Crescendo Apparel

November 13, 2009

Shop our Fall/Winter collection at a special holiday shopping and wellness event, sponsored by Magellan Development, developer of Chicago's Lake Shore East. Other event highlights:
* Chicago's Centered Chef will offer a demonstration on cooking for health.
* mySpa at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, will offer a travel kit for the purchase of a $100 Gift Card.

Lakeshore East Sales Gallery
430 E. Waterside Drive, Chicago
November 18, 6 to 9 pm
RSVP via email or call: 1.888.215.0270 x102

Model #1

THE BARCELONA SKIRT in black and cream

Architect Mies van der Rohe, who designed the Barcelona Pavilion and Chair in 1929, defined 20th century architecture with his glass-and-steel masterpieces.We applied his "less is more" approach to our sexy secretary skirt—a curve-clinging form with angled pock- ets and side darts to slenderize. For whimsy's sake, we added a look-but-don't-touch kick- pleat. Mies would forgive us the flourish.


In stretch wool, choose any two colors from these four options: dark slate, plum, cream and black. Lined in silk.

Model #2

THE SYDNEY SKIRT in the black sparkle pinstripe

From a distance, the massive, triangular "sails" of the Sydney Opera House appear to skim along the surrounding Sydney Harbor. In our tribute to that Concrete Wonder Down Under, we've defined the waist with blocks of overlapping, triangular shapes. From there, the skirt cascades in waves to a below-the-knee hem. And in the double-knit jersey fabric choice,The Sydney Skirt is reversible.


1. Eggplant/black in reversible, double-knit jersey. 2. Black sparkle pinstripe in all-weather stretch wool, lined in silk.

Model #3


When early sailors fell overboard, they used a knotting technique to turn their bell-bottomed pants into life preservers.The Debra sailor pant won't help you float in the deep blue. But our straight cut and form-fitting waist— whose front panel buttons up—elongates your lines (so your gams will look good all the way down).


Debra Winger. As Paula in Officer and a Gentleman, she gave us one of cinema's most iconic love stories—with the Navy's most devastatingly handsome cadet (Richard Gere).


Lightweight stretch denim in midnight blue.

Model #4


In early Hollywood, no self-respecting starlet went anywhere without her high-waisted pants. In our version of the 1940s look, which features a waistband in soft leather, you'll look positively box office.


Katharine Hepburn, who wore all manner of pants—tailored, slouchy, sporty—at a time when polite society rigorously disapproved of women in any manner of pants.


Fine stretch tweed in mocha, lined in silk; leather waistband in espresso.

Model #5

THE SYDNEY SKIRT in double-kint

From a distance, the massive, triangular "sails" of the Sydney Opera House appear to skim along the surrounding Sydney Harbor. In our tribute to that Concrete Wonder Down Under, we've defined the waist with blocks of overlapping, triangular shapes. From there, the skirt cascades in waves to a below-the-knee hem. And in the double-knit jersey fabric choice,The Sydney Skirt is reversible.


1. Eggplant/black in reversible, double-knit jersey. 2. Order in advance for the holidays: black sparkle pinstripe in all-weather stretch wool, lined in silk.

Kathryn Mckechnie will be wearing:


You're as feminine as a wine spritzer. But you can also be drill-sergeant tough. Our chic interpretation of the cargo pant—in sumptuous leather and lambswool—suits you whether you're batting your lashes or battening down the hatches. Subtle details riff off military wear, but we nixed the bulky cargo pockets to streamline your silhouette.


Every wife, daughter and mother who's sacrificed to serve her country.


Lambswool in toffee, lined in silk; leather waistband in espresso.

The tops and accessories are provided by Veruca Salt
Veruca Salt - River North
521 N. Kingsbury
Chicago, IL 60654
Veruca Salt - Bucktown
1921 N. Damen
Chicago, Il 60647
Veruca Salt is offering 15% off to anyone who comes in the store and mentions the show!



