FashioNext is a fashion design competition that features established Chicago area designers. The three finalists were Jermikko Shoshanna (Jermikko), Melissa Serpico Kamhout (Serpico), and William Thomas Walton and Roger Price (Price Walton). Each created a couture garment inspired by one of five pieces from the exhibition Chic Chicago: Couture Treasures from the Chicago History Museum.
The winning garment was announced last Friday at the FashioNext Finale. The winning design will become part of the Museum's permanent costume collection, and will be placed on display in Chic Chicago for the remainder of the exhibition run.
And the winner is… Price Walton! William Thomas Walton and Roger Price actually met at the History Museum 25 years ago when they were in school and always went to the Chicago History Museum as a source of inspiration. When they accepted the award they said. "This is really a dream to us. We hope that what we have created will educate future generations. Couture is alive and well and living in Chicago!" This didn't sound corny. Everyone at the event had a smile on their face!
Price Walton was inspired by a Charles James piece. Home interior fabrics from Brentano's were part of the challenge for designing this piece and they told me they used the bias on the extra wide fabric, which is one of their trademarks. I asked how they made the floral at the waist. It was cut and constructed from the fabric and formed much like a hat. This challenge was a natural for them.
Melissa Serpico Kamhout was inspired by Commes de Garcon because of the lightness and the concept of the convertible piece. The way her piece converts is with a simple armhole, so you almost put it on like a jacket to have it become a shorter gown. She told me she would make more of this piece if someone requested it and she actually wants one for herself. She is thinking of making a shorter version for her ready to wear line. You can see Melissa's collection at the Serpico Spring Soiree on May 14th or at her studio at 1541 N Ashland. The dress Melissa was wearing is currently available.
Jermikko Shoshanna, inspired by a Charles James design told me how, using the long upholstery fabric, she was able to wrap and overlap 58 bias cut 6 Inch wide strips of fabric, without sewing. She used over 350 feet of wire to create the plume or "voluminous bustier" as she called it for the back of her design.
I can say it was a difficult task to choose just one design. All of the designers were worthy of winning and they all get major props for just being a part of this competition. The Chicago History Museum has a criteria for each piece to make it into the Chic Chicago exhibit. It must be designed by a Chicago designer and it there must be a significant story behind the piece. Now when I go to the exhibit (which is truly worth seeing again and again) and see the Price Walton piece, I will always remember how the story goes: Once upon a time there were three designers in
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Photos: Steve Starr
Tags: Brentano's, Charles James, Chic Chiacago, Chicago History Museum, Comees de Garcon, fabrics, FashioNext, Home Interior, Jermikko, Jermikko Shoshanna, Melissa Serpico Kamhout, Price Walton, Roger Price, SERPICO, Tommy Walton, William Thomas Walton