for the Art of Fashion show. The fashion show was one of many events throughout the week as part of Fashion Focus Chicago.

The dark autumn night was offset by a soft red glow peeking through the plastic walls of the white tent. The scene was sleek: soft white couches, tall white tables just the right height to hold a cocktail, and sparkling red lights. The attendees were a group as mixed in age as they were in garb—zebra print jeans to black glittery dresses to patterned denim pants—but they were all unified by their interest in fashion.

Despite the drizzle, the atmosphere under the big white tent was sizzling during the runway fashion show as ten Chicago designers showed pieces from their Spring 2013 collections.  The featured designers included Barbara Bates, Borris Powell, Eva Pazola, Lara Miller, Michael Alan Stein, Michelle Tan, Nade Baer, RÜCH (Ruchika Singh), SHALINI (Shalini Sharma) and SWABY (Shernett Swaby). Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion Focus Chicago 2011 Complete Schedule

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Here’s the press release from the city with the complete FFC schedule for this fall.



Final schedule of events for the seventh annual celebration of Chicago’s fashion industry

Fashion Focus Chicago, a week-long celebration of Chicago’s thriving fashion industry taking place Monday, October 17 through Sunday, October 23, showcases some of the city’s top designers and features runway shows in Millennium Park and at various locations around the city, plus a variety of free and affordable shopping and designer events and industry happenings. The week’s activities are coordinated and directed by the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC) in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Read the rest of this entry »

Fashion Focus Chicago 2009 Schedule

Fashion Focus Chicago No Comments »

Here’s the complete schedule for this week’s Fashion Focus Chicago, in unedited form from the city:


Fashion Focus Chicago, a celebration of Chicago’s thriving fashion industry, returns for a fifth year in 2009. Running from Thursday, October 22 through Sunday, October 25 Fashion Focus Chicago showcases some of the city’s top designers, and features runway shows in Millennium Park and at various locations around the city as well as shopping events, and industry seminars.

For the first time this year, Fashion Focus has partnered with some of downtown Chicago’s most chic hotels to offer special shopping packages and exclusive Fashion Focus amenities. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a personalized experience at one of these world-class hotels while immersing themselves in Chicago’s hip fashion scene.

For more information, including making reservations for Fashion Focus 2009 events or booking hotel accommodations, please Read the rest of this entry »

Michelle Tan

-Womenswear, Bucktown No Comments »

1872 N. Damen, (773)252-1888, [ratings]
Goods: Women’s clothing and accessories. Designers: Fab Studio jewelry, custom designs by Michelle Tan, Randall Hill and Ming. Owner: Design whiz Michelle Tan, who won Gen Art’s Fresh Faces in Fashion 2005. Vibe: Silver and white hues flood a minimalist space where Tan’s merchandise dangles from floating racks. But there’s none of that pretentious “gallery vibe” here; Tan is chatty, fun and full of energy. Price Range: Expensive, with some moderately priced accessories. The Look: Cutting-edge but still extremely pretty. This sartorially curious gal loves finding new ways to wear a garment. She loves subtle feminine frills and has a thing for ribbon. Shopper’s Perks: If you see something you need, but it isn’t in your size, Tan will custom make it for you.


Michelle Tan

New Kids on the Fashion Block

Designers, Events/Exhibitions No Comments »

As Fashion Focus Chicago kicks off this month, there’s no better place to check out the brand spankin’ new designer talent than at the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show. The young designer showcase (in its fifth year in Chicago, sixteenth in New York) has garnered a reputation as the place to view up-and-coming talent, and has helped designers like Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Michelle Tan and Orlando Espinoza to the next level. According to Gen Art Chicago director Amanda Nosal, fashion designers are definitely in need of extra support.
“One of the main things for designers is to show their collections during fashion week. Doing that in New York costs $50,000 and up, but it’s the only way to get collections in front of everyone all at once,” she says. The Gen Art solution? Sponsorship. Each sponsor’s logo graces the stage behind one of the collections, allowing them to showcase ten young designers, many of whom would have remained undiscovered without the helpful boost.
To create the show Nosal spends the year scouring the scene for buzz-worthy designers. A few months before the final selection she contacts in-the-know shops like Jake and Hejfina to see what new local lines they’re excited about. With many of this year’s designers on only their second or third collections, the pool of talent will undoubtedly be fashionably cutting-edge. “I think this year we’re showing designers that I haven’t heard a lot of talk about [outside the fashion industry],” Nosal says. “They’re really new and really fresh, which is exciting” Included on the list are womenswear designers Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Moire Conroy, menswear line Wrath Arcane and accessories collections by Winifred Grace and Kinsley Handbags.
While the short-term goals of the show focus on exposing our local talent to the fashion world, their long-term ambitions involve turning Chicago into the next great designer haven.
“Chicago has great designers, but not a ton to pick from. I hope as the show and Fashion Focus grow that more designers are encouraged to stay and create their business here,” Nosal says. “That’s what the goal is.” (Molly Each)

The Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show takes place October 9 at 7:30pm at Millennium Park. For ticket information check out or

Open for Business: Florodora

*New Boutiques No Comments »

Before Michael Blossom gets the chance to welcome you to Florodora, his new South Loop shop on the first level of the Monadnock Building, old-fashioned charm leaps out to greet you.

To decorate Florodora—which is named after a musical comedy from 1899—Blossom sourced era-appropriate fixtures from antique shops. “The chorus girls of Florodora were famously sexy and beautiful,” Blossom says. “Millionaires would go to the show to find wives, so the turnover rate for chorus girls was really high.” 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 one of these turn-of-the-century temptresses. And 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.

Of the current offerings, standout pieces include a lilac-hued, linen jacket from Twinkle by Wenlan, Yoana Baraschi’s cotton and silk Dreamland Flower Dress (very “Midsummer Night’s Dream”), Nara Camicie’s cap-sleeve, linen blouse with a gathered front and a pale green, empire dress with floral embroidery from Nougat London. Florodora has the Chicago exclusive on Sofada, a line of bright, whimsical pieces made of intricately textured fabrics—check out the pink microdot dress coat.

Local designers, artists and even confectioners make cameos throughout the shop. Michelle Tan’s lacy dresses dangle from the clothing racks. Later, Michael will carry stylish handbags from local designer Joelle Nadine. At the cash wrap (made of a set of drawers from an old English store) find made-in-Chicago Translucent Chocolates, caramels by Katherine Anne and note cards and candles by Snow & Graham.

The opening of Florodora serves to resurrect some of the neighborhood’s grand past: “In the early 1900s,” Blossom says, “everyone shopped in the Loop.” But his affection for the South Loop goes beyond a historical interest—in 1917, Blossom’s grandmother was an office girl on the seventh floor of the Monadnock Building. “And that didn’t hurt when it came to choosing a location,” he confesses. (Jennifer Berg)

Florodora, 330 South Dearborn, (312)212-8860