How can a blend of country music with fashion for an artsy benefit for the Art Institute of Chicago work? Well it did, and it sure was fun! This annual show at the Chicago Theatre mixes musical performers and an ongoing fast paced fashion show with video backdrops and stage props.This year the headliners were Musik Mafia: Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich and Cowboy Troy. I was relieved to see the country singers didn’t wear Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner-wear. John Rich of Big & Rich dressed more like he was in Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. T-Rex and Shannon with Cowboy Troy wore a haute little black bubble dress. To confuse me more, Cowboy Troy is a cowboy rapper.
I can’t even say that I was sure who the headliners were going into the event, but hoped that through mainstream, my addiction to television and just living in the US of A, I would hear music that I was familiar with. And I did!
I was also familiar with Fall ’07 RTW fashion, but it was enjoyable to see what actually made it into Macy’s and who supplied the apparel.
The Alberta Ferretti and Donna Karan lines had a lot of "been there saw that before" in them. And some of the "modern" shapes were just not that flattering. Temperley London was slightly "been there saw that before" but in this case "we do want to see more!" It was very fresh. I was expecting to see a bigger splash of color with the Marc Jacobs selections, but this is Chicago, so the buyers bought safely. We were most impressed with Calvin Klein’s Collection of beautifully fitted gray wool jersey evening gowns. Just Cavalli was just too short, too tight, too shiny, but as always, too fun to watch.
Also entertaining to watch were the male models. The Moschino line had the models in little preppy schoolboy looks and big red patent leather appliques on black t-shirts. (The part of 80s that I don’t want to see any more!) When I see some men’s fashion, I just can’t picture a guy (even in a nightclub) actually wearing it without his buddies razzing him!
Toward the end of the show, the female models strutted out in jean shorts, cowboy boots and furs a la "Dukes of Hazard." They modeled furs from The Fur Vault. I was hard -pressed to pick a fur that I didn’t think I could find from the Salvation Army. They were sort of rabbit, 70s looking coats. I asked another fashion writer "Okay, if you HAD to pick one of these furs, which one would it be?" For a minute, I did not think she would ever even answer, but she choose an oselot long coat with a black fur collar. I agreed.
Then the male models came out shirtless, in tight jeans. I think they had cowboy hats. Then I said "Okay, if you HAD to pick one of the male models, which one would it be?" In this case, we could not choose only one…
…I walked out singing Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy!) thinking, this was better than I would have expected.
— Carol Calacci
Tags: Alberta Ferretti, Art Institute of Chicago, Big & Rich, Calvin Klein's, Cowboy Troy, Donna Karan, Gretchen Wilson, Just Cavalli, Macy's, Marc Jacobs, Moschino, Musik Mafia, Save a Horse (Ride A Cowboy!), Temperley London, The Fur Vault