Fashion retailer Akira knows how to pull out all the stops for a party. The chain, which heads up a bevy of stores in the Chicagoland area ranging from women's wear to menswear to shoes and accessories, put all their wares on display for their annual Garden of Eden fashion show. Held in the elegant Galleria Marchetti, the evening is not only focused on fashion but on fund-raising as well. A silent auction boasting the city's finest restaurants, entertainment and spa services kept guests busy before the show, the proceeds of which benefit the Chicago charity, Imerman Angels. Guests could also enjoy an indoor shopping area featuring local apparel and accessory designers, which was great because the Chicago fall was getting pretty nippy that night!
Luckily, the runway show was held in its regular space, an outdoor (yet heated!) tent, swathed in thick white fabric with crystalline chandeliers twinkling overhead. The theme of this year's show was 'Folklorique', a celebration of mystically modern style. The festivities kicked off with a stirring production by performance troupe Upstaging—a mixture of modern dance and Cirque du Soleil-like acrobatics that seemed to set the tone for the fairy tale that was to follow.
Right off the bat, the runway show resonated with a Grimm's brother's-esque aesthetic. Exaggerated hair and makeup added to the fantasy-like vibe, while also providing an almost animalistic element that came out later in the show. The first section, Der Traum (The Dream) featured luxe fall staples in a palette of soft, creamy colors like ivory, gold and dove gray.
The second section changed things up with a seriously vampy, almost goth-like take on evening wear in The Departure Of The Witches. True to its name, the collection was mostly textured black in leather, sateen, and lace. Some of the ensembles were a little costume-y, but when broken down into individual pieces, many of the looks seemed surprisingly wearable.
The third section, titled The Mysterious Forest, was where the animal magnetism came out to play. Layer upon layer of funky prints and furs made up both daytime and night time ensembles. Cure furry hats boasting bear ears were a highlight of the collection and added some whimsy to the set. Again, it was a little overkill seeing all the zebra, tiger and cheetah prints paired together with fur and feathers, but each part on its one would translate to a suitable statement piece when worn on the street.
The next two runs, The Guardian and The Big Storm, featured mostly menswear, though there were some notable women's footwear in the shape of furry muk luk-like boots that I really adored despite their somewhat cutesiness. They could be made to appear more grown up when worn with neutral-colored minimalistic ensembles, similar to the ones styled on the runway.
The final run was a study of old world romance. Titled The Magic Of Love, the men wore slick, jewel-toned tuxes while the women glided along in confections of tulle, satin and lace. This set was my favorite of all, as it took vintage silhouettes and updated them to current style with small details like embellishment, proportion and color. If the show was a folkloric fairy tale, then the finale was our happy ending.
Photo Source: Second City Style
-Alia RajputSee the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40