Christina Fan of C/FAN Designs

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On Monday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chicago’s own, Christina Fan, of C/FAN designs. She truly is one of my favorite designers in Chicago and if you look at her collections, you’ll see why. She describes her aesthetic as effortless, luxurious and sexy. What more could you ask for? It’s perfection. Her designs are very wearable yet quite unique. She takes wardrobe staples and designs them her way, to create a beautiful C/FAN garment.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Christina at the Chicago Fashion Incubator Meet and Greet this past summer. She is part of this year’s CFI group along with 5 other designers. I had to ask her how her experience with the CFI has been going so far. She said it’s absolutely wonderful and it’s great to have a foundation for business (like financing, accounting, etc….all those things fashion people try to avoid). Because she was the only designer who already had her line going before she joined the CFI, she claims it has really helped her from a business standpoint.

Speaking of business, one of the most interesting things about Christina is that she has no formal training in design….she actually graduated with a degree in History from Northwestern University and had plans to go to law school. She even had a full ride to Chicago Kent. She traveled a lot and kept putting off law school, and that’s when she finally realized that she wanted to be a fashion designer.

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What’s so interesting about C/FAN is that because of Christina’s business/professional background, she wanted to design practical clothing. It’s difficult for a designer to go this route because sometimes it can be too practical where it’s boring. Christina has found that perfect balance of practicality and individuality.

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When I asked Christina, “who is the one celebrity you would love to see wear one of your designs?” she immediately responded, “Cate Blanchett.” Christina loves her style and her aesthetic and thinks Cate and C/FAN would be a great match.

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Christina has come a long way in the past few years. Starting C/FAN in 2008 with a line of outerwear sold at Akira, she is now in Sofia Vintage, Cerato, SHE Boutique and more. She is very happy where she is right now because she feels like her collection is being sold at places that fit her aesthetic.

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What’s next for C/FAN? Christina is showing her Spring 2011 collection at Chicago Fashion Focus next month. She also hopes to one day dabble in accessories, specifically handbags.

And of course the infamous ChiCityFashion question… “Why Chicago?” Christina was born and raised here so she knew it was at least a good place to start. Also, the Chicago Fashion Incubator program has provided her with a lot of support. Christina says, “If your product is good, you can be based anywhere.” So true….

For more C/FAN visit www.cfan-designs.com

My Interview with Nick Verreos

On Saturday (9/25), I attended the Macy’s Fashion Challenge, hosted by Nick Verreos from Project Runway season 2. Thanks to the lovely PR team at Macy’s, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick. He was the sweetest, most enthusiastic and genuinely happy person I’ve ever met. I did not want to leave the interview…unless it was to go have drinks with Nick…he is a doll! A surprise twist…Peach Carr from this season (8) of Project Runway showed up to say hi and support her friend, Nick. How sweet! She’s just as much of a riot! I had such a blast talking to them both and it was quite a lovely Saturday afternoon.

I had to start off the interview by asking him how he got involved with the Florence program through my alma mater, Miami University. Apparently the head of the Europe program at Miami sent an email to all the contestants from season 2 of Project Runway to see if they were to do any challenges there.  Nick was actually the only one of the contestants to respond to the email. One thing lead to another and Nick ended up doing a 2-day lecture series and tour of Florence “fashion spots” and has been doing this for the past 2 years for Miami students.

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To go along with the styling event at Macy’s that Nick was there for, I had to ask him what his favorite trends for Fall are. He responded, “Definitely metallics. Whether it’s a metallic pump or mixing metallics with jewelry. You find some great things here at Macy’s. One of my favorite designers, Rachel Roy…DIE! D-I-E. Rachel.” Yes it seriously went down this way…he loves Rachel Roy. “Rachel Roy has some fabulous necklaces. It looks like you’re wearing five necklaces, but it’s just one and it’s [all] attached. It’s just genius!” This is what Nick describes as “adding a Fall punch” to your wardrobe. Another one of Nick’s favorite Fall trends? Military of course! Not just any military…military jackets…and specifically FITTED military jackets….cargo pants oo. He states [with regards to cargo pants], “Don’t go for the typical baggy kind. Keep it skinny, and ladies…even if you’re not a size 2 you can still do skinny. I don’t want to hear it! I have seen some fabulous plus size ladies who WORK IT! It’s all about confidence…”

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Onto the next….Nick has taught at FIDM, he’s designed, styled, done TV hosting and much more…I had to ask him what is his favorite job or what his favorite part about his job is. He responded, “I know I’m lucky doing something that I love…and getting paid for it. I’m so happy for that. There are a lot of people who go through the world, go through life for years and years and years, stuck in a job that they don’t like and they just can’t wait for retirement. That’s kind of sad. For me, I just can’t wait what the next day brings to me.” I think that’s very important and I couldn’t agree more. It’s so important to do what you love because it’s better to enjoy life than to just “get by.” Nick then went on to talk about how he worked in the fashion industry for 12 years literally doing every job in the business. He always heard his “superiors” talking about how much the traveled and he was quite envious at the time. Now, he literally “lives out of a suitcase” but he loves to travel (especially when he gets an upgrade…and he thanks American Airlines for that).

