53rd Annual Gold Coast Fashion Awards. The Designers Competition and The Show

September 25, 2008 • Fashion Shows

Models wearing Cartier at the Grand Entrance

The Children’s Service Board packed the International Ballroom at the Chicago Hilton and Towers yesterday with over 1500 for the 53rd Annual Gold Cost Fashion Award Show. Raising funds for Children’s Memorial Hospital was first and foremost, but the fun part of this tradition is The Designers’ Competition.

There was some fierce competition this year and I was pleased to meet the designers who came to Chicago for the event. (Now that I fell in love with them all – how would I be able to vote?)

Norman Ambrose

First I met Norman Ambrose and his members of his team. They explained how Ambrose is one of the few "demi" couture designers in the United States, the hours of work in embroidering fabrics, sewing crystals and feathers, the hand work and the labor of love that goes into each of his garments. They are all made to order and produced in New York. "I follow the tradition of making beautiful feminine clothes for ladies," he said. "These clothes can be worn to luncheons, galas, and board meetings without looking over the top. Classic and elegant, quality fabrics and always appropriate."

I thought of Grace Kelly meets couture when I saw his collection on the runway.
You can see for yourself at Nieman Marcus on Michigan Avenue today and tomorrow (September 25-26) in couture, there will be a trunk show of his entire line. Trust me. It will be an art exhibition for fashionistas. Get a sneak peek at NormanAmbrose.com.

Paul Vinci, Carol Calacci, and Kieth Lissner

Kieth Lissner was there, a designer I previously had the opportunity to meet in Chicago last June, and to see and touch his Fall ’08 collection With Icarus as his theme for fall, the line represents the goddess in every woman. Deep reds, blacks, feathers, a little bit rock and roll, all with a beautiful fit. His clothes are worth collecting. Since Keith’s family is in Chicago, I have a feeling we will see more of him. For Spring ’09 Keith told me he was inspired by ballet. He incorporates lighter fabrics, pearls and toile. Keith said that he always listens to women, his friends tell him what they like and often his interpretation of their desires often turn into his best sellers. He said his mother tells him "Why don’t you to do something with sleeves?" We laughed but agreed that she is so right! See his collection at KeithLissner.com

Armando Piquer

And the third wonderful designer I met was Armando Piquer. He told me for Spring 09 he has incorporated some "mini Malaysian", added more architectural construction and structure in his pieces. He has also more fluid and colorful prints, polka dots, fringes, ruffles and watercolor prints. No bland or boring Spring ’09 line for Armando! See his Fall 08 and Spring 09 Collections at AmandoPiquer.com.

Also in the competition for the Gold Coast Fashion Award were Adam Lippes, Lutz & Patmos, Brian Reyes, and Jason Woo. Like I said – there was pretty tough competition. The judges were the luncheon attendees. And the winner (…drum roll) was Norman Ambrose!
Photos: Second City Style

The Fashion Show

This year the show raised more than $500,000 for the Division of Pediatric Surgery at the Children’s Memorial Hospital.

2008 Gold Coast Fashion Award Show co-chairs Janette Acton (left) and Jeniece Higgins with 2007 winner Gustavo Cadile. Photo: Robert F. Carl

Gustavo Cadile Designs – 2007 Winner. Photo: Robert F. Carl

Norman Ambrose Design – 2008 Winner.
Photo: Robert F. Carl

Stella McCartney Designs presented by Nordstrom. Photo: Robert F. Carl

There was plenty to feast your eyes on during the luncheon. While the ballots were tallied, a presentation of fall fashions by retailers included Dennis Basso, Ferragamo, Derercuny from Frances Heffernan, Sari Gueron from JAKE, Mark Shale men’s fashions, Maria Pinto, Marchesa from Neapolitan, Etro Neiman from Marcus and Stella McCartney from Nordstrom. It was a beautiful show and the music was great, too!

—Carol Calacci

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