Inside Scoop on This Year’s One of a Kind Show and Sale® Chicago

One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show and Sale® Chicago starts tomorrow at 11 am and I have the inside scoop from the Vice President of Marketing, Lisa Simonian! Read my interview with her to learn tips & tricks for navigating through the show and what to do in between shopping sprees.

Throughout the course of the event, how many people do you anticipate will attend this year?

Last year there were around 55,000 people who came to the show over the four days, so we’ll have somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 people. It’s huge and it grows every year. People come back, we have our regulars and new people who discover the show. It’s very popular and very well attended.

What is the criteria for selecting vendors and how do you decide who gets to participate in the one of a kind show? Do you allow them to come back consecutive years?

We have over 600 vendors and the returning artists are invited to return the following year. New artists have to fill out an application and go through a jury process where their work is reviewed for uniqueness, quality and we always try to balance the categories as well because we don’t want to have too much of any one category. However, we do have a lot of fashion oriented artists and a lot of jewelry artists because that’s something that our audience loves and is looking for.

What are you doing differently this year that you haven’t done in the past?

There are always new artists and new work coming into the show that makes it interesting. We also have a new partner, Goose Island, and their company is going to be setting up a beer garden on the show floor. It will be a really great place for those who want to take a break from shopping or significant others who want to enjoy a beer and watch the football game. We’re always trying to make the show as comfortable as possible for people who come and spend the whole day, or even the whole weekend, at the show. In addition to great shopping, they can eat at our gourmet cafes, they can listen to live music, go to artist demonstrations. They can definitely get a full and fun experience.

I’m really looking forward to visiting the Fashion District. How many artists will be featured in there this year?

There are about 80 artists that are in the fashion district and they have everything from apparel to accessories and jewelry. There are also fashion-oriented artists that are not in the Fashion District, but the Fashion District has more of a fun vibe and tends to be more contemporary artists.

How much space does the show take up?

The show takes place on the entire 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart, which is about 200,000 sq. ft.

Given that the show is so huge, what advice do you have for people so that they can make the most of their time there?

Before they get there they can go to our website and look at our artist locator and image gallery where they can look up artists by category and see images of their work. It’s always a good idea to do a little research before you get on the show floor. Once you arrive at the event, we do have directories with alphabetical listings and listings by category.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

We have daily fashion shows, which feature work from the artists and they’re really fun to attend. And, the great thing about the show is that you’re buying handcrafted work directly from the person who crafted it. It’s a good opportunity to talk to the artists and find out about the technique behind their work or what inspired them. That’s what makes the show really special – you’re buying work directly from the person who designed it and made it with their hands.

One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago

The One of a Kind Show and Sale® Chicago starts tomorrow at The Merchandise Mart and goes through the weekend:

Thursday, December 4     11am-8pm
Friday, December 5         11am-8pm
Saturday, December 6     10am-7pm
Sunday, December 7       10am-5pm

And be sure to check out some of the fashion shows while you’re there too:

Friday, 1pm and 6pm
Saturday, 1pm
Sunday, 1pm

One-of-a-Kind Perspective from Meg Musick-Makely

image002Meg Musick-Makely is a returning artist at this year’s One of a Kind Show and Sale® Chicago who creates custom handmade accessories using only unique and exotic leathers from around the world. The real centerpieces of Musick’s line are the custom leatherwork pieces that utilize luxurious leather and exotic skins to create one-of-a-kind shoes, handbags, belts and accessories. With her showroom based in Highland Park on Chicago’s North Shore, Makely has been designing accessories for 15 years.

I had the opportunity to speak with Meg earlier this week about the creative process behind her designs and what makes the One of a Kind Show so special.

Is this your first time at the One of a Kind Show?

Last year I was in the Etsy pavilion because I was an emerging artist. I was in one of their smaller spaces and had some pieces in the fashion show. I did really well and so this year I decided to bite the bullet and go for a bigger space. I’m really hoping it’s going to be a good show because it was a wonderful show for me last year.

As a designer, what would you say makes the One of a Kind Chicago Show different from other shows out there?

