The second night of Chicago's Fashion Focus revealed similar levels of talent (and inclement weather) as the first as the Millenium Park tent played host to the Dress Code, the city's showcase of rising stars from the wealth of Chicago's reputable art and design schools. The four school being featured—Columbia College, Illinois Institute of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the International Academy of Design and Technology Chicago—each chose five standout students to trot their unique wares down the runway. The show opened with a brief address by Mayor Richard M. Daley (above), who congratulated the group on their accomplishments before he turned the spotlight over to the next generation of Chicago designers.
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It was interesting to see such a diverse group of expressions take shape. Each school seemed to manifest its own aesthetic, and within that, each student carried his or her statement apart from all the others. The work of some students, particularly the ones from Columbia College, seemed to embody a level of artistic skill that appeared far more sophisticated than their level of expertise. Others carried a message of unique style, a personal vision that had been dying to come into being. And many resembled pieces of conceptual art, toying with the borders of streamline fashion through their use of draping, dimension, and silhouette.
The pieces presented at the Dress Code show all varied dramatically in terms of cut, color, and overall style. Yet they also resembled each other through the same manifestation of individualized ideas that can really only be seen with students honing their craft. Many of the pieces translated perfectly on the runway and could easily find a place in the market today. Even the more outlandish styles, while perhaps not being as marketable, held a certain appeal in the raw integrity of the designs. Overall the show boasted an impressive array of skillful artisans that we hope to see more of in the future.
Photos: Second City Style