Friday, August 25, 2017

Designer Gabrielle Zwick Shows How a Bathing Suit Can Simplify Your Life

As the base for every outfit, swimwear designer Gabrielle Zwick picked a colorful and flattering bathing suit with strategic cutout, available at

While still being comfortable, chunky heels make the look more appropriate for a museum or art gallery; a circle black skirt completes the outfit.

A pair of flared pants and a see-through piece on top elevate the swimsuit to rooftop party material.

All illustrations by Rosemary Fanti

From the Beach to the Rooftop

Few places are more exciting than Chicago in the summer. With so much to do on a gorgeous sunny day, who has the time to go back home and change? We put swimwear designer and Chicago Fashion Incubator alum Gabrielle Zwick up to the challenge of creating three different looks for a stylish girl who will be enjoying every facet of the city from dawn till dusk. She will start at the beach, then go see some art at a gallery or museum, and ultimately finish her outing at a fun rooftop party. The catch? Everything needs to fit in a simple beach bag—and she needs to feel fabulous all the time. For this task Gabrielle picked one of her intricate statement bathing suits and paired it with light basic garments. “A swimsuit is such an amazing and versatile piece,” she says. “It can be styled with high waist jeans or a skirt, just like a body suit. Only a swimsuit enables you to add swimming to the mix!” Since her pieces are double layered with nylon and spandex, they can also function as shapewear (aka Spanx).

“So why not wear something this flattering as everyday clothing?,” she says. Many suits also have underwire and adjustable straps unlike most bodysuits. Women have been wearing lingerie as ready-to-wear for several years now. “I believe this is simply the next step in the fashion evolution,” predicts the designer.

See more of Gabrielle's swimsuits at

And learn about Rosemary Fanti's commercial and live event illustrations at Love her work!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Chicago Looks IRL

Remember to get your Chicago Reader!

Sew Anastasia - Learning to Sew with Anastasia Chatzka Part 3

Designer Anastasia Chatzka teaches me how to put the zipper on my circle skirt.

Putting the "circle" in the circle skirt: I sewed the waist with long stiches then gathered the fabric along the waist.
Iris is a very important element in Anastasia's sewing class - she is there for support and inspiration in every step of the way.

On my third class with fashion designer Anastasia Chatzka I learned how to sew a zipper on my denim circle skirt. It's much easier than I expected, but the process does have a few small tricks. I'm glad I had her by my side guiding me - I don't think I'd be able to do it on my own.

Then we used the large stitch setting in the sewing machine all around the waist. After that I gathered the waist of the circle skirt manually, sliding the fabric through the stitches until it looked as uniform as possible. It took me some time to get the gathering right, but again: it's not rocket science. Sewing is decidedly fun, and a great activity to do in good company - I know I really enjoyed Iris's occasional appearance and the pleasant chatting in the studio.

See what happened in my previous lessons here and here.

Get more info about Anastasia Chtazka's lessons at Sew Anastasia, and also check out her very instructive YouTube sewing channel.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chicago Looks IRL

Always remember to get your Chicago Reader!

Making Mainbocher closes on the 20th!

Dresses by Mainbocher in the "Making Mainbocher" Chicago History Museum exhibit. / Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum

Wallis Simpson wears a dress by Mainbocher on her wedding day. / Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum

Main Rousseau Bocher, aka Mainbocher. The former intelligence officer in WWI became the first American couturier - and he was born here, in Chicago! / Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum

Must-see exhibit for all fashion fans out there: Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier - on display at the Chicago History Museum until next Sunday, August 20th. Learn more about the fascinating history of this remarkable Chicagoan in this great Chicago Reader post by Deanna Isaacs. And of course, in the exhibit itself! More info here.


I am so excited Ana Custodio will be joining the Chicago Looks team! As some of you might have noticed, I've been pretty erratic in my posting. Maybe I always have... I LOVE this blog, but ever since I moved to the States in 2009 my life has been pretty eventful - and things got exponentially busier when I got pregnant in 2014. Right now I have a very cute - and active - toddler by my side during most of my waking hours, who will be pulling my right hand from the trackpad every time I'm on the computer. All the little time I have left I allocate to my Chicago Reader column, and my Newcity editorials (more on those soon!).

