The tanking stock market and vice presidential debates did little to deter local fashion lovers from flocking to Chicago’s fourth annual fashion week, Fashion Focus Chicago, which kicked off last week to its largest crowds ever.
The week’s first all-student show featuring styles from students attending the city’s four design schools attracted 1,500 people Friday, with showgoers filling all 850 seats in the white tent at Millennium Park and standing two-people thick around the perimeter. The spillover crowd of more than 400 watched the show via a live-feed large-screen TV in the tent’s reception area.
Two runway shows spotlighting some of the city’s veteran designers and serving as the week’s fashion finale Monday and Tuesday were expected to draw even larger crowds, with 2,000 people registered to attend, said Melissa Gamble, the city’s director of fashion arts and events.
Gamble attributes the jump to several factors, namely an increased awareness surrounding Fashion Focus, which ran Oct. 1 to 8, and a general rise in respect for Chicago’s place in the fashion community.
When Fashion Focus began four years ago, the city’s fashion week was received with a dose of cynicism, Gamble admitted.
“It was more of a surprise,” she said, as in, ‘Oh, there’s fashion there?’
“Now in our fourth fall, people are starting to look for it and look to us for what’s going on in fashion in Chicago,” noted Gamble, a former attorney appointed to her post in 2006, when Mayor Richard Daley created a Mayor’s Fashion Council and introduced a series of initiatives designed to promote Chicago’s fashion industry.
Since then, Fashion Focus slowly has grown in scope and sophistication, with organizers recently becoming more adept at ways of generating more buzz.
They rolled out the red carpet for Fall Out Boy bassist and designer Pete Wentz, who grew up in suburban Wilmette. He helped launch the festivities Oct. 1, introducing the week’s inaugural show, Gen Art’s Fresh Faces, which highlighted six of the city’s emerging apparel designers.
Decked out in a black Dior tuxedo, white Dolce & Gabbana shirt and his wife Ashlee Simpson-Wentz’s black, white and red scarf artfully tucked in his jacket pocket, Wentz quipped, “I have to thank Gen Art. A guy who’s 5-foot-6 couldn’t get on a runway otherwise.”
Fresh Faces, meanwhile, was followed by Thursday’s World Fashion Chicago runway show, a collection of looks representing Chicago’s 27 sister cities, that drew designers from Paris and Mexico City. Friday’s Dress Code fashion show presented work from 20 top student designers from the School of the Art Institute, Columbia College, Illinois Institute of Art and the International Academy of Design and Technology.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)