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The infamous question I ask everyone, because I am ChiCityFashion of course, is “What is your favorite part about Chicago?” and “Do you have any commentary with regards to Chicago fashion?” Nick immediately responded with how much he loves Chicago (good answer!) and claims it’s one of his top 3 favorite cities in the country. Nick goes on, “It’s one of the most beautiful cities architecturally. I love the downtown area. It has some of my favorite stores and boutiques. Everyone here is so wonderful.” Although Nick raves about how much he loves Chicago, he has never been here in the winter or in the super hot and humid summer days. So he definitely considers himself quite lucky with regards to the weather here. Nick says, “In terms of fashion, I think it’s a great fashionable city. I’ve judged Project Runway casting with Tim Gunn and we saw a lot of fashion here.”

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Nick & I after the interview

Nick with the first two contestants of the Macy’s Fashion Challenge (first challenge was to style a Red Carpet look in 2 minutes!)

Red Carpet challenge winning look

What a great photo of Peach and Nick

Peach & I after the event

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Nick’s last words of the interview… “Chicago is a very chic city.” I couldn’t agree more :)

Calvin Klein Pop-Up Shop in Chicago

Pop-up shops are all the craze now in the fashion world. It is such a great way to promote a new company and/or collection, especially because the store is only around for a limited time. I am very pleased to announce that Carson Pirie Scott and Calvin Klein have partnered to open the first ever Calvin Klein pop-up shop in Chicago.

Here are the details…

  • The pop-up shop will be open to the public for 7 days only—October 1 through October 8
  • The store will include both menswear and womenswear and offer an array of items like sportswear, dresses, jeans, underwear and accessories
  • Hours: Friday, October 1 11am-8pm / Saturday, October 2 11am-5pm / Monday, October 4 through Friday, October 8 11am-6pm
  • Location: 116 W. Hubbard (Chicago)

AND a portion of the sales will be donated to the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation and support National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

So, don’t forget to mark your calendars because the Calvin Klein pop-up shop is only open for a limited time!

My New York Fashion Week Experience

I apologize for my lack of blogging lately. I was in New York for 9 days covering about 30 shows for Fashion Week and I’ve just been trying to catch up on my life in the meantime. If you haven’t yet, please check out my reviews, photos and videos at www.qlixmag.com/blog and www.youtube.com/qlixtv.

I’ll keep the writing to a minimum & you can live my NYFW experience vicariously through my favorite photos…

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center

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At the first ever Accessories Bazaar in Avery Fisher Hall…AKA the most dangerous place for me to be due to my accessories addiction.

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Getting to see one of two exclusive couture gowns from Althea Harper’s collection (pictured: Althea Harper with her muse model)

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Got to meet one of the most fashionable men in New York City…Andrew Mukamal

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At my favorite off-site presentation…Jonathan Simkhai (pictured: 2 models of the presentation)

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Kelly Cutrone spotting at the Nicholas K show

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Me & Logan Neitzel (from season 6 of Project Runway) at his presentation

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My new friend, Jon Valdez of Orange Juice & Biscuits, and I at the Althea Harper presentation

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Olivia Palermo after the Carlos Miele show

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Having Miss J be in the background of every single one of my Ports 1961 pics…

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Stalking the PR girl’s Atwoods at the Tibi show

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My favorite look from the Timo Weiland presentation at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

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I’m kind of obsessed with wiener dogs…so the fact that I saw one in a feathered dress at Fashion’s Night Out was beyond amazing.

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Obsessing over everything at the William Tempest presentation

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Getting to meet Wylie Dufresne after an amazing meal at his restaurant, wd~50

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My favorite photo I took at the Yoana Baraschi presentation

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My last night in NYC with my new friend Jon Valdez!

New York Fashion Week–S/S 2011 Shows

Greetings from the Big Apple!

I hope you’re following me on Twitter @chicityfashion for live coverage of the shows at New York Fashion Week and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I am also tweeting from @qlixmag as well. For my pictures and reviews on the shows, check out www.qlixmag.com/blog. I also brought my Flip cam with me so you can watch my video coverage at www.youtube.com/qlixtv.

Enjoy! And happy Fashion Week!