Be Original

June 23, 2006 • Magazine

Be Original

Be Original

Fri, 2006-06-23 19:00

The best dresses to stand out in a crowd

Andra Naylor

The quickest way to become the “Itâ€? girl at the next party is to not wear an “Itâ€? dress. Although we’ve all been coveting the summer dresses splashed across our Vogues and Bazaars, Second City Style challenges you to look beyond the Calvins, Donnas and Dianes. Instead pay attention to the fine detail and unique expression of these non-household name designers.

While most graduates of the School of the Art Institute flee to NYC or LA to jumpstart their fashion design career, Orlando Espinoza, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, relocated to the Windy City. Espinoza creates sensual and sophisticated looks from his studio in the Riverfront Art Center.

Available on funky West Hollywood site, Emma Cook‘s Spring/Summer 2006 collection is feminine yet subtly fierce. Her strapless, sweetheart neck dresses feel slightly retro, but completely right. The prints – pinstripes, floral appliques and art deco references – will surely make you pop at a party.

Designers Christopher Crawford and Angela Deane create pieces that are charming and elegant, with just a hint of quirkiness. Christopher Deane was most recently featured in a spread in Elle magazine and also appeared in an issue of US magazine on none other, than Miss Paris Hilton. Be the next to don the luxurious looks; available at Nichhia in Glencoe.

Gary Graham studied fashion design at the Art Institute of Chicago and has blessed fashionistas with his opulent yet understated looks. Perhaps his one-of-a-kind designs stem from his training as a costume designer for The Lion King, my personal all-time-favorite musical. The dress shown here is from his Spring/Summer 2006 — I love the deconstructed vibe.

I also love a designer with a philosophy behind her. Shelly Steffee, a seasoned NYC fashion pro, describes her vision as “creating clothing to evoke an emotional response and enhance the individualâ€?. If you can’t make it to her boutique in the Meatpacking District, Shelley Steffee is sold at Helen Yi on Damen Avenue.

Yeohlee Teng’s collections are designed for the “urban nomadâ€?. Don’t you just love the sound of that? You’ll love the look of her designs, too. They’re powerful, yet low-maintenance. Slip on a Yeohlee dress and you’re ready to go. No primping, tugging or adjusting needed.


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