CURRENTLY SOLD in studio by appointment, via trunk shows in boutiques and at private events. To schedule an in-studio appointment, to place an order or to learn more about our collection and events, visit

POISED FOR EXPANSION. As the company gains market presence, the brand plans to introduce additional collections that address a myriad of fit issues women face.

PHILANTHROPIC: As a clothing brand, Crescendo gives women fashion that fits. As a company, Crescendo gives back. Its first philanthropic initiative supports Step Up Women's Network, a national non-profit dedicated to strengthening community resources for women and girls. Crescendo is the exclusive sponsor of Step Up's Fall Midwest College Tour. The four-day tour gives 30 teen girls from underserved communities the chance to visit colleges across the Midwest. WOMAN OWNED: Kathryn McKechnie unveiled her fashion label's first "fire your tailor" collection in 2009. McKechnie, a fashion entrepreneur with a heart for philanthropy and mind for finance, understands her consumer market so well because she herself fits squarely within it. She spent a lifetime struggling to find stylish clothes that fit her curvy figure off the rack. She launched her company to help other women like her feel comfortable--and beautiful--in their skin


FLEXIBLE. Each garment in Crescendo's debut collection is designed to expand women's style options. In classic silhouettes and versatile colors, the pants, skirts and wraps integrate seamlessly into existing wardrobes, transitioning from work to play with ease. The Sydney Skirt in double-knit jersey, for instance, is reversible, while the leather waistband of our high-waisted pant can be folded over as a belt, or worn high for a cinched middle.

CHIC. Crescendo gives women access to the styles they love in theory but avoid in practice. Until they meet our G.I. Jane Pant, for instance, many women are content to leave cargo pants to the military. But in sumptuous leather and lambswool, our adaptation eliminates the army-navy bulk in favor of a streamlined look.

ENDURING. Even as Crescendo clothing celebrates quintessentially modern looks, every garment is built on a foundation of timeless, classic cuts. Along with Coco Chanel, who famously said: "Fashion is made to become unfashionable," Crescendo recognizes that style endures, not slavish adherence to trends. Each piece in the Crescendo line is designed to engender the longevity of a classic.


Crescendo's debut collection for Fall/Winter 2009 strikes a pose at the point between a quintessentially modern attitude and our reverence for timeless style. Even as the garments in the line embrace the freshest, most of-the-moment trends now walking the runways and city streets of fashion meccas like New York and London, they remain true to the enduring principles of classic design.

As a result, women in Crescendo clothes exude the kind of put-together, breezy style that stays in vogue forever. It's the kind of style associated with 1940's Hollywood starlets, always polished, never practiced. Like those early ingénues, the collection hums with hints of mischief and moxy--maintaining a strong, sophisticated presence all the while.

Several vintage silhouettes--a high-waisted pant, a sexy pencil skirt--create a mood of nostalgia for that earlier era's sensibilities, while other garments look to the future. Using streamlined shapes, the collection features adaptations of popular styles that typically punish. In this collection, those styles suddenly flatter and forgive. In luxurious fabrics like wools, fine tweeds, lambswool and an iridescent pinstripe that glints when it catches the light, the clothes capture the warmth of autumn. Cared-for details-- leather trim, brass embellishments, slimming darts, silk embroidery--add layers of depth and texture to the warm, earthy palette of nightshade and neutral hues, like eggplant, plum, charcoal and mocha.


The Muse Line of Pants pays homage to the real-life women who inspire us in matters of life and in style. And in everything else. Our It Girl Pant, for instance, honors Hollywood's legendary fashion rebel Katharine Hepburn, who wore all manner of trousers--tailored, slouchy, sporty--at a time when polite society disapproved.

The Architecture Line of Skirts draws from the vernacular of both classical and modernist architecture--and the master architects who shaped our skylines, like modernist Mies van der Rohe. He defined 20th century architecture with his buildings of extreme simplicity, an approach we followed in designing our sexy secretary skirt.

The Barcelona, named after his 1929 Barcelona Pavilion and chair of the same name, is a statement in minimalism, the better to cling to curves with.

