The Winners Circle: Miriam Cecilia Carlson (second from Left), Danielle Wyman, (third from right) and Hector-Javier MonArrez pose with models wearing items from their prize winning collections at the Eighth Annual Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence. Photo: Allen Bourgeois
This is the fourth year I have attended the Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence and it appears to get bigger (and more elaborate) each year. Over $100,000 was raised for three Chicago charities this year: The Enterprising Kitchen, Bottomless Closet, and Graffiti Zone.
Another addition this year was the spotlight on Driehaus Awards Alumni designers. Dress forms displaying their designs were surrounded by Driehaus' collection of antique cars while cocktails were served and appetizers passed. That's four of my favorite things: fashion, cars, drinks, and hors d' eourves! This year a new award statue designed just for for the event was presented, and there was pre and post-show entertainment by Extreme Dance Force Group.
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Richard Driehaus has honored fashion designers with this competition and prize awards now for the eighth year. Whether this is because he supports the arts and design or because his young daughters love fashion (they got to walk the runway wearing age appropriate designs), who cares? For whatever his reasons, I am glad he continues this event to give young designers a chance to succeed. He even increased the prize money this year to $5000 to the first prize winner, $2500 for second prize, $1000 for third prize and $500 for honorable mention.
All student designers or recent graduates they represented Columbia College, Dominican University, The Illinois Institute of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and The International Academy of Design and Technology. It was a difficult task for the judges chose who would be bestowed awards. Everything was not apples to apples. In some cases they were comparing various design assignments and different approaches from the schools. They had to really decide where the talent that truly stood out. I could see the time and effort put forth in the designs of all of the competitors and to be included in this show is a great opportunity for all of the participants.
A jubiliant Hector-Javier MonArrez, 1st place winner, walks the runway with a model wearing a design from his collection. Photo: Allen Bourgeois
Congratulations to this years winners. 1st place: Hector-Javier MonArrez, International Academy of Design and Technology; 2nd place, Danielle Wyman, The Illinois Institute of Art; 3rd place, Miriam Cecilia Carlson, a 2009 graduate of Dominican University.
— Carol Calacci