Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Brian Reyes Coming to Winnetka

Brian Reyes is coming to the Chicago area- to Winnetka at Simone's Boutique to be exact, on April 25th and 26th, where you can meet him in person while shopping his spring and fall collections and sipping champagne bien sur. We caught up with the designer before his Winnetka debut this weekend. Find out about his collection, inspirations and how he got his first fashion job.

RUNWAYTORETAIL.COM: How are you inspired with your collections?
I’m often inspired by climate, culture and landscape. This season, topography from various regions of the world inspired our fabric selection, embellishment details and color palette. Nature affects every aspect of life, and somehow it always finds a way to directly impact our collections.
RTR: What are your plans while you’re in the Chicago area other than the store appearance at Simone’s? What do you love about this boutique?
I actually have some friends out here, so I’m going to visit with them, and just enjoy the spring weather in the city. Simone’s is such a special place because it really feels like one big dressing room—Simone Gensburg is so friendly and helpful, and she always has something here for everyone.

RTR: What should every woman have in their closet?
Every woman should have a black dress she feels confident and sexy in.

RTR: Where is your favorite place to travel and has it ever inspired you for a collection?
I’ve always found travel inspiring—the diversity of culture and geographic landscapes inspire me wherever I go. Before I launched my first collection I took a trip to my native Colombia, and spent two weeks traveling to different places from my childhood. That trip inspired almost every aspect of that collection.

I’m also planning a trip to Death Valley next month, and I’m looking forward to drawing inspiration from the harshness of that environment.

RTR: What are people surprised to learn about you?
People are usually surprised to hear that I didn’t go to design school—I moved to New York straight from high school and had to go straight to work. My first job in the city was at Ralph Lauren as a design assistant without any experience.

Reyes will be at Simone's Boutique at 1060 Gage Street in the heart of Hubbard Woods in Winnetka on Friday and Saturday, April 25 & 26 from 11AM to 5PM. Please RSVP to Simone's Boutique at 847.446.9966.

Photo Credits: Tangerine Printed Silk Chiffon Camisole, Rose Silk Chiffon Camisole, Copper Washed Wool Balmacaan Jacket. Second Image: Coal Japanese Paper Cotton Pleated Strap Dress

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fashion Plates

Chicago’s premium tabletop boutique Tabula Tua partnered with adored designer Maria Pinto on April 11 and 12 for an elegant weekend called “Fashion Plates,” benefiting the Illinois Education Foundation. IEF awards financial aid to standout students of low-income families in order to facilitate their opportunities for higher education.

Held at Tabula Tua’s newly renovated space in Lincoln Park, the event included a Friday evening soirée, where guests savored fine wine and food pairings while admiring Pinto’s Spring 2008 collection. Guests hummed along to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Lincoln String Quartet as they browsed the selection of dinnerware pieces throughout the store. Saturday’s afternoon open house delighted shoppers with champagne and delectable hors d'oeuvres, while mingling models showed off Pinto’s eveningwear.

The creative merging of tabletop accessories and fashion definitely made for a visually captivating space and artistic ambiance. Particularly eye-catching were Grace Tsao-Wu’s sophisticated selection of Parisian dishes and Hering Berlin fine china.

Bold, saturated colors and asymmetrical lines marked Pinto’s latest collection. Known for her creative use of sensual and simple silhouettes, her designs are available at upscale retailers like Saks and Barneys and soon-to-be at her own store opening in June. She is also a renowned favorite of Michelle Obama, who seems to wear Pinto’s feminine pieces in nearly every editorial.

Pictured from top: Model in Maria Pinto, Rose Lizarraga of the Illinois Education Foundation; Grace Tsao-Wu and Maria Pinto

- Grace Bahk

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Runway To Retail: Pringle 1815

We have our eye's firmly fixated on designer brand Pringle 1815 available at NET-A-PORTER.COM

The line, designed by Creative Director Clare Waight Keller, is named after the year Robert Pringle found the mainline and is all about cute separates and simple dresses. We love the art inspired pieces from this season.

