Byline: Rebecca Kleinman

Fifty local designers fired up the crowd at Red Hot Chicago!, a fashion show fund-raiser for the Apparel Industry Foundation and the Walter Payton foundations.
“I think the audience was surprised that there were so many exciting lines coming out of Chicago. It’s really starting to blossom here,” said Dorothy Fuller, president of the Apparel Industry Board and co-chair of the event.
Held at the House of Blues, the show opened with models dressed entirely in red. Designer Robin Richman’s long dress with spaghetti straps stood out for its unique construction of knitted, viscose crepe strips crocheted together and strategically perforated. She topped it off with an embellished, knitted shawl of silk doupioni ribbons and crocheted shoes.
Local favorite Amy Zoller’s group was also a hit. Some items were a doeskin, Ultraleather trench; a cream, cashmere funnelneck, and a camel, matte jersey dress that gathered and tied in the front.
Two lines that really impressed even the most forward fashionistas were Regan Wood, who showed jagged, rough leathers combined with fanciful tulle, and Urban Armor by brother-and-sister team Sandy and Shell Neal, who went for more of an industrial look, combining clear acrylic and chain mail into pieces like skintight, bell-bottom pants.
Other notables were Mark Heister’s Asian-inspired fitted top with exaggerated sleeves; Michelle Tan’s metallic quilted group, and Cat Chow’s dress and coat made of gold price tags.
In attendance were Connie Payton, wife of Chicago Bears football great Walter Payton, who died last Nov. 1, and Lisa Lenoir, fashion editor for the Sun-Times and an event co-chair. In support of local talent, Lenoir wore a peridot green halter and skirt, embellished with red feathers around its hem, by Maria V. Pinto, and a garnet and citrine stone necklace by Stefani Bay.