Wrap it Up- fashion happenings all around Chicago from 2005*

  • By Faith Bowman
  • faithbowmanphoto@hotmail.com
  • January 09, 2006 @ 5:40 PM

From October to December of last year, I ran my butt off covering fashion events for a small local magazine. I had started off taking club photos, but I don't like smoke and figured it would be more fun mixing and mingling with the fashion crowd. After September's Fashion Focus event marathon, I was hopped up! I saw the future and it was me, interviewing and snapping my way to the fashion front rows in Milan. Can you say Prada? I feverishly threw myself into the thick of the fray, payless shoes and all...

The first event was the Doublestitch trunkshow at Koros on October 20th. I couldn't get there fast enough! This was special because Doublestitch was about to be featured in Chicago magazine and I wanted to get pics for the mag, and also to catch up with what the twins were doing. Erika and Monika were in rare form, modeling their color drenched crochet designs while working the crowd of fans and well-wishers. Their motto of 'get in where you fit in' was working; Koros is an excellent showcase for them. Located at 1019 West Lake, the boutique is an antique strewn jewelbox catering to those with the most discriminating tastes in fashion and accessories. My favorite part of the decor was a freestanding row of washroom sinks draped in designer denim. It's the kind of place that makes you want to yell 'charge!' a la Betty and Wilma.

Things got popping again at Nordstrom's Grand Avenue store when Heatherette made their big appearance there on October 29th. The cutest teen models were dressed in the colorful, kitschy -but wearable- clothes and there was a line of teens clutching bags of merchandise and drooling for a chance to meet Richie Rich and Traver Rains' Circus of Panic. A local dj spun techno beats and sugary bon-bons were circulating endlessly. I ate way too many of the chocolate/nut things and had more than my fair share of mini-vanilla shakes, so by the time the boys showed up I was in sugar shock. Richie and Traver's arrival was met with Beatle-esque hysteria. The boys were sweet and cheery- even though they lost all en route from Mexico. The circus turned out to be just them, but that was excitement enough!

Next stop on the fashion express was the wicked fashion party Fashion Rocks! at Sound-Bar (did you appreciate the fact that that was a three fashion sentence? Yeah, i thought so!) that Lynn Albers threw on November 4th. She rounded up all the sexiest male and female models from Ford to model the best designs from Suki Zhang, Anna Ehrler, Vent, Kent Nielsen, and Eurotrash. Paul Lewin of Tiviwear jewelry and bags was selling his stuff on the first floor before the show began. I picked up one of his wood/metal/leather purses and didn't want to put it down. It fits perfectly in the hand and has the most outrageously sexy sideseam ever! I have no clue what the runway show was like, as I was too busy snapping and having fun backstage with the Doublestitch twins. Oh, did I forget to mention that their supersexy designs were on the bill? My bad.

Once I'd slept off all that fun it was time for the big one: BEYONCE at Marshall Field's on November 8th. She sailed into town to promote her new fragrance True Star Gold by Tommy Hilfiger. The crowds were thick on the first floor of the store, with loyal fans staking out whatever spot they could to get a glimpse of their idol. I couldn't believe that being in the press pit put me two feet away from the table where B. would be signing autographs. There was a lot of screaming when she came out wearing a flower-embroidered dark denim outfit from her line House of Dereon (to be carried at Macy's.). She made a short speech, posed for the cameras, and then gave all of her attention to the fans waiting for autographs. One fan stood out for me- a handicapped guy who was thrilled to be meeting her. She gave him all of her attention, planting a small kiss on his cheek when she said goodbye. I almost cried. Why? Because regular people aren't that nice. Maybe we can't afford to be since it's too close to us, that guy could be us. But it was mind-blowing to see a celebrity of her stature be that kind, without playing it up to the cameras.

Pins and needles time again as I waited to see what photos would be used for the magazine. Biting my nails I looked around for more events to cover while I waited. Lo and behold, fashion manna fell from the sky in the form of Kenneth Cole and SMASHBOX cosmetics.

Kenneth Cole took time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance at Macy's on December 9th tp promote the new Kenneth Cole Shop there. Mr. Cole has been making classics witha twist for many years and in his opening remarks to the waiting crowd- he thanked us all for supporting him. He also spoke about the new AMFAR campaign- 'We All Have Aids' which he is featured in, and which will be rolling out worldwide this year. The idea behind it is this: we are all affected by AIDSand we all need to do what we can to combat the disease. And while Mr. Cole's new menswear store is stocked with well-designed clothing? I respect more for being a caring advocate of human kindness. Rock on, Kenneth!

A quick shift of gears took me to the Smashbos event at Bloomingdale's the next day. This was super exciting and glam! Holly Mordini, QVC goddess and Smashbox's vice president of global artistry and education, was on hand to show off the new 'White Nights' line; which was inspired by the LA club scene. She was so great! She graciously mugged for the camera and showed me how to use the Troubadour Fairy lipgloss trio either singly, layered over one another, or layered over the new true red Smashing Visual lipstick. The gloss trio was my favorite as each color had an aroma (apricot, cinnamin, and spearmint) and the glosses came in their own white faux-leather purse.

When we were done, Holly and Bloomie's PR manager Peggy Lanigan led me to the best part of the Smashbox event- the on location studio shoot with Steven Khan! My mouth was watering as I looked at the set ( I admit- I was like 'me! me! hire me to do this! meeee!!!!), it was too hot. Two lucky girls were chosen from the makeover customers so that I could shoot Steven shooting them. In a few minutes he had created a stunning black and white portrait that he promised to send the girls from LA. I was really impressed. Between the makeup and the lighting the two teens looked like movie stars!

I wish that I could have ended this with a frothy write up of Lana Fertelmester's appearance at Nieman Marcus on December 17th, but alas, once they got a look at the magazine I used to work for they gracefully declined. It's actually a good thing though, since it prompted me to quit. Oh well, maybe next time. I love Lana's flat, elegant gold jewelry. Hmmm- that will be my goal for this year! To take pictures of Lana, and to work with Neiman Marcus in some way. Hey, a chick can dream can't she?