Clare Waight Keller has created a collection of stylish separates that are essential buys and this abstract print skirt works well with the art school look this season. Pringle 1815, Abstract print mini skirt, $325, NET-A-PORTER.COM
Pringle's interpretation of spring's art school trend is simple yet graphic and is the perfect dress for when you don't know what the day will bring as the trapeze shape is a relaxed silhouette.
Pringle 1815, Painted print trapeze dress, $1,295, NET-A-PORTER.COM
Pringle 1815 produces key essentials for urbanites. For summers in the city this elongated cardigan will act as stylish cover-up and for colder months a great top layer over layered knits. Pringle 1815, Collarless elongated cardigan, $605, NET-A-PORTER.COM

The Warehouse Sale - 80% Off Designer Denim on April 18, 19th In Chicago

Who: The Warehouse Sale (

What: Premium Denim Sample Sale- Designer Denim at 80% Off

Friday, April 18, 2008 2 PM – 8 PM and Saturday, April 19, 2008 10 AM – 4 PM (FREE with RSVP, or $5 @ door)

Where: Navy Pier Chicago - 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, 2nd Floor (Rooms 201 to 2007)

Why: For two days only, The Warehouse Sale's Premium Denim Sale will be in Chicago. Don’t miss your chance to buy high-end designer jeans for Men & Women at bargain basement prices – up to 80% off! Our racks are filled with 7 For All Mankind, True Religion, Rock & Republic, J & Company, Antik Denim, Evisu, Diesel and lots more. We also carry butter-soft hoodies, sweats, shirts, and tees by 2B Free, Christian Audigier, Paul Frank, BCBG, SMET, Ed Hardy, Primp, and more! You can't afford to miss this sale!

To RSVP: visit

Boutique Party

Boutique's around the city of Chicago had lots to celebrate on Thursday, April 10th. In the West Loop neighborhood Bess & Loie, Erin Gallagher (both at 1015 W. Lake St.) and Koros Art + Style (1019 W. Lake St.) were all having parties. Since each store is right next to each other it made for easy party hopping.

Bess & Loie (pictured below), the-cutest-handbag boutique stocked to the brim with chic bags was celebrating their one year anniversary with cake, wine, champagne and of course, fabulous shopping. Erin Gallagher was unveiling a new collection of beautiful jewelry, while Koros was fêting the launch of designer Agga B's new spring line, while guests could enjoy hip dj beats, as they perused the new collection.

The same night, in the Gold Coast, designer Be Inthavong of Be & D were meeting and greeting fashion fans at Jake, located at 939 N. Rush.

And, in Wicker Park, Gen Art was having a shopping party with Gamma Player (2035 W. Division St.
), who brought in a baby grand and pianist just for the occasion. Guests could check out imported European designers, as well as Chicago's Agga B., while enjoying fine wines.

We spotted lots of must-haves all over town (at every store party mind you) and as the libations were flowing, it became easier to unveil our wallets, just as the new lines were doing the same.

Friday, April 11, 2008

SHE is going green for Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, SHE boutique is launching "SHE GOES GREEN" - a program that helps the planet by cutting costs. Shoppers who spend over $200 will get this eco-friendly carryall bag and 10% off on all future purchases (with presentation of the bag). On Earth Day, shoppers can peruse "green garb" like handbags by Mat and Nat (created with rice paper and recycled cardboard), all natural Dirt candles and Isharya wood jewelry, while snacking on organic treats from Bleeding Heart Bakery. SHE has two stylish locations - 1024 W. Armitage Avenue in Chicago and 483 Central Avenue in Highland Park, IL. For more information about SHE, visit

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Runway To Retail: Luella Bartley's T-Shirts to Help Global Fund for Children

Fashion Designer Luella Bartley has created limited-edition t-shirts that help the Global Fund for Children (GFC), as she has partnered up with socially and environmentally aware company Tonic for the “Every T Counts” project. Her t-shirts are designed to help four causes including poverty, social welfare, education and the environment. "I love how the proceeds from the t-shirts go to all sorts of different causes, from helping kids in Colombia with dental care to protecting coral reef in the Pacific," Bartley said. The t-shirts retail for $45 and are available now. Click here to buy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Zac Posen is Coming to Town!