For me it’s an exciting show because it’s a show that focuses on hand made artisan pieces. And they’re saying that there are over 600 artists exhibiting there, so there’s a large crowd and it’s a really fun holiday show. I definitely start working in the summer for this show.

I love all your work, but the silver python chain strap bag is my favorite. How long does it take you to make something like this? Can you tell us about the process?

Thank you! That chain is really great because it’s lightweight and lays really flat. Making the bags is a three-part process. There’s the body of the bag, the strapping, and then how it connects to the bag. So it can take me anywhere from 3 – 8 hours to make a bag. Rather than sketching what I’m envisioning before I start making something, I like to just figure it out along the way. I’m very inspired by materials, so I lay out all the different things that I like to work with and have a general size and shape that I like to create and I just kind of work from there. I might start out with something in my head but it usually ends up completely different than what I’m thinking.

What are you planning on bringing with you to showcase this year?

I’m bringing my current collection and teasers for my spring collection.

Can you share a little bit about what your spring collection is going to entail?

I do a lot of exotics like crocodiles, alligator, stingrays and python. So with this spring collection, I’m introducing some Amazonian fish skins. They’re calling it aquatic leather. So I’ll be working on some stuff with that. And then there are also some new treatments I’m doing with the skin, so some will be hand painted, or two-toned or distressed.

Where can we find you at the show?

I’ll be at booth 7-9095 in the Fashion District near the Gourmet Gallery!

If you don’t have a chance to visit Meg at the show this weekend, you can always stop by Fortunate Discoveries, a multi-artist/designer retail store located at 1022 w. Armitage in Lincoln Park to see her designs in person.

One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago

The One of a Kind Show and Sale® Chicago starts tomorrow at The Merchandise Mart and goes through the weekend:

Thursday, December 4     11am-8pm
Friday, December 5         11am-8pm
Saturday, December 6     10am-7pm
Sunday, December 7       10am-5pm

And be sure to check out some of the fashion shows while you’re there too:

Friday, 1pm and 6pm
Saturday, 1pm
Sunday, 1pm

 

{Must Read} Chic-tionary: The Little Book Of Fashion Faux-cabulary

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There’s a new (and very stylish) dictionary that just hit shelves yesterday. Chic-tionary: The Little Book Of Fashion Faux-cabulary is a hilarious dictionary of style and beauty terms you never knew existed. It takes its inspiration from the peculiar and amusing language of fashion people like Tyra Banks (smize), Man Repeller (arm party), and André Leon Tally (dreckitude), and contains more than two hundred made-up acronyms, abbreviations, and afflictions that are certain to leave an indelible glitter stain on the English language.

I received a copy of Chic-tionary just in time for my trip to Palm Beach this past weekend and could not put it down or stop laughing the whole time. Here is a shortlist of some of my favorite faux-cabulary words from Chic-tionary:

 

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I also had the pleasure of chatting with Stephanie Simons yesterday and she could not be more delightful and entertaining!

What inspired you to write Chic-tionary?
Ever since I was a little girl, my parents used to make up unusual words to describe things, or come up with silly little nicknames for me, so I blame them for my wildly creative brain, which probably belongs somewhere in a fashion asylum. I was halfway through the manuscript for my first book All’s Fair In Love And Wardrobe, which features faux-cabulary like “glamnesia” (noun: when you glamorize the memory of your ex and conveniently forget all the reasons you broke up with him in the first place) when I thought ‘I should just go for it and make up an entire language for people who speak chic.’

 
This is a very thorough collection of fashion faux-cabulary. How long did it take you to write this book? Can you tell us about the process you went through to put it together?
It took less than a year, which is pretty fast, and during that time my brain never shut off. I had to keep a notepad by the bed so I could write down any ideas that came to me in my sleep. It could have been a never-ending process. I might still be thinking up words if my editor hadn’t set deadlines and kept me under control.
 
