Chicago Fashion Focus: Fashion Follows Interiors, A “Mad Men” Event Recap

I was fortunate enough to attend Fashion Follows Interiors a “Mad Men” Event on Tuesday, October 16. The event was part of the 8th annual Fashion Focus Week here in Chicago.  I attended as a member of the Chicago Blogger Network and was given VIP treatment for the night.  It was my first ever event as a style blogger, and it was wonderful!  I met some really great people and saw some awe-inspiring fashion.

Chicago Blogger Network VIP Lounge

A little bit about the event itself.

The Fashion Follows Interiors event was held at the breath-taking Blackstone hotel downtown. Fashion designers were tasked with creating a “Mad Men” inspired garment from interior design materials from the Chicago Merchandise Mart.  The designers were judged and winning designs were awarded money and scholarships for the NEWH (National Education Hospitality Design Industry).  There was a fantastic DJ spinning hits of the 60’s all night, making the atmosphere perfect for enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

The complementary drinks were sponsored by Hennessy Black My drink of choice was the BlackFashioned, because I like “old man” drinks.  I thought about getting shots of the hors d’oeuvres, but everything was so tasty, I couldn’t wait long enough to snap a photo!

Style, style, style!

In addition to the music, guests were largely dressed in 60’s inspired outfits that were all just fantastic. Even some of the photographers covering the event dressed in period-inspired garb.  Everyone was enjoying the atmosphere, food, and drinks, and many guests got out onto the dance floor to twist and shout!

Guests dancing to great 60’s music got the party started!

The lovely event hosts were both dressed to the nines in stunning floor length gowns that were just amazing.  The ice blue dress with the high low peplum?  I drooled over it all night.

The glamorous event hosts thanking everyone for coming.

And the shoes?  Oh the shoes! I spotted these 3 ladies while I was kneeling on the floor to get pics of the designs as they made their way down the runway and couldn’t resist the cute shoes, fun patterns, and cohesiveness of it all.

Great shoes & patterns across the dance floor during the show

What I wore.

After careful consideration, and trying on a few options I had in my closet, I opted to buy a new dress for this event. What I had just wasn’t working for me, and when I spotted this dress I knew it’d be a perfect fit for the event, as well as something I could remix year-round.  Win-win.  I went a little more Twiggy-inspired, and decided to go with a mod-meets-modern look with a fab floral, ink-blot dress from H&M (on sale for $15 at my local store!).  I paired it with a vintage oxblood bag I got from my grandma, a pair of fab black heels from Express, and icy-grey socks.  I also wore my eye-catching clear statement necklace, along with my beautiful Raymond Weil watch (a gift from the hubs), and had a black cropped jacket for while I was outside.

What I Wore

I curled my hair and put it half up, with a little bit of a poof.  I went light with my makeup but still winged out my liner a little, and darkened my crease more than I usually do.  My lips were neutral.  The effect, I thought, was perfect.  Overall, I felt very chic and thought it was a good mix of mod and modern.  What do you think… did I pull it off?

Who was there?

I met and spent much of the night with Laura from 24-7 Style.  Laura was also there as one of the members of the Chicago Blogger Network.  In addition to my fellow bloggers, Glossed and Found was there taking fun themed photos of the attendees, with tons of props and fun things available to use.  Here’s a fun shot of the lovely ladies I hung out with, and myself.

Our Shot From Glossed And Found

Fun, right?  You can check out the entire album, and all the fabulously dressed attendees (as well as some of the models) here.

The designs.

I’ll be honest here and say I was expecting a whole bunch of strange stuff… similar to what you get most of the time during a Project Runway unconventional materials challenges.  I was thinking we were going to see weird things like bathroom faucet hats and circle skirts made out of astro-turf with throw pillows turned butt-bows or something.  A few others I talked to expected the same.  I tell you, was I pleasantly surprised when the runway featured mod pieces made from stunning, actually wearable materials.

You would never guess these are interior fabrics!

Even the dresses made from unconventional materials, like tile and leather-like outdoor materials, looked wearable!

Two of the more unconventional, but still wearable designs

One designer, Richelle Smith, used a light switch plate to accentuate the gathering at the front of her dress.  Pretty inventive… it was hard to even tell it was a light switch plate!

Richelle and her beautifully styled model Sorry that you can’t see the light switch plate here… I actually didn’t really get any great pics of it, unfortunately. You can see it here though.

One designer made a classic sheath dress with an overskirt that could be taken off and worn like a cloak.  Talk about a perfect event dress… no need to use the coat check, you just take your cloak off and wear it like a skirt!

This striped skirt could be worn as a cloak too. Unfortunately I didn’t get a pic of the skirt being worn as a cloak, but it was way cute.

And of course, there was a Playboy bunny inspired outfit made out of a beautiful brocade fabric.  I suppose not really wearable, but cute nonetheless.

Of course there was a Playboy Bunny inspired look!

All of the designers turned out really impressive stuff.  I wasn’t able to get a shot with everyone in it, but here’s almost every designer and model who participated.

Most of the designers with their models.

I opted not to stay for the announcement of the winning designs, because it was late and I wanted to get home.  With the extra cab ride to my car, I was going to have a little longer of a drive home.  So I took off before they announced the winners.

Overall, a great event!

I only had a couple problems with the event. First, on the event page, which was where I got all my info, the address was wrong!  I hadn’t thought to double-check things, so I didn’t.  I parked all the way north at Ohio and Rush streets and walked up and down the block the hotel was supposed to be on twice before stopping to ask a (different) hotel doorman where the Blackstone was.  Boy did I feel like a total schmuck when he chuckled and told me I was looking for 636 South Michigan Avenue.  I couldn’t believe I’d gotten it wrong… but then I pulled up the event page on my phone and sure enough, it listed it wrong.  I felt a little better, but grumbled about being a suburbanite and not knowing any better.  Instead of hoofing it, or reparking, I just cabbed it over.  Cost me about the same in the long run I think, though it was $20 extra I preferred not to have spent.  Lesson learned: always double check the address of the event you’re attending!

I also missed the red carpet arrival, even though I got there right at 6. They were still setting up when I walked in, and instead of waiting I decided to sit for a little bit, cool off (the cab ride was unbearably warm), and relax a little before heading upstairs.  I was a little frustrated, as you can imagine, both at myself for not double-checking the location and at the event itself for having the wrong address on the main page for purchasing tickets.  I didn’t really feel like waiting around for the red carpet stuff, so I just headed upstairs to see what was going on up there.  I got in, grabbed a drink, and after about 30 seconds of the fantastic 60’s mix that was going on, I’d completely forgotten my wrong-address-missed-red-carpet woes!

All in all, I had a wonderful time, and got to experience an event like a VIP, all thanks to the Chicago Blogger Network!

I’m looking forward to getting more opportunities like this with the Chicago Blogger Network, and can’t wait to share more wonderful events with you!

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