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Style Week

Friday, May 25, 2012

Going, going . . . Take my jacket, please!

Posted By on 05.25.12 at 04:42 PM

Issey Miyake was born in Hiroshima in 1938. He survived the atomic bomb and grew up to design items of clothing that are museum-quality art, along with Steve Jobs's famous black turtlenecks.

He may or may not have personally had a hand in the eggplant-hued, embroidered cotton jacket I'm about to hand off to some brave Reader reader, but it's definitely sporting his label. Here's why you might not want it, but if you do, the deadline for saying so is coming up, Saturday at midnight.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

How I learned to never go out of style

Posted By on 05.19.12 at 09:37 AM

Honey Merrill, circa 1958
  • Honey Merrill, circa 1958
I count myself lucky to have fallen early in life under the spell of a bona fide style icon.

As far as such icons go, this one's elusive—more obscure than an Audrey or Katharine, but no less chic. She was at the height of her visibility from the late 40s to late 60s, which makes evidence of her contributions hard to come by today. You might glimpse her on the A&E Channel, if it were to air the 2001 episode of Biography titled "Jackie Gleason: The Great One," in which she discusses the 13 years she spent as Gleason’s (mostly) live-in girlfriend. (What she doesn’t talk about on the show was how she dressed the rotund comic genius, picking out fabrics for his custom-made Earl Benham suits, his Sulka dress shirts, the Bronzini ties that had to be lengthened four inches for him.) I once spotted her in a creaky record store, on the cover of the Gleason album The Torch With the Blue Flame, which was released by Capitol Records in 1959 (when she was 27) and imparted new meaning, at least for me, to the songs "I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face" and "My Silent Love"—songs she later claimed to have helped him choose. The photo itself was taken a year earlier, in the living room at Gleason’s "Round House" in Peekskill, New York. She had recently moved in.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Facehunter and me: a story of admiration and rejection

Posted By on 05.18.12 at 06:46 AM

That is NOT me
  • Gaia Boutique Club
  • That is NOT me
I first heard about street style blogs through a magazine article featuring a list of the best ones—which I'll do at the end of this post. But first let's talk about the very best one (in my opinion). The Facehunter, run by Yvan Rodic.

I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that blog. Those people were everything I wanted to be, and hey, I could be, because they were just regular folks walking down the street. Face Hunter brought me hope. But it also brought me a lot of heartache.

I was still living in Brazil when Yvan came shoot at São Paulo Fashion Week. Since I was contributing to a street style blog, I got my first SPFW media pass. I felt great. And I wanted to be on the Face Hunter. So I put a foot-long bow on my head, some crazy geometric print dress, a pair of yellow sandals on top of black tights, and preyed. I was hunting the hunter.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why a cape?

Posted By on 05.17.12 at 06:47 AM

Outfit for a 60-degree spring day (plus shoes)
  • Shutterstock / Nancy Catherine Walker
  • Outfit for a 60-degree spring day (shoes not included)
Honestly, there are really only a handful of instances outside of Halloween and jaunts to Medieval Times in which I consider donning a traditional cape—not something you can buy at American Apparel—to be fashionably appropriate: singing "Please, Please, Please," camping at Burning Man, living in a Jane Austen novel, or discussing the "Number of the Day" with Count von Count. (Sorry, Avengers fans, I'm over you at the moment.)

But if you're a fashion-forward cape owner unlike myself, I've been a little jealous of you these past few weeks. Still hungover from the glorious summery March, the city has lately been forced to deal with more fluctuating, Chicago-like temperatures, including rain every Saturday for seemingly the past six weeks. Yesterday was sunny and pleasant but with a slight chill in the air—the perfect opportunity to shroud myself in a sleeveless, flowing garment that will both keep my back warm and allow me extravagant flourishes if the breeze hits just right.

Damn this excellent cape weather.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Giving away: a bad-luck jacket

Posted By on 05.16.12 at 06:26 AM

FREE, to anyone who dares claim it:

One deep-purple, near-vintage, cotton summer jacket by legendarily inventive designer Issey Miyake.

Meticulously constructed, immensely comfortable and versatile, with top-stitched and embroidered seams, creative yoking, side pockets, and apparent curse.

Dear reader:

Might you want my jacket? And do you believe that clothes have karma?

I don’t, of course.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Street View 008: Casual + Neat

Posted By on 05.15.12 at 12:31 PM

Street View is a series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights fascinatingly fashionable Chicagoans.

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Ed attains the difficult balance of relaxed yet well put together. Notice the attention to detail: the perfectly buttoned cardigan, the rolled-up sleeves, the crispiest bow tie ever, the perfectly fitted pants . . .

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"My breasts are now your art"

Posted By on 05.15.12 at 06:32 AM

Ikram employees looking fly
“This party is like: ‘I just lost my virginity and I’m hiding a bottle of my parents’ best liquor under my dress,’” said a woman swathed in gold sequins as she leaned over the bar. My high school boyfriend dumped me on prom night, but I understood the sentiment.

This was “Crash the Gala,” the afterparty for the Art Institute’s annual gala. This year, “Crash the Gala” turned Terzo Piano, the sleek, minimalist Modern Wing restaurant designed by Dirk Denison Architects into the ideal setting for a John Hughes film. The ceiling was covered in balloons, and disco balls cast celebratory patterns across the room. Hot dog vendors, popcorn machines, and ice cream sundae buffets lined nearly every wall, and a handful of servers carried trays of corn dogs, potato chips, and heaping piles of bacon. Yes, just bacon. Of course, unlike actual prom, usually organized by student committees and stifled by teacher chaperones, “Crash the Gala” was hosted by Ikram Goldman, Michelle Obama’s stylist and owner of Chicago fashion boutique Ikram.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

On style

Posted By on 05.14.12 at 07:52 AM

The theme on the blog this week is style, a concept that is often perceived—in American culture, at least—as an accessory to life, if you will—as a bit of frippery, something nice to have but not really necessary, especially in tough economic times.

In fact, style is possibly more important when life presents challenges, because ultimately it’s an appreciation of life in the simplest sense. Style is an expression of beauty in the everyday—whether we’re talking about clothes, silverware, or computers, style heightens the mundane. Style makes life more enjoyable. What would the world look like if style didn’t matter? Like something out the worst nightmares of the Soviet era, or perhaps North Korea today—concrete block housing and dun-colored uniforms.

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This week: Style, street and otherwise

Posted By on 05.14.12 at 07:27 AM

A personal style maven: Nancy Cunard
For this week's Variations on a Theme, we'll be loosely riffing off Leor Galil's cover story on the symbiotic relationship between Chicago's hip-hop artists and local streetwear lines ("There's no longer a Tower Records or Virgin store where you can have parties or signings when mix tapes drop," says Fake Shore Drive's Andrew Barber. "The streetwear stores gave people a place to hang out."). The Bleader has already featured posts on office-worker camo for the NATO summit, including one that sparked a bit of a hubbub. From here we'll branch out, including posts by style contributors Isa Giallorenzo and Heather Kenny (whose kickoff is here), staff writers Deanna Isaacs and Kevin Warwick, and Reader editor Mara Shalhoup.

If you missed last week's Variations on a Theme, I especially recommend Elly Fishman on the Chicago origins of the hoochie coochie and Ben Sachs on one origin we all share.

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September 20
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September 18

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