Last week, amidst the whirlwind of fashion weeks and award show preps taking place all over the world, SCS was allowed to slow down for one night and focus on fashion in Chicago. Specifically, at the Chicago Fashion Foundation's 3rd Annual "Future of Chicago Fashion" Scholarship Award Benefit, which was held in the airy and elegant space of Macy's Narcissus Room.The theme behind the runway show involved a tribute to Chicago's 28 Sister Cities. Fashion and design students from all over the city applied to the competition, which required them to create an ensemble that represented a sister city and culture of their choice. The show that were were lucky enough to witness was the final showcase of the nine chosen finalists. One designer would receive $500, one $1000 and the grand prize winner would get $5,000 to help their budding line.
Following the Grey Goose cocktail hour, guests began to gear up for what was sure to be an interesting show. The host of the evening, Catie Keogh, introduced CFF president Kristen Amato, of K. Amato jewelry, and vice president Sandra Enimil. After a few words by Melissa Gamble on behalf of Mayor Daley, as well as a representative from Sister Cities International, it was time for the show to get underway.
Design by Anna Gaukel from Columbia College
Design by Michael Schellenbach, Illinois Institute of Art, 3rd place CFF Scholarship winner
The challenge for the designers was to create an ensemble that was both stylish and current, while still conveying the unique elements of their particular place. Some of the pieces translated into into more on trend, wearable looks than others. Like the outfit by Shizuka Horii from IADT, who chose Hamburg, Germany as her city from which to be inspired. Horii's dusty blue, sleeveless jumpsuit and crisp white blazer resonated with an simplistic chic often seen on the streets today. Another example came from a military-inspired, sharp shouldered jacket by Randy Rusnadi from Harper College. Rusnadi, who chose Athens, Greece, paired his military blazer with a softer more feminine blouse and pleated skirt combo. Other standouts included Anna Gaukel of Columbia College who took on the lofty feat of embodying Paris, creating a haute couture vibe with a gauzy gray confection she said was inspired by Paris' ability to look chic despite the often gloomy weather (sounds like Chicago!), and both designers who chose Moscow. Michael Schellenbach of Illinois Institute of Art, the only finalist who did menswear, won over the crowd with his gorgeous model clad in a one piece jumpsuit, similar to an auto mechanic uniform, but blinged out with a giant Cadillac emblem belt buckle. And Eunyoung Joo, a student from IADT painted a truly beautiful, almost retro portrait of Moscow with a swingy minidress and matching cap for the Russian capital's famously chilly nights.
In the end, the panel of judges—including several well known local fashion-affiliated names like Chicago magazine's fashion editor Stacey Jones and former Project Runway contestant Steven Rosengard—were allowed to ask the designers about their creations before the final deliberation. When all was said and done, third place went to Michael Schellenbach and his menswear one piece, second place went to Randy Rusnadi and his military-inspired garb, and first place was awarded to the other designer who used Moscow as a muse, Eunyoung Joo, who humbly wept tears of joy as she was presented with the check.
— Alia Rajput
Photos: Steve Starr
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