11th Annual Driehaus awards for fashion excellence

April 25, 2012 10:06:48 AM PDT
Driehaus Design Initiative celebrates the innovation and craftsmanship of emerging student fashion designers at their annual fashion show competition. The event includes a pre-party with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, silent auction and runway show.

The runway competition provides a select group of local fashion design students the opportunity to showcase their unique design perspectives at a full-scale runway show with professional models. They are judged by a panel of three industry experts.The selected top designers will receive cash awards. Additionally, the finalists will win a mentorship with Jon Cotay, owner of AKIRA, and the opportunity to attend a workshop on the business of retail and fashion.

Driehaus Design Initiative will donate event proceeds to each of the participating local Chicago schools: Columbia College Chicago, Dominican University, The Illinois Institute of Art, The International Academy of Design & Technology and The School of Art Institute of Chicago. The annual event was first inspired by Chicago fashion icon Skip Grisham's idea, and established by Richard Driehaus to promote design education and to foster public appreciation of all aspects of fashion design and history. Runway expert Tracey Tarantino shows what the judges look for in the art and design by showing us designs from previous winners.

Award and Fashion Show
Friday, April 27, 6PM
700 S. Des Plaines

Reserved Seating tickets: $250
General Seating tickets: $175


Look 1, After 5 Attire: by designer Jessica Fitzgerald
Career women on the town need a quick transition from day to night after work.
This After Five collection has tiny ruche detailing on the dress that makes it go beyond "basic black." And hand cut illusion windows on the bold red jacket makes it perfect to throw on in place of a traditional black blazer. The judges saw that this jacket could easily be redesigned to be mass-produced in a array of sizes and colors.

Look 2, Outerwear: by designer Laima Gaudinskas
Every woman in Chicago needs to invest in a stylish, high quality winter coat.
Look for a coat with tailored details like shoulder epaulettes and fully lined inset pockets. This piece of outerwear has the craftsmanship of an expert, and the design flatters any figure type.

Look 3, Denim: by designer Que Shebley
This look proves once and for all that men's denim styling can be fashion forward. For example, this pair of jeans features trendy zipper trim. The urban top piece could easily translate into a contemporary man's wardrobe to be worn over jeans.

Look 4, Cocktail: by Hector-Javier MonArrez
The fit and the detailing of this cocktail dress was done with great expertise. Simple, elegant lines are enhanced with hand-pleated rosettes make this piece a springtime show- stopper.

Look 5, Cocktail Gown: by designer Fraley Le
Whether you're dressing for spring gala season or as a wedding guest, in Chicago the term "go big or go home" applies to formalwear. In this winner's design, the use of almost 65 yards of iridescent fabric makes this garment command attention. When looking to buy a gown, make both a grand entrance and a grand exit: consider both the front and back detailing. That's what makes this winner unforgettable.

Tracy Tarantino's fashion advice:
  • In career wear and after-five attire, look at the quality of the fabric, construction and the quality of the seams. When you're selecting pieces for your own closet, these details will help you gage durability.
  • Spring is the best time to look for bargains on winter coats, as retailers try to clear their racks. Look for details on the shoulders and pockets to get that "tailored" look.
  • A great, trendy pair of denim is a staple for any closet- and can be easily dressed up or down.
  • A cocktail dress should be constructed with elegant lines for a perfect fit, with unique enhancements to make it stand out.
  • When it comes to buying formalwear, pay attention to flow, draping and hand detailing like stitch work and beading? this will help you understand whether or not your gown is worth the investment.