Spring - and spring style - finally arrives

05/05/2009 1:12 PM

By Marian Rothschild

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Marian Rothschild/Contributor
Tim Gunn (above) talks style at Kate Spade boutique, 54 E. Oak. Libby Lane’s jacket, blouse, skirt and hat were presented at the School of the Art Institute’s annual show.

The stylist speaks
Two-hundred women recently packed into the sleek but narrow Kate Spade boutique on Oak St., ahhing with delight as Tim Gunn held up a pair of cobalt blue strappy sandals. Gunn, host of TV show Project Runway and chief creative advisor with Liz Claiborne, was in town a couple weeks ago to chat about how to update your spring wardrobe.

“Just because it’s a recession, don’t dress like you’re down in the dumps. Take a chance with color, use it in a new way,” Gunn said. “It’s fun, it’s fresh” he explained, as a lithe young 20-something modeled new spring merchandise offered at the upscale shop.

It’s always fun to see celebrities, especially when they’re talking style. “His criticism is always helpful, he’s very nice and friendly” said Ananya Das when asked why she waited an hour to hear Gunn’s advice.

Gunn was full of other tips as well, dispensing advice on everything from trendy spring colors (bright pink, orange, coral and aqua) to animal prints (keep them to a minimum) to what’s worth investing in this spring (a lined jacket with three-fourths length sleeves).

A fascinating recent downtown fashion event was The Walk, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s annual fashion show. With techno music blaring, wisp-thin models paraded on white carpet wearing creations by sophomore, junior and senior fashion design students.

Onlookers were delighted, amused, and entertained as wearable art in all shapes, styles and colors sashayed past.
“Our faculty encourages students to develop their talent, construction techniques, and artistic vision to prepare them for successful careers” said Wellington Reiter, president of SAIC.

Jessica Mikesell, a SAIC senior, was honored the previous evening with the Maria Pinto Award for excellence in design.

“A lot of the designs in this show are sculptural, not necessarily wearable fashion. Some are costumes, art gallery pieces, more of an artistic collection rather than wearable,” Mikesell explained.

Ah, that explains the exotic and architectural nature of many of the designs. You won’t see these clothes worn at the office, but they are dramatic and alluring.

Highlights of The Walk show were designs by senior Libby Lane. Her modern and sophisticated pieces have vintage silhouettes and oversized hand blocked straw hats that are tres, tres chic.

Now that the weather is warm, it’s time to check out your local Chicago fashion designers’ spring collections in boutiques and showrooms around town.

Kate Jacobsen and Orlando Espenoza are two of my favorites. Their dresses are made from comfortable, natural fabrics and can be worn for work and evenings in the spring, summer and even into the fall. Most of Espenoza’s dresses are black and white with a tapering waistband, or a sash at the waist for accentuating curves. Jacobsen’s dresses are constructed from a light but firm double knit, made of silky smooth organic cotton and bamboo threads and hand loomed to size here in Chicago.

And finally, nothing says great style like a healthy body, a great hair cut, and a polished face. Hit the gym, or better yet, now that the weather is fine, hit the trail for a jog or brisk walk as often as you can.

Invest in a good haircut from someone like Dennis at Charles Ifergen on Oak St. Whenever you’re outside, be sure to apply sunscreen on face, neck, hands, and arms. You’ll have a glow in your cheeks and spring in your step to shop local and express your own personal style this glorious spring.

Marian Rothschild is a personal stylist and image consultant in Bucktown. Visit her Web site and fashion blog at www.marianrothschild.com for info on Smart Style Fashion Parties, and other wardrobe related services. E-mail your style questions to marian@marianrothschild.com.

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By Cash Corbin from Texas
Posted: 05/30/2009 3:25 PM

Libby lane is the best designer ever! That outfit is amazing!