Byline: E.G.

CHICAGO — Giving clothing its artistic due, The Chicago Athenaeum, the city’s museum of architecture and design, unveiled its third annual “Fashion Focus Chicago,” an exhibition of fashions by 55 local designers.
This year, the Apparel Industry Board pitched in by soliciting and selecting the entries.
“We were trying to get a cross-section of what’s being done in the city,” said AIB president Dorothy Fuller. She required that all the designers actually wholesale their wares, not merely submit pieces that were created as artwork. “Chicago’s neither extreme nor pedestrian. There’s a lot of creativity here.”
“As one of the jurors, I was very impressed with the quality,” said Nena Ivon, fashion director for Saks Fifth Avenue here, at the February opening. “I’m one of those people who look inside things.”
The show ran through the end of March.
Designers Kazuyoshi Hino and Chompoo Malee who make up the design team of Hino & Malee lent a delicate silk organza jacket and dress to the exhibition.
“We don’t get around too much, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to see everybody,” said Hino.
Established talents like Maria Pinto and Bradley Levin were joined by relative newcomers like Cara Seeback of Cara Regina, whose sheer black and white polkadot dress was an eyecatcher.
Another attention-grabber was the show opener: a black vinyl and metal-link dress by avant-garde designers Sandy and Shell Neal. Shell Neal said, “I was inspired by the architectural theme.”

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