Chicago Ties the Knot

June 22, 2010 Local designers have created wedding gown looks for a contest hosted by the Chicago History Museum. And it's now down to three.

FashioNext Finale

Thursday, June 24, 7:00 p.m.

Curator Timothy Long will host the finale to the competition, in which the three finalists share their inspirations and experiences as models showcase their gowns. The winner will be announced live. A cocktail reception follows the program.

$35; $30 members; $15 students.


FashioNext is an ongoing, ground-breaking fashion design competition featuring established Chicago designers. In its second year, the designers were asked to create a wedding gown inspired by pieces from the upcoming exhibition, I Do! Chicago Ties the Knot. The judges have narrowed the competition to three uniquely inspired designs. This year's finalists include:

· Caroline DeVillo
· Carla Hwang and Kenneth Park from VWIDON
· Katrin Schnabl

The other FashioNext designers that participated in this year's competition included James de Colon, Elda De La Rosa, Anna Fong, Holly Greenhagen of Dame Couture, and Jane Hamidi of Palazzo Bridal.

The finalists' designs can be viewed on the Museum's website at

The competition has eight judges with varying fashion backgrounds, they are: Timothy Long, Curator of Costumes at the Museum; Noren Ungaretti, President of the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum; Iris Wang, Vice President, Design and Marketing at Brentano Fabrics; Andrea Kalish Reynders, Sage Studios Endowed Chair for the Department of Fashion Design with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Roger Price and Tommy Walton, FashioNext 2009 winners; D. Graham Kostic, Style Editor for Modern Luxury Magazines, LLC; Gaynor Strachan Chun, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ovation TV; and Cassie Walker, Senior Editor for Chicago Magazine.

From May 20 to June 20 a public vote occurred, and the most popular design selected will count as one vote in the judging process. The winning gown will be announced at the finale event on Thursday, June 24 with a runway show of the final three designs. The winning gown will then go on display in the Museum's exhibition and accessioned into the Museum's costume collection.

Ovation TV and Comcast are the presenting sponsors of FashioNext. The Museum recognizes Brentano Fabrics, the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, Frost Lighting, Food For Thought Catering, Chicago Magazine, and Chicagoland Mercedes Benz for their support of FashioNext.

I DO! Chicago Ties the Knot

Museum unveils the unique history of Chicago weddings through fashion

I Do! Chicago Ties the Knot, an exhibition opening May 22, 2010 at the Chicago History Museum, examines wedding traditions and practices using the Museum's extensive and diverse collection of wedding garments. Visitors will discover some of the surprising origins of common wedding traditions while viewing traditional and unexpected wedding dresses worn by Chicagoans. The exhibition runs through January 3, 2011.

Over the past two centuries Americans have increasingly romanticized, standardized, and commercialized weddings. The Museum's expansive costume collection of nearly one thousand wedding gowns, suits, and accessories dating back to the 1720s allowed for the exhibition to unveil a unique view on wedding traditions. I Do! Chicago Ties the Knot also examines how America's wedding industry emerged, and how Marshall Field & Company along with other retailers embraced a set of common customs and traditions from the past to create a new romantic ideal for weddings that is still followed today.

"In 1924, Marshall Field & Company became the first retail store to offer a bridal registry. They realized the potential of a bride being a customer for not just one day, but a customer for life. These are the kinds of stories we hope to share through this exhibition," stated Timothy Long, curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition features approximately 50 costumes including bridal and wedding party ensembles,along with other artifacts. Visitors will see bridal gowns in other colors besides the classic white. "The color white was very difficult to produce. It was at times considered an ostentatious color that women could only wear once. Most women opted for a dress they could wear again," said Long. Visitors will also discover the meaning behind veils, bouquets, and rings among other traditions.

The Museum wanted to know how Chicagoans propose, and the more Chicago themed, the better. "Collecting the stories of Chicagoans is one of the things we do best," said Gary T. Johnson, Museum president. "We are excited to learn what makes us as Chicagoans unique in our proposals."

The Museum will host several programs that relate to bridal fashion including a behind-the-scenes bus tour, Work Spaces, Chic Places on June 5 and a history pub crawl on November 18 where participants can wear their old wedding gown, tux, or bridesmaid dress while learning about the roots of wedding traditions and champagne.

The Museum is also presenting the second annual FashioNext design competition. Launched in September 2009, eight Chicago designers were chosen to design a wedding gown inspired by pieces from the I Do! Chicago Ties the Knot exhibition. Each designer submitted their sketches and fabric samples supplied by Brentano Fabrics and then those eight designers were narrowed down to three finalists. They are Carla Wang and Kenneth Park of Vwidon, Caroline DeVillo, and Katrin Schabl. The finale event will be held June 24 with a runway show announcing the winner. The design competition can be followed through the Museum's website at

I Do! Chicago Ties the Knot would not have been possible without the generous support of the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum. The Costume Council will host a luncheon on May 21, as an exclusive preview and lunch with curator, Timothy Long. The luncheon will celebrate many of the themes from the exhibition and tickets are $225 per person. The Costume Council supports the Museum's costume collection and exhibitions related to dress. The Museum would also like to acknowledge the Crown Family for their continued support.

The Chicago History Museum, a major museum and research center, is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. The Museum can be reached by CTA buses 11, 22, 36, 72, 151, and 156. Parking is conveniently located one block north of the Museum at Clark and LaSalle Streets. Admission to the Museum is $14 adults, $12 seniors/students, free for children 12 years and younger. Admission is FREE on Mondays. Please call 312.642.4600 or visit us at


Timothy Long is Curator of Costumes at the Chicago History Museum. He works closely with the public to acquire new objects for the collection, provides tours of the costume collection and exhibitions, and lectures on costume history and Museum exhibitions. Most recently, Long was the curator for San Diego Style, at the San Diego Historical Society, October 2009 – April 2010; Bertha Honoré Palmer in 2009; Chic Chicago: Couture Treasures from the Chicago History Museum in 2008; Chicago @ 40: The Band and its City in 2007; Dior: The New Look in 2006; and co-curated the Chic Chicago exhibition at the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC in 2007.

Long has also curated the following Chicago History Museum exhibitions: Coming of Age, January 2003 – January 2004; Flamenco: Latin Dance in Chicago, September 2003 – February 2004; On the Fringe: Indian Shawls in Chicago, December 2001 – July 2003; Raymond Hudd: Hats over the Edge, December 2000 – October 2001; and Head over Heels: Hats and Shoes Manufactured in Chicago 1900-1950, March – November 2000.

During his career at the Museum, Long has presented the following lectures: Developing the U.S.A. through Fur Trade, November 2010; Dress and the Natural World, summer 2009 at Courtauld Institute of Art, London; The Golden Age of Couture, March 2008; The Gilded Cage, June 2007; Mannequin Madness: Behind the Scenes of a Costume Exhibition, December 2006; WWII and the Rise of Christian Dior, October 2005; The Gibson Girl and the Birth of the Modern Woman, November 2004; The Roaring Twenties, September and November 2002; Corsets to Suffrage: The Unbinding of the Western Woman, May 2000; and The 19th Century Birth of the Fashion World, January 1999.

Long has been interviewed and consulted on many projects including television programming such as: Chicago Tonight, WTTW, News Around Town with Joannie Lum, WGN-TV, and At the Auction with Leslie Hindman, HGTV January 2001.

In addition to his duties at the Museum, Long is an Adjunct Professor at the International Academy of Design and Technology and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and returning Guest Lecturer at the University of Chicago.

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