Many people are unaware of the Heaven Gallery space located on the second floor of an unassuming building on Wicker Park's edgy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue. Sunday afternoon, however, people took notice through the "Fashion at Heaven" Shopping Event hosted by the non profit arts organization. Home to many vintage shops, art galleries, and underground music venues, the neighborhood is often bustling with an event showcasing local and independent talent. "Fashion at Heaven" was a smorgasbord of Chicago designers invited to bring out their wares for an intimate sample sale, and featured everything from reconstructed vintage to semi precious gems to ready to wear apparel. The designers included were Horacio Nieto, Arlo Menswear, Soledad Designs, Renovar, Kate Boggiano, Kate Jacobsen, Tracey Mayer, Cobar Collection, Lu-dia couture design, VZuniga Designs, Chic Gems, Phizza'z Designs, Paul Sisti, Jon Schultz, andScruggs. Many of the designers offered custom orders for their designs, showcased up and coming collections, and offered special discounts.
Set up almost like an apartment, Heaven Gallery provided the right amount of artfulness and intimacy as designers were able to weave in and around the room to converse with customers and other participants. The kitchen furnishings held refreshments for guests and both rooms in the gallery were set up with wardrobe racks for easier perusal. One of the organizers of the event, designer Alma Weiser of Renovar, has her studio within the gallery and plans fashion shows within the space every six months or so. Each show has a theme as to what trends will be featured from Chicago indie talent. The next show will illustrate a Harlem Renaissance theme and is set for June 19th at 9 p.m.
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Weiser and co-organizer designer Horacio Nieto of his self-named line are planning to create more shopping opportunities within the gallery in the near future and hope to expand the number of participating designers to include more up and coming local talent.
Designer Horacio Nieto with model Evelyn in a Horatio Nieto skirt; Nieto's Ferro dress from his Spring/Summer 2009 collection. Nieto's line carries both men and womenswear in timeless, classic silhouettes. His collection of dresses and separates for women featured retro feminine details such as sweetheart necklines, A line and tulip skirts, and strategic pleating. Nieto's line is carried in boutique A La Mode in Naperville as well as Macy's on State Street or shop online at horacionieto.com.
Designer Tiffany Hardaway with one of the popular items from her line Phizzaz in a buttercream yellow; a signature Phizzaz item from Hardaway's online boutique. Hardaway has been designing and manufacturing her ready to wear women's line in Chicago since 2005, and currently takes custom orders on her designs as well. Her collection included flirty pieces like dropwaist dresses, jackets in luxe washable suede, and layering pieces with subtle sparkle. View her collections at phizzazdesign.com
Designer for Soledad Designs, Freddie Rocha with a strapless, tiered
dress from the latest collection in the colorful, Caribbean-flavored
line; fabric examples from the designers lookbook. Started in Thailand
by Rocha's business partner Carla Rivera, Soledad Designs is made up of
lightweight pieces designed for comfort and movement. Both owners lend
their backround in dance to designing the flowy separates in imported
fabrics such as silk, cotton,
and linen. Many of the ethnic-inspired designs are reversible in
bright, punchy colors perfect for summer. View past and current
collections at soledaddesigns.com
The bounty brought in by jewelry boutique Chic Gems; Chic Gems owner and designer Sarah L. Radford and colleague, both in Chic Gems designs. Chic Gems offers a wide assortment of earrings. bracelets, and necklaces in every sparkly hue of the rainbow, most for under $100. Choose from the designer's selection or design your own piece on their online boutique at chicgemsetc.com
Vintage fab finder Dana Scruggs with pieces from her line Scruggs, which is an eclectic mix of current and reconstructed vintage trends. Scruggs scopes out retro pieces from an assortment of thrift shops and wholesale vendors, then tailors them with details that reflect the current take on the trend. Her line is fresh, youthful, and (best of all!) affordable. Most pieces range between $30 and $50. Shop her online boutique at scruggsshop.com.
Jewelry designer Vicky Zuniga of VZuniga Designs gets inspiration from
nature for her collection of organic designs. Coupled with a muse from
her Mexican heritage, Zuniga fuses classic and current trends to design
pieces that are unique and personal. Her collection features necklaces
and earrings that range from ethnic-inspired to romantic, edgy to
artful, using sterling silver and semi-precious stones. VZuniga designs
can be found at the Andersonville Galleria at 5247 Clark, check out
andersonvillegalleria.com for retail hours.
For more information on upcoming events at Heaven Gallery, visit heavengallery.com
Photo Source: Second City Style