Zac Posen is coming to town! The designer will be in Chicago for a cocktail party tonight co-hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue that will benefit Steppenwolf's Auxiliary Council. Only a few get to go to the invite only soirée, which we will catch you up on soon, but in the meantime, check out our interview with Zac on his inspirations, his Chicago plans and his secret to beautiful dresses. If you do want to meet him, he will be on the floor at Saks Fifth Avenue at 700 N. Michigan Ave., on Thursday, April 10th from 1:00 pm. to 3:00 p.m.

RUNWAYTORETAIL: I know you've been creating designs for ages, even as a child, I heard that you were a cheeky lad, stealing yarmulkes from the synagogue to create ball gowns for dolls. Where does the drive to design come from for you?
I’m influenced by the strength of the creative forces around me, the women in my life, art, my travels, horsebackriding, the women in my studio and visions that I see on the street.

RTR: Who influences your design? How do you keep the creativity flowing?
ZP: I think it’s important to make sure your life is filled with exploration, art, books, friends, family and good food.

RTR: I know that you're a friend of the Schnabel family. Have you seen Julian Schnabel's outlandishly stunning film The Diving Bell and Butterfly? What did you think? Does it inspire you in any way?
ZP: The film was fantastic. Any story that encourages dreams, fantasy, consideration of family, devotion, struggle and determination is important. It’s the essence of creativity.

RTR: Let's talk about fit. Your dresses are renowned for their ability to shape and flatter female bodies and still retain a cutting edge accessibility. How do you do it?
I prefer to drape on a form, which allows me to really use the body and shape to create my designs.

RTR: For the fall collection, what was the inspiration and the mood that you're after?

ZP: For fall I wanted to experiment with textures, primaries, organza and alternative perspectives for feminine suiting.

RTR: Any big plans while you're here in Chicago?
ZP: I am not in Chicago for long, my big plan is the show!
-Kari Skaflen

Bebe Store Opening

If you thought Bebe’s legacy would end with Ally McBeal, take a look at the bold logo above Chicago’s newest and largest retail space yet.

A chic crowd of fashionistas celebrated Bebe’s marquee flagship opening on Oak Street last Thursday. Co-sponsored by Vogue, the event supported SAIC’s recently unveiled Sage Studios, a 25,000 square-foot addition to one of the oldest Fashion Design departments in the nation.

Earlier that evening at SAIC’s “Behind the Seams” event (very Project Runway), Bebe CEO Gregory Scott gave three $1,500 awards to showcased seniors well on their way to join ranks with the likes of alum Halston and Cynthia Rowley.Bebe has always recognized bold and innovative style, and we are proud to help foster the next generation of design talent here in Chicago,” said Scott. “With our new retail space on Oak Street, we are excited to expand our presence in such a fashion-driven city.”

Live models on platforms scattered throughout the three-story boutique welcomed attendees of the party. The creamy marble floors were packed with an eclectic mix of designers, Factio readers and industry insiders who helped themselves to “Bebelinis,” white wine, and delicate sashimi hors d'oeuvres while lining up to try the main attraction – the clothes, which was more fun to peruse while listening to the pulsating sounds courtesy of Fig Media's DJ Megan Taylor.
The store’s exclusive Mykonos-themed selection is an unexpected whirlwind of color, and unlike any other Bebe collection to date. The first floor is a shrine to glossy accessories and gloriously high gladiator heels. Wind up the staircase for feminine trenches, blouses, and high-waisted pencil skirts. And no Bebe store is complete without its classic logo apparel, for which the entire third floor is dedicated.

Particularly eye-catching is the emphasis on delicate, flowy silhouettes, as exemplified by the store assistants wrapped in floor-length silk maxis of every vivid print imaginable.

The evening’s festivities continued at the post-party, held at premier nightspot Underground, where guests enjoyed VIP access and complimentary martinis.

As the largest and most extravagant boutique in Manny Mashouf’s $500-million empire, the “stylish but sensual” Bebe opens its doors and makes her glamorous presence known to North Michigan Avenue’s exclusive fête of Chicago’s fabulously fashion-forward.