I swear there was at least one word on almost every page where I said, “that’s totally me!” or “I do that all the time!” What one word in Chic-tionary would you say best describes you?
All of the “blond” entries are based on my harrowing experience being a blond last year. I’m a natural brunette with a lot of red undertones in my hair and when I decided to go light, I could never get it the California-cool shade I wanted (I wanted it like yours, Catherine!). Instead,  it was stuck somewhere between orange and blond, or only halfway there and nobody warned me about the consequences, namely that I would spend my rent on root upkeep and have to deep condition it every day if I didn’t want it to all fall out, haha. Hence the words “blondstipation” and “blondsequences” were born.

Can you tell us about a time when you used “bitch face” to avoid a situation?
Haha! Chronic Resting Bitch Face is a syndrome that’s common among most fashion editors and models. And lucky me, I was born with it, where my lips turn down at the corners ála Alicia Silverstone. I constantly have to reassure people I’m not mad at them even though I’m happy as a clam and beaming like a little ray of sunshine on the inside. Although it’s kind of a curse, it does help me keep the wrong kinds of men away on the subway.

Complete this sentence: The Alexander Wang x H&M partnership is trés, trés dope.
Did you see the models’ hats that just say WANG on them? I need one of those for frolicking around town. What I really, really need, though, is a Jennifer Lawrence for H&M collection with clothes bearing graphic reminders not to trip and fall on my ass.
 
You’ve had an exciting year with the release of two books in less than six months! What can we expect to see from you next?
A third book will happen, and I dream of a screenplay, but I’m pretty sure I need a 6-month-long nap first. My brain hasn’t been this fried since I dabbled in the peroxide.

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I highly recommend you swing by Barnes & Noble or visit Amazon.com to get your copy of Chic-tionary today. It also makes for a great prezzie for your “curlfriends” (and even your “gay husband”) this holiday season!

Do you speak chic? Tell us which faux-cabulary word best describes you in the comments.

 

Peach Carr on Her Latest Collection and What Inspires Her Designs

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Followers of the fashion scene were first introduced to Peach Carr on Season 8, and then Season 2 All Stars, of Project Runway. The cheeky, self-taught designer has since shown her collections all over the country and dressed some of our favorite Real Housewives and well-known Chicago celebrities.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Peach over the past couple months as she’s designing custom bridesmaid gowns for my sister-in-law’s wedding. For those of you who have read over and over about how “delightful” and “welcoming” Peach is, I am here to attest that it could not be truer. From the moment we all arrived at her house to discuss the design for the bridesmaid dress, she has been nothing but pure pleasure…and entertainment. Not only is she hilariously funny, but she has the most exciting experiences and the best storytelling abilities to make you feel like you’ve lived through them with her.

I could not be more honored and excited to have Peach Carr as my very first interview for Chicago CatWalk!

PeachCarr_Logo_Black tiff[1] I saw your Fall 2014 collection on StyleChicago.com’s The Art of Fashion runway earlier this year and loved it all, especially the gowns! How would you describe the collection and what inspired you to create it?

My finale gown, which is a result of 80 hours of hand sewing (the tulle was all ruffled and stitched by hand) was inspired by watching a chick hatch out of its shell at the Museum of Science and industry. Actually, the chick inspired the entire line. It may be a long time before I can eat chicken again.

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What famous designers have you been inspired by and what was it about them that inspired you?

I am a huge Chanel (aren’t we all?) fan, as well as Balenciaga and McQueen. All of these designers have their own distinct style and construction techniques which exemplify precision and elegance; something to which I aspire in my own work. I also had the honor of going to Paris with the final four Allstars in Season 2…we went to the Valentino Atelier and met Lead Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. We had a hands-on look at the Couture Collection for Spring ’13 and attended the fashion show, which was an opportunity of a lifetime. This was the greatest inspiration a designer could ever have. I am still reeling.

You were such a fan favorite on Project Runway. What was your favorite piece you designed for the show?

Thank you…..My favorite piece would have to be the team challenge Military/Lace dress. I loved it, and almost got the win. Nina Garcia, who is rarely pleased, praised it!

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You made a lot of great friends on Project Runway. What do you do to keep in touch with them? Do you guys do fashion shows together? Travel?

