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Underground features local fashion shows during April

(Photo courtesy Jacqueline…)
April 09, 2012|By Ruthie Kott, for RedEye

On the evening of April 5, the Underground--which calls itself the "sexiest night club in Chicago"--was even sexier than usual.

Factor Models wearing bright colors and prints strutted down the runway in the opening fashion show of the celebrity hangout's second annual Style Series. The event kicked off a month-long themed fashion show series at the club, with plans for an April 19 British-inspired show (sophisticated looks mixed with "London punk") and an April 26 swimwear event, all styled by the founder of local shopping resource Garmental.com, Suzanne Kopulos.

Chicago-made fashion is Kopulos's forte--and is the theme of the April 12 fashion show, which also features "real Chicagoans" as models. Garmental, a site which allows users to review Chicago boutiques and posts trendy looks from those shops, was born out of Kopulos's love of the city's emerging brands and designers.

"Chicago fashion definitely rivals some of the most influential cities across the globe," Kopulos said. "From uber-hipster to classically chic, Chicago style is all over the board."

One of those local designers featured in the April 12 show is Lara Miller, a School of the Art Institute graduate who launched her self-named line in 2007. Miller said her spring/summer 2012 collection's inspiration came from Pae White's "Restless Rainbow" at the contemporary wing at the Art Institute.

"[There are] tons of bright colors and geometric shapes that drape fluidly on the body," Miller said.

Miller isn't the only designer embracing the bright color trend: Miriam Cecilia Carson's collection is the first where she "added punches of bold colors," specifically coral tones, Carson said. "Before I usually designed around neutrals."

But the city itself is the key inspiration for designers at the April 12 "hyperlocal" show.

"Chicago fashion is versatility," Carson said.  "[Thanks to unpredictable weather], we have learned to be adaptable, and to create outfits that can handle many different kinds of weather and situations. I design garments that can be layered and styled to personal preference, but each piece also has the strength to stand on its own."

Jonnie Rettele, owner of menswear line Nonnie, finds that, in the 11 years she's been here, Chicago fashion leans toward functionality.

"I've known the fashion here to be casual and centered around comfort and functionality," said Rettele, who plans to show Nonnie's colorful gingham shirts and straight pants. "However, the population has become more conscious of dressing well and refining their appearance."

The hyperlocal fashion show will be at 9 p.m. April 12 at the Underground, 56 West Illinois St.  Entry into any Style Series fashion show is free, but RSVP to styleseries@theundergroundchicago.com.

-Ruthie Kott is a RedEye special contributor

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