Bebe is located at 109 E. Oak St. On the web, visit

*Photos by Bob Carl.
1. A model wearing a look designed by an SAIC student designer.
2. Host Katrina Markoff (owner/chocolatier of Vosges Haut Chocolat), Bebe CEO Greg Scott and Host Zoraida Sambolin (NBC on-air personality).
3. Models wearing Bebe spring looks at the opening party.

-Grace Bahk

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mango Opens 3rd Chicago Area Store

MNG by Mango is continuing its global expansion by adding another store to the Chicago area. A new store recently opened in Oakbrook Center, with the other two locations in Watertower Place and Northbrook Court shopping center.

We love this luxe boho dress from Mango for spring/summer '08 for only $99. Shop MNG by Mango online at

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dismero Opening Party

On March 27th, over 200 fashionistas attended the premiere of Dismero at the Esquire Theater, just steps from the actual store at 50 E. Oak St. The blank canvas and white walls of the theater was the perfect set up for oversized images of screen icons like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly set ablaze with Dismero's own beaming logo. For the occasion, owner and designer Andy D' Auria flew in from his Verona-base to celebrate the Chicago launch, the first and only U.S. location. D' Auria chose Chicago because of its, "beautiful architecture and close proximity to the lake."

Guests enjoyed Dismero's spring/summer collection that was showcased on 12 models as they descended Esquire's staircase and moved into the crowd. Known for their luxury sportswear, Factio definitely spotted some casual chic choices that we would love to sport, like the crisp white jackets and the crinkled metallic hoodie (that makes for easy, yet chic traveling).

The rain that evening was actually an asset, as four handsome men with umbrellas whisked guests to and from the store in style. The boutique's interior boasts beautiful, clean décor with whitewashed wood floors and white furnishings, a perfect offset for the contemporary clothing line.

Back at the theater, party goers enjoyed white wine and champagne and feasted on delectables from J & L Catering, such as duck confit with herb aioli and apricot chutney on a savory biscotti, smoked salmon over warm parmesan-leek gratin on a brioche round with onion relish, and fig, mascarpone and prosciutto bruschetta.

Guests left with gift bags including their very own Dismero tee-shirt and a Y-ME National Breast Cancer ribbon to remind them that 10% of the proceeds from Dismero from the week after the event will be donated to Y-ME's Illinois chapter.

Other Dismero store locations are in Verona, Italy and Munich, Germany, with a wholesale showroom in NYC. For more information about Dismero, please visit
*photo credits from the top: Andy D' Auria speaking, Theater Marquee, and Margo and Nick TenEyck. Video by Ben Mahoney for Factio Magazine.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Runway To Retail: Kate Bosworth Rocks Lauren Moffatt

It's nice to see actress Kate Bosworth out in a nice spring dress. She's been wearing quite a bit of black lately while promoting her new movie 21, so this is a refreshing change. The striped mini dress by Lauren Moffatt has the perfect amount of piping and studded detail and retails for $322. Retail it, click here.

Dr. Rey from Dr. 90210 on E! Promoting His Shapewear in Chicago

Dr. Rey, our favorite plastic surgeon from the hit show Dr. 90210 on E! is coming to the Chicago area to promote his new shapewear line that is available at Sears stores nationwide. We caught up with him to discuss the new innerwear collection, balancing work and family life and of course, what he will do while in town!

Tell us about your new shapewear collection and the collaboration between you and Bruno Schiavi.

My new shapewear collection, Dr. Rey’s Shapewear, is a beautiful and functional shapewear line that I designed with famed Australian lingerie designer, Bruno Schiavi. I use my surgical skills to determine the stitching of the garments in conjunction with Bruno’s design expertise to create beautiful, sexy shapewear that allows women to lose inches instantly without more invasive routes such as plastic surgery.
What are the unique aspects about your line? Any tips on getting the best results from the collection?

Some of the unique aspects of Dr. Rey’s Shapewear are that the garments contain aloe vera which moistures the skin, each piece is very sexy unlike the old fashioned girdles, yet is very firm control shapewear, and many of the pieces have silicone gripping which prevent them from rolling up or down. Another unique aspect is that it’s comfortable even though it is a very firm control. Tips I have for women to achieve the best result is to purchase true to size and when putting them on, to roll up the silicone gripping (much like pantyhose) and once on, roll back so it’s not sticking to skin as it’s rolling up.