I remain best friends with April Johnston and Mondo. In fact, there are only 3 designers from my season I have no relationship with; and that’s just fine with me. The rest of us respect and care for each other. It was a good group. I attended April’s wedding, and speak to her regularly. My best friends from AllStars are Kayne and Joshua McKinley…I see and text with them frequently. I am just back from Tucson Fashion Week, where I shared the runway with Korto, Daniel Esquivel, Bert and Mila. We are all friends. I have collected so many friends (too many to name) through my experiences on Project Runway, and I consider them all blessings.

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What celebrity were you most excited to see wearing your designs? How did you feel when you first saw them in it?

Linda Yu, RHNY Alex McCord, RHNJ Dina Manzo and SNL’s Nora Dunn are all clients. Nora wore a custom Peach Carr for her one-woman- show in Chicago which was a GIANT thrill, but when Dina Manzo wore my one-arm dress in blue to a charity benefit and tweeted a pic, I sold a pile of them. Then the dress was shown on Oprah’s “Where Are They Now?” show, my website lit up. When I saw my dress on Dina I got a little teary…same thing with Nora. I cannot believe that all of this came to me from Project Runway.

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You just designed a collection for the St. Jude Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show in Chicago earlier this month. Can you describe your designs and what your inspiration was for them?

Daniel Esquivel is an AMAZING designer and technician and he has inspired me to make more detailed pieces. We had a discussion in Tucson about what was missing from my collection, and I added the most amazing black and white jacket, inspired by Daniel. I could not leave out my “Hatched” finale gown from Chicago, so I ended with it. Swarovski also commissioned me to create a gown using 60 gross black rhinestones for a special finale. It was beautiful. I am hoping my eyesight returns soon.

Winters are brutal here in Chicago. What tips do you have for staying warm and comfortable while still being stylish?

OOOOHHHHH layering, scarves and fabulous boots! A leather or suede jacket is a must, and a scarf can take an ensemble from “yawn” to chic in seconds. Boots also elevate an outfit immediately. I am obsessed with boots; in fact I wear them 12 months a year. I have a pair of Gucci Horsebit boots that I wear as often as my cowboy boots with a hole in the toe.

What inspires your personal style? How is it different from, or similar to, what inspires your designs?

My personal style? I have never let trends dictate how I dress. I pay attention and will draw from trends mind you, but I will always be myself and wear my combat boots and skirts. I wear my own designs (Joanna Coles gave me that order) so I do design pieces that are chic and versatile. I am always on the run…kind of a bumble bee on Red Bull…so my look has to stay sharp yet polished. All of my designs (even the gowns) go in the wash and are wrinkle resistant, so I can travel without worry. Which I do quite a bit.

What is the one thing in your handbag you can’t live without?

Bert’s Bees lip balm. Especially in the winter.

It’s so great that you have manufactured all your designs right here in Chicago. Is this something you foresee yourself being able to continue doing in the future?

I hope to never get away from my Chicago network. Not only is everything done locally, it is all done by women. From my pattern grader to my manufacturer, it is all local women supporting their families. Having been born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs, I feel a responsibility to continue this.

What can we expect to see from your designs in the near future?

My design esthetic is constantly evolving, but stays true to who I am as a designer. I have found great joy in this growing process. Peach Carr Designs will be including more detailed and tailored pieces, such as that black/white jacket, and my gowns. I will continue to create very polished yet relaxed looks for busy fashionable women. I am excited about this new direction in which I am heading. I am also featuring a line of handbags featuring The New Yorker Cartoons. I did a test run in Tucson and sold out within an hour. They went down the runway in Tucson and for St. Jude. Seriously cute. photo[1]

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about?


I truly am grateful for being chosen as a designer on Project Runway. Season 8 and Allstars Season 2. I pinch myself regularly, and thank my daughter Molly, who filled out the application. Never in a million years could I imagine that this would be my life, and that I would be given the opportunity to live out my dream. Forget all of those bumper stickers that tell you “Life Begins” at 40, or 50 or 60. Life begins when you say, “Go.”

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To shop Peach’s comfortable and polished fashion, visit her site at www.peachcarrdesigns.com.