The Symmetry Line of Wraps is elegance by the yard. Envelope your shoulders in a Crescendo wrap for an instant uptick in sophistication. For women with delicate shoulders, a bonus: Wraps creates balance between your silhouette's top and bottom.

Kathryn McKechnie
Founder and President

After a decade-long career as a successful financial analyst, Kathryn McKechnie traded in her spreadsheets for fashion spreads with the launch of Crescendo Apparel, a fashion label for women who struggle to find high-fashion clothes that fit off the rack. In Fall 2009, she unveiled her first collection of pants, skirts and wraps, catering to women with small waists and fuller hips. As far back as she can remember, McKechnie has been a high-fashion enthusiast, poring over the pages of Vogue. The problem, however, was that most clothing lines failed to accommodate her curvy figure, while the labels that did fell far short of her sense of style. Through her adult life, she had to alter pants and skirts that were too big for her waist because there was no other option. Even then, the fits weren't great. She knew she wasn't alone. The most fashionable, contemporary design houses produce clothing for what some in the industry have come to call "the ideal figure." In order to fit that body type, designers work with straighter, less forgiving cuts than most women require.

"I couldn't help but wonder," says McKechnie. " 'Ideal' according to who?" When she dug into the industry stats, she learned that 64 percent of women fit the technical description of a classic pear-shape figure, according to a 2003 survey by SizeUSA. That means their waists are 10 or more inches smaller than their hips. By contrast, 4 percent of women have the measurements of the "ideal" figure.

"I've always been a math person," says McKechnie, who graduated with high honors in finance from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "but you don't need to be a statistician to see that the multi-billion dollar fashion industry was ignoring a solid majority of women—at the expense of its own bottom line."

That was all the inspiration she needed. "I knew that my financial and business acumen would help me create a successful offering for a previously ignored segment of women," says McKechnie. "But it's my personal experience as one of those women that's really driving this company."

Featured in Today's Chicago Women as a model for any woman who dreams of changing careers in pursuit of her passions, McKechnie earned a second degree—this one in Fashion Marketing and Management—from the Illinois Institute of Art in September 2007.

McKechnie is a member of The Apparel Industry Board. Inc. (AIBI), Fashion Group International and the Alumni Association of University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. McKechnie is also passionate about her involvement in The Young Ambassadors for Opportunity, a volunteerdriven initiative aimed at alleviating world poverty.

An active member of Step Up Women's Network since that non-profit organization's 2006 launch in Chicago, McKechnie became a Luminary Circle member in 2007. Since then, she's chaired Step Up's Teen Programs Empowerment Committee.

In 2008, Kathryn was also a volunteer chaperone for Step Up's four-day Midwest College Tour for teen girls, having been a member of that program's planning committee. Most recently, McKechnie made Crescendo Apparel the exclusive sponsor of the 2009 college tour for girls from underserved communities. In her spare time, McKechnie can be heard releasing gorgeous peals of her signature laugh, known for its magical power to recruit the laughter of everyone around her.

Kristen Burger
Principal Designer/Production Manager

"So many women look at clothes on a rack and think: I'd only look good in those if I were five pounds lighter, two inches taller, or in some way different," says Crescendo's head designer Kristen Burger. "At Crescendo, I design clothing that works for women as they are--not as they feel they could or should be."

Burger, who was born in the U.S., spent a large part of her childhood in Hong Kong. "I was never made to feel that being different was a problem," says Burger, a 6'1" brunette who was taller than her babysitter by age 10. "When I got back to America as a teen, I couldn't understand why people had so many prejudices about different body types. I want these clothes, which look great on body types most designers ignore, to play a role in changing that."

As Crescendo's queen of quality control, Burger says her obsession with detail is one of the healthier fixations she could have picked up along the course of her design career. And as she continues to roll out new designs for Crescendo--classic and fashion-forward at once--it's come in handy.

Prior to her appointment as Crescendo's head designer and production manager, the graduate of The Illinois Institute of Art cut her teeth in women's fashion as assistant to award-winning Chicago designer Lara Miller.

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