If there is one thing I believe in, it is supporting local culture. And good fashion. Lucky for me, these two things are brought together for a good cause under one show. Held for Fashion Focus Chicago, Next Fashion Chicago 2012 kicked off Chicago’s fashion week with a parade of pieces from area designers. Hosts Marcus Riley from NBC 5 Chicago and Candace Jordan from Watch312.com were the host for the fashionable event on Tuesday night. Both were dressed as if they just walked out of a glossy magazine, with Jordan sporting a rhinestone choker that shows off more bling than most rappers.
Featured collections included Meekis, Mira Couture, Mark Roscoe Design, Cleons Clothing Co., Studio Alade and Fraley Le, just to name a few. The designs covered fall to spring, night to day with embellishments and rich fabrics galore. Although each collection had its own style and view somehow all the garments shown expressed a little glitz and fame. There were a handful of designers that not only did an excellent job, but had pieces that are definitely going down on my wish list.
Gary Gonzalez showed simple, clean, and classy styled dresses and skirts. Somehow Gonzalez managed to bring the Madmen style and twist with Chicago taste for a beautiful line.
Just Human by Yemonja Smalls not only had amazing rebel boots that were almost better eye candy than the male models, but with the rock ‘n roll theme, dancing from the models and attitude, the shoe line managed to provide unexpected entertainment.
What came to my mind when seeing Sahar Dada’s designs was street fashion in Chicago. Many of the garments seemed lavish and used the purest colors. Rich fabrics, embellished accents and perfect day to night tops were just screaming to be placed on the backs of Chicago’s fashion elite while walking downtown.
When the audience started hearing a live Congo drum, it was clear that Contessa Bottega had us in for a treat. The selections from her boutique included black pieces that are stylish for winter. Many of the pieces incorporated a play on fabrics, with cut-out’s and innovative draping which showed that even during the winter style has life. Dramatic pieces that shape the body made it clear that no matter what time of year, you can still show off your body.
Cory Couture ended the show with a brilliant example of couture dresses. While on a model, it was clear what the pieces were apparel, however on a hanger it would be easy to confuse these lovely garments with a painting. Bright pops of color and abstract views were used for each piece, making them unique and not your typical gowns.
While the designers did a great job representing Chicago, it was PAWS Chicago that really had the crowd going. Halfway through the show PAWS Chicago showed off their furry friends while their owners or volunteers showed off Akira clothing. With a portion of the proceeds going to PAWS Chicago, they showed us that no matter how big or small, the dogs are worth helping. We got to experience fashion along with supporting a great charity, which made the evening even better.
– Lindsay Grundy
Photos: Slawomir Chrzaszcz for NBC and Jon Recana