Fashion Focus Chicago 2011: InspireDESIGN Runway Show

by Rachel Yeomans | October 24th, 2011   

By Emma Pretto

I had the pleasure of attending the Mario Tricoci and vitaminwater’s InspireDESIGN runway show on Wednesday. Despite the horrible weather, the Millenium Park tent was packed. The show included live music by Brandon and Lucas Marx, collections from five Chicago designers, and the conclusion of the fourth annual Mario, Make Me a Model competition.

Imaginary People’s collection was simple yet chic, featuring neutral colors, loose tunics paired with leggings, and bamboo fabrics. All of the pieces were very versatile and ready to be dressed up with accessories or kept casual.

My favorite look from designer Michelle Tan was her Wide Collar Embellished Vest paired with the Pin Tuck top and Laser Cut Skirt. This ensemble could go straight from the runway to the office. Several of Michelle Tan’s pieces were laser cut, which was an interesting and innovative method of embellishment.

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Michelle Tan's Wide Collar Embellished Vest, Pin Tuck Top, and Laser Cut Skirt

J. Cheikh’s men’s collection featured crisp lines and classic pieces with a bit of a twist, like the Black Batwing Double Breasted Cardigan. Throw this on over the workplace classic of slacks, shirt, and tie, and add a dash of sophistication to your look.

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J. Cheikh's Black Batwing Double Breasted Cardigan

Evoking the style of old Hollywood glamour with dark sexy undertones, Narcisse’s collection was a flurry of feathers, corsets, and barely-there dresses. My favorite piece was the Velvet V-Cut Gown with the Horse Hair wrap.

Last but not least was Reddoll, whose collection was filled with stylish work appropriate pieces. Office staples, like pencil skirts and black pants, were contrasted by sheer flowy blouses and delicate dresses.  The grand finale was the Cloud Tulle Dress, which, as its name would suggest, floated down the runway, a head to toe mass of pale ruffles.

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Reddoll's Black Bell Sleeve Top and Lace Pencil Skirt

The winner of  the Mario, Make Me a Model competition was scheduled to be announced at the end of the show, but Tricoci surprised us all by announcing two winners instead of one: Mercedes Johnson and Juni Park took home the double prize.

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Mercedes Johnson and Juni Park announced as winners

There was a refreshing variety of styles at Wednesday’s event, all of a high caliber. It’s nice to see the Chicago fashion scene working at a level of fashion capitals like New York and L.A.  To see more pictures from the show, check out our Facebook album!