For the past 57 years, Children’s Service Board, an affiliated organization of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has hosted the Gold Coast Fashion Awards Show and competition to showcase both current and emerging designers. Past award winners include Romona Keveza, Oleg Cassini, Bibhu Mohapatra, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, Donna Karan, Angel Sanchez, Maria Pinto, b Michael, Monique Lhullier, Dennis Basso and Gustavo Cadile.Second City Style has covered the Gold Coast Fashion Awards Show every year since we started over seven years ago, and each year we met some of the most outstanding fashion designers in the country. Designers in the competition are often well-known or at the start of their careers. This fundraiser includes cocktails, a luncheon and a fashion show. The audience has the opportunity to cast a vote for their favorite designer’s fall collection in the competition. Last year’s winner, Fabiola Arias, opened this year’s show with her fall collection and accepted the Gold Coast Fashion Award. Designers competing for the 2012 award included Lyn Devon, Tess Giberson, Wes Gordon, Stacy Lomman, Misha Nonoo, Rolando Santana and Rubin Singer. In addition to the competition segment, retailer partners in the 2012 show included Chalk, Mark Shale, McElroy Furs, Neiman Marcus, Perchance and Saks Fifth Avenue.
I met last years winner, Fabiola Arias, (who’s own dress was to die for) and she told me that her line can be found at in couture at Neiman Marcus in Chicago. Fabiola, first recognized as a FGI New York Rising Star winner, told me her line does really well in Chicago. Her gorgeous couture dresses are flattering for women of all sizes and draw attention to the waist. She approaches each piece like brushstrokes on a painting or a work of art.
This year was the first year that included a “Blogger’s Bar” where Chicago style-influencers Racked, Cheeky, ChiCity Fashion, SocialLife Chiacgo, and Second City Style gave their play by play via Twitter, Facebook or live blogging. The winner chosen for 2012 was Wes Gordon. Prior to the awards show, I met and spoke with some of the competing fashion designers. It is really difficult to choose one winner since they were all excellent.
Rubin Singer was one of the designers in the 2012 competition. His name may sound familiar because he has dressed celebrities on the red carpet including Cynthia Bailey (he designed her bridal dress in Real Housewives of Atlanta), Christine Baranski, Solange Knowles and Glen Close. His fall collection of red and black was inspired by Spanish conquistadores in his recent trip to Spain.
Stacy Lomman is an emerging designer that may become your new go-to designer for one of a kind, boutique pieces. With over 16 years of experience working with other designer in New York, she set out on her own recently and was a finalist in the Rising Star Awards in 2012 in New York. Stacy told me that she thinks there is a new wave of intelligent designers that are coming back, and women are looking for unique high end boutique pieces, and don’t want to all look the same. Stacy’s pieces are clean and sexy, with interesting Italian fabrics and details, like the jacket and skirt she is wearing. I love the piping on the skirt. Her collection for fall ’12 was “mod” and included black and white houndstooth and bright blue and red separates.
Rolando Santanawowed me with his leather dress on Natasha Huang. His fall collection included fabrics of heavy texture, heavy tweeds and his signature trench coat. He showed at New York Fashion Week spring ’13 and his greatest influence was from water from his travels to Acapulco Island and to France. In both places he was drawn to the calm and peacefulness of the seas. He told me his spring ’13 show at I Beam studio included a huge painting by Rand Ortner as his backdrop.
Janiece Higgins, President of the Children’s Service Board thanked us for getting the word out. Fashion is fun, especially when it benefits the kids at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.