Which piece does every woman need to own and why?

The piece every woman has to own is either the high waist step-in and/or the deep plunge dress or bodysuit. The high waist step in firmly controls the abdominal area, as well as hips and thighs. It also contours the buttocks beautifully which gives the appearance of a Brazilian butt-lift. I absolutely love the deep plunge bodysuit (my wife’s favorite!) and the deep plunge dress. Both allow for deep v-neck dresses and maximize cleavage as well as allowing for firm control of the abdominal area.

How do you balance your time between work, family, your hit TV show and surgery?
It is so difficult balancing my time between work, family, and my show, Dr. 90210. On that note, I’m figuring it out better than before! I now make a point to shorten my workouts to about 20 minutes every morning and 10 minutes practicing martial arts. I then drive my daughter to school and devote the whole weekend to my family. When I am working on Dr. Rey’s Shapewear with Bruno on some weekends, I usually have my wife helping us out and sometimes bring my wife and children when I go out of town for Sears in-store appearances.

What are the top beauty and styling secrets every woman should know to look their best?
Of course the top beauty and styling secret is shapewear! Dr. Rey’s Shapewear is such firm control, as well as being comfortable. It can really boost a woman’s self confidence by reducing the dress size and taking inches off the waist, enhancing the buttocks and cleavage, and allowing for better posture, and making panty lines invisible. Self confidence is the key to beauty and style, and Dr. Rey’s Shapewear really helps a woman feel more confident and sexy. Another top beauty secret is sunscreen. Women should wear sunscreen everyday from an early age to prevent aging from the effects of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Also, updated hairstyles, and really good moisturizer and cleanser are key to feeling beautiful and confident.

When in town for the Chicago area appearance do you plan on visiting downtown and what would your perfect Chicago night be?
When I’m in town for the Chicago Sears in-store appearance, I plan on going downtown and visiting the Sears Tower, going to the Chicago History Museum and shopping. My perfect Chicago night would be going to a great sushi restaurant and then the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with my wife.

Dr. Rey will be at the Chicago Ridge Sears at 444 Chicago Ridge Mall, Saturday April 5th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. To shop his shapewear line online visit,

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Flowers + Fashion = Fleurotica

Flowers and fashion collided at Fleurotica, a fabulously creative runway show hosted at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The event was part of the festivities celebrating the centennial anniversary of the city’s historical conservatory.

The smashingly successful event was anchored by a surreal fashion show, which featured a delightful array of floral based fashion. The runway show challenged the School of the Art Institute’s Millinery students and five of the city’s most sought after florists to combine forces and create wraps, parasols, hats, clothing and more composed almost entirely of fragile flora. The results were stunning.

The millinery students, who displayed their final projects, managed to merge sophistication with the delicate nature of flowers. Ranging from wide brimmed to barely there, the plant based creations were utterly original. Certain hats utilized threads of dangling moss, others capitalized on large attention grabbing flowers and still others used braided leaves to inspire and dazzle the audience. We loved the loose, daisy-strewn cap that cascaded around the chin of the model lucky enough to wear it; another favorite was the over-size sun hat whose exposed exterior was tossed in moss, while the underside burst with a thousand brightly colored rose petals.
The garments that came down the runway elicited cheers and applause from the audience en masse. Florists cum designers spent hundreds of hours composing dresses of various floral origins. Favorites included a leafy floor length dress with a waterfall of orange Birds of Paradise flowers cascading down the front, a mossy, strapless number dotted with tiny buds and, the coup de grace: a Marie Antoinette inspired tenue created by the mad-genius staff at Dilly Lilly. This gown was floor length and had a train. The royal number was strewn with literally thousands upon thousands of rose petals in all different colors and hues. The model was absolutely regal in the gown, leaving a tiny trail of rose petals in her wake as she walked.
Despite the exotic female attire that was enough to send even the toughest of critics into a tizzy, we can’t let the oh-so-hot menswear go unnoticed. Channeling Adam, apple in hand, two rather strapping lads strutted their stuff on the runway wearing little more than strategically placed leafy greens. The conservatory was definitely a steamy spot at Fleurotica.
-photos and story by Kari Skaflen