“A lot of people say we are the second city — nonsense, we are number one.” — Mario Tricoci
Fashion Focus Chicago is always a hectic week. But if there’s one show I’m always excited to see, it’s Fashion Takes Flight presented by Mario Tricoci and vitaminwater®. The show serves as the grand finale of Mario, Make Me a Model, the model competition that provides five aspiring models with the platform they need to make their mark. This season’s runway show featured the collections of some of Chicago’s most inspiring designers, including Imaginary People, C. Dahlstedt, J. Cheikh, Shelby Steiner, and Azza.
Read below to see what the local designers had to offer and which model walked away a winner.
Imaginary People, the inventive label by duo Olivia Shanks and Telo Dunne, never disappoints. The ladies always take staple wardrobe items in womenswear and add a little twist to create function and versatility. The latest collection features their signature jersey and cotton looks, as well as a few snakeskin pieces that surely stood out among the bunch.
C. Dahlstedt is perfect for the working woman. The neutral grays and easy shapes make the garments appropriate for the office, while the lace skirt and dress add a bit of an edge to an otherwise simple yet practical collection.
J. Cheikh is always one of my favorites. Founded in 2009 by the husband and wife team of Cheikh Lam and Sophie Lin, the brand mixes European silhouettes with American ease to create a unique take on menswear. It is no secret that this designer duo are masters of tailoring, bringing a little luxury to menswear without sacrificing comfort.
Color blocking and their signature European street wear are the foundations of their most recent collection. I particularly liked the green and blue color blocked pants, and if I don’t get my hands on a pair soon, I won’t be a happy camper.
The Shelby Steiner collection is chic and wearable. The looks generally consisted of a black and forest green color palette, which channeled a dark, edgy aesthestic. The Skeletal Hardware Top is a personal favorite.
AZZA was last to hit the runway, but definitely wasn’t the least. The collection features silk dresses and gowns accented with Swarovski crystals. As the models hit the runway, you couldn’t help but be drawn to the bold embellishments and movement of each piece. AZZA’s latest collection is edgy but still classic couture.
At the conclusion of the runway show, all five contestants walked the runway. It was interesting to see which of the models from the designers’ show were the professionals and which ones were the contestants. I pegged Caroline Mazurek as the winner from the start, as there was something about her frame and look that made her the obvious choice. Congratulations to Caroline for winning the 5th Annual Mario, Make Me A Model competition.
So what do you think? Which designer really took flight?