Despite the frigid temps and treacherous ice last night, Chicago's stylish set dressed themselves up for a night on the town and headed to Loft on Lake in the West Loop. The occasion was the Chicago launch and the showing of the Fall/Winter 2012 collection of J.Cheikh, a Chicago-based menswear label that creates modern interpretations of classic staples for Chicago's tragically hip and contemporary man. Keenly scheduled during Men's Fashion Week in Milan, the show was a rare opportunity for us to see what gets the motors of our stylish male counterparts running.
In the organically spare space of Loft on Lake, the exposed brick and gleaming pipework provided the perfect backdrop for a collection that too would be understated, yet still undeniably glam. Our good friends at Factio magazine sponsored the show alongside Absolut Vodka, Red 7 Salon, The Drawing Room, and Clarks Bostonian while the chiseled male models (a perk of a menswear fashion show that we forgot about!) came compliments of Agency Galatea and Ford Models. NBC correspondent and the evening's dapper host, Marcus Riley, got the party started.
One of the coolest trends that's becoming more and more popular on runways these days is the opening set of music before the show. I saw an amazing drum group preceding the Nanette Lepore show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York last season and it really enhanced the overall experience. J. Cheikh apparently got the memo and chose to open their show with Katarina Visnevska, the beautifully bespangled violinist and special events coordinator for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Visnevska performed a rousing violin set against the pulsing beats of DJ Galvan and it was truly a treat to experience.
Although I'm not as familiar with the styling and construction of menswear designs, it was clear as the show got underway that the pieces combined the crucial elements of innovation and wearability. Crisp button-downs were paired with tailored trousers. Skinny ties peeked out from beneath slim-cut blazers. And confections in rich velvet and metallic jacquard provided that modern boost to the otherwise classic silhouettes. The piece de resistance: fox fur stole/scarves tossed casually over a shoulder for that "Oh, this old thing?" finishing touch.
All in all, the show was well worth braving the elements. In a time where more and more houses are adding menswear to their repertoire (Jimmy Choo, MUGLER, Ports 1961), the menswear industry has landed on the front line of fashion. And local labels like J.Cheikh are doing their part to get us all excited about what the future of menswear will hold.
Mikeya Summerville of iTFactor Agency and Rodney Fox
Photographer Rachel Hanel with D.C. Crenshaw and stylist Xochitl Gomez
Photo Source: Second City StyleSee the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40