Byline: Nancy Brumback

Bouncing to a throbbing disco beat, Marshall Field’s showed off extravagant fashions from 20 key designers and raised an estimated $200,000 for the Art Institute of Chicago during its second annual Fash Bash multimedia event, a late August celebration that helps kick off the town’s fall social season.
This season’s Fash Bash raised more than $200,000 to benefit the Art Institute of Chicago, according to Linda Ahlers, president of the department store division of Target Corp., which includes Marshall Field’s, Dayton’s and Hudson’s .
Backstage before the show began, Ahlers noted that fall business has started well, with leathers — especially colored leathers — doing exceptionally strongly at all price points. Designer and bridge lines have led early fall women’s apparel sales for the department store chain, she said.
Fash Bash, a multimedia extravaganza, is part of Project Imagine, in which Marshall Field’s donates a proportion of its sales to help fund the arts. Last year’s Fash Bash raised about $150,000 for the Art Institute.
With a “Nightlife” theme, the music and fashion show at the Chicago Theater echoed the club scene, from Centro-fly, Studio 54, the Palladium and Cafe Carlyle in New York to the Buddha Bar in Paris and Club Caliente in Miami.
Performances by headliner Queen Latifah, Chic, Bobby Short and Kiss Army had the 3,000-plus partygoers on their feet and dancing, many of them waving multicolored light sticks.
Queen Latifah drew laughter and applause when she opened the show by gazing at the crowd, decked out in eveningwear, and cracking, “Haven’t you people ever heard of casual Fridays?”
Both men’s and women’s fashions were paraded to the club beat. The designers included Marshall Field’s latest and exclusive-to-Chicago addition, John Varvatos.
Interwoven with the entertainment were the latest fall looks from DKNY, Moschino, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Narciso Rodriguez, Donna Karan, Badgley Mischka, Escada Margaretha Ley and others.
Once the fashion show had concluded, about 1,500 people moved across the street to Marshall Field’s State Street flagship store for a party on the seventh floor, where the disco-club atmosphere was quickly reestablished. Guests sampled fare ranging from individual shrimp cocktails to Chinese dishes in white take-out containers and chocolate fondue.
Fash Bash is produced in cooperation with the Auxiliary Board and the Evening Associates of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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