So yes, in comes Ana, on a beautiful summer morning at the Garfield Park Conservatory, sporting a lovely gingham dress. While photographing her with my toddler in tow, I had no idea she had a background in fashion journalism and was looking for an outlet for her writing here in Chicago - a city she had recently moved to.

Ana is giving me hope one day Chicago Looks will be updated regularly, and that we will be able to better serve our talented fashion community. Read her first event coverage for Chicago Looks in the post below, "The Four Elements of Fashion by Runway Addicts."

Cheers, Ana! Welcome to Chicago Looks! And cheers to blogging!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The 4 Elements of Fashion by Runway Addicts

Margaret Baggott demonstrates how to weave a pattern on a loom. 
Lines are an important part of design. Mallory Fifer demonstrates this element through drawing. 

Tray, @travoughntaywilliams, photographed at The 4 Elements of Fashion Exhibit at AMFM Gallery.
Designer Jaja To's Paradise Lost collection. 
chicago street style fashion blog
 Erin Leann, @itserinleann, photographed in front of her artwork at AMFM Gallery in Pilsen. 
Up close and personal with some of the denim used to demonstrate color. 
Beautiful print for Jaja To's Paradise Lost collection. 

Every piece of clothing that hangs in our closet has gone through a unique journey. That journey begins when each designer conceives an idea or look in their mind. While each journey is different, there are four elements that make up that journey, color, texture, shape, and line. For this fashion installation, The 4 Elements of Fashion, Amanda Harth, founder of Runway Addicts and curator of the event, wanted the audience to gain a richer understanding of the creative process behind fashion design.

The inspiration for this installation came from conversations that Harth has had with other creatives, leading to an interest in the design process, "I have a lot of conversation with artists and creatives," said Harth, "Lately, I've been interested in the process behind a lot of designers work and I wanted to show the essential process of fashion in a format that is completely bare and essentially the beginning of the design process." To demonstrate these four elements, Harth came up with an installation that was not only visually engaging, but interactive as well. 

Guests could watch as textile designer 
Margaret Baggott weaved different patterns on a loom, clothing designer Jaja To draped a dress, art student  Mallory Fifer drew a still life of a model, and were even invited to doodle on a pair of jeans with Sharpie by Iicky Genes to exemplify each element behind the process. These four exhibitions were set at AMFM Gallery where there was a backdrop of vibrant, colorful paintings done by Erin LeAnn the resident artist, very fitting for the installation. 

Not only was this installation creatively stimulating, it was a learning experience for anyone who attended. If you missed it, Harth already has other events in the works that we can look forward to, "In October, we'll be hosting an exhibition inspired by denim culture called Indigo Nation. We did it last year and it was a great success, this year we're changing a few things up." 

We can't wait!

Post and photos by Ana Custodio

Alanna Picks #20: Michael Ashley

Wardrobe stylist Michael Ashley of Runway Addicts, who has been featured in my Chicago Reader column, was photographed by Chicago Looks contributor Alanna Zaritz at The Four Elements of Fashion (see post by Ana Custodio above). Check out her Instagram at @stylez_by_mike and the account she made for her colostomy bag at @shit_happens313. No matter the situation, Ashley always looks fabulous!

Most Stylish at Lollapalooza 2017: Because We’re Not Just There For Music

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog
Fashion designer Alex Carter, featured in Newcity’s August 2017 issue.

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog
BOOTS, who performed with Run the Jewels on Friday at Lollapalooza 2017.

chicago street style fashion blog
Singer-songwriter Skott, who performed on Friday at Lollapalooza 2017.

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog
Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, one of the founders of Lollapalooza, and one of the current producers of the festival.

chicago street style fashion blog
Channel Tres of Duckwrth performed on Sunday at Lollapalooza 2017.

chicago street style fashion blog
Part of the band “Blossoms”, who performed on Saturday at Lollapalooza 2017.

chicago street style fashion blog
Marcus of the RVBES collective was wearing Versace head to toe—literally. Even his backpack was Versace!

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

Originally published in Newcity.

See more Lollapalooza street style in the following posts:

Game, Set, Match - The biggest menswear trend at Lollapalooza in 2017? Flashy prints - in double!

Meredith Graves Fashion Week 2017 - The MTV News anchor and Perfect Pussy frontwoman put a show of her own during Lollapalooza this year.
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