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Spotlight on Chicago's hottest fashion designers

06/21/2011

Look out Paris, New York City and Milan! Chicago is brimming with talented up-and-coming fashion designers that are making a big mark on the fashion world. Style expert and founder of the "Idols and Egos" blog, Kelly Ryan O'Brien, stops by Windy City LIVE to highlight a few of the latest looks from Chicago's hottest designers. Read on for details about all the clothing and jewelry you saw on the show.

LARA MILLER

Born and raised in Chicago, Lara Miller's work is strongly influenced by the city's architectural and cultural landscape. Both joyous and sophisticated, Miller's work has attracted international acclaim. Miller was named as one of the "Top 40 Under 40" by Crain's Chicago Business as well as "Indie Designer of the Year" by Chicago Magazine. Her clothing has been featured on Elle.com, The Today Show, Lucky Magazine, Vanity Fair, W and The New York Times among others. Celebrities including Emily Deschanel and Sarah Jessica Parker are all fans of Miller's line.

Where to Buy in Chicago: p45 boutique and Macy's on State Street.

For more information about Lara Miller, visit www.laramiller.net.

Clothing seen on the show:

  • Sleeveless Eva Flip Dress, $285
  • Lorna Slip, $210

Jewelry by Jules:

  • Spinal Fusion Earrings, $80
  • The Woobie Ring, $160

ELISE BERGMAN

Chicago native Elise Bergman launched her label in 2006 with a rack full of handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces. The first batch of pieces sold out almost immediately after she opened the doors to her small, seasonal boutique in Lakeside, Michigan. Bergman returned to Chicago that year to pursue her business full time and has found continued success with her growing brand. Bergman is committed to using local production and skilled craftsmanship, paying fair wages and staying involved in every single step of her business. Each item in the collection is a limited edition piece, handmade with the highest quality construction and materials. Whether she cuts and dyes the fabrics or sews an entire piece, Bergman still has a hand in every item sold. In addition to local boutiques, her accessories can be found at Anthropologie.

Where to Buy in Chicago: Cerato Boutique and Roslyn Boutique

For more information about Elise Bergman, visit www.elisebergman.com.

Clothing seen on the show:

  • Vintage Cotton Stripe Racer Back Tank, $95
  • Hemp Silk Maxi Skirt, $365
  • Brass and Silk Belt, $78

Jewelry by Jules:

  • Pyrite Earrings, $70
  • Lumbar Spinal Fusion Necklace, $245
  • Gold Wrist Ring, $130

C/FAN DESIGNS

Designer Christina Fan launched her line, C/FAN in the Fall of 2008 and hasn't looked back. The line began as a collection of winter coats and basic t-shirts and has since evolved to include Saville Row inspired suiting, dresses and separates. Each C/Fan Designs collection has a narrative character or central theme inspired from the worlds of art, music, film or pop culture. Fan's clothing line has been featured on E! News, Refinery29, PopSugar.com, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Chicago Magazine and Elle.com. The Miriam Cecilia line ranges from ready-to-wear cocktail dresses and separates that can take the customer through the day to couture hand sewn gowns.

Where to Buy in Chicago: Cerato Boutique

For more information about C/FAN Designs, visit www.cfan-designs.com.

Clothing seen on the show:

  • Marilyn Dress, $368

Jewelry by Jules

  • Bijoux Ox Pegasus Ear, $100
  • The Wrist Ring, $140

ESKELL

Designers Kelly Whitesell and Elizabeth Del Castillo met at the ripe age of 14. In high school, the two friends realized their shared interest in digging through thrift and antique stores, secretly competing in the quest for the best finds, leading to an admiration and respect for each other's closets and personal style. The twosome put their heads and skills together to create the Eskell line. In 2005, the first Eskell store was opened in Chicago. The line is about clothing that is feminine and classy yet always modern and sexy. Eskell has been showcased in In Style, Lucky and Jettison Magazine.

Where to buy in Chicago: Eskell store

For more information about Eskell, visit www.eskell.com

Clothing seen on the show:

  • Talullah Dress, $160

Jewelry by Jules:

  • Back in Black Long Necklace, $380 (styled as a bracelet)
  • Gold Paddle Earrings, $77

MIRIAM CECILIA

Designer Miriam Cecilia Carlson, the visionary behind Miriam Cecilia, has been called "The Next Big Thing" and "Most Likely to Rule the Runway" by Michigan Avenue Magazine. She recently was selected as one of nine designers across the country to compete in the Oscar Design Challenge hosted by the Academy Awards. The combination of contemporary elements and the contemplative essence of nature brings an elegance to any woman who wears Miriam Cecilia.

Where to buy in Chicago: Cerato Boutique

For more information about Miriam Cecilia, visit www.miriamceciliacarlson.com

Clothing seen on the show:

  • Compile Dress, $285

Jewelry by Jules:

  • Bijoux Necklace, $350
  • Bijoux Square Bangle, $185

JULES

Jules is a luxury fashion jewelry line by Chicago native Julie Schwanbeck. The aesthetic is rough and tumble with a little honey; heavy oxidized and edgy mixed metals layered with glimmering crystals and unique cut gemstones. The jewelry has been seen on celebrities including Maria Menounos, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Beals, Sherri Shepherd and Rachel Ray. All jewelry featured in the Windy City LIVE fashion show is by Jules.

Where to buy in Chicago: Sarca , CityBlue , Cerato Boutique, Mulberry & Me, Art Effect and Macy's on State Street

For more information about Shop Jules, visit www.shopjules.com

About Kelly Ryan O'Brien

Kelly Ryan O'Brien is one of Chicago's most respected style experts, with a broad portfolio of experience in pop culture, fashion, styling and runway events over the past ten years.

In her previous role as Marketing Director for Billion Dollar Babes, she helped seamlessly transition the brand from exclusive sample sale fashion events to a mega online designer sales resource. Prior to Billion Dollar Babes, Kelly served as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Michigan Avenue Magazine.

In 2002, Kelly joined Gen Art and successfully introduced a greater awareness and presence of high fashion to the Chicago area as the company's National Marketing Director. Kelly spent five years working for the premiere non-profit for emerging artists, and was responsible for implementing the city's leading arts and entertainment events such as Fresh Faces in Fashion and Styles and Ignite. Through her work with Gen Art, Kelly quickly grew to become one of Chicago's style mavens, having been called one of the city's most influential "it" girls by the Chicago Sun-Times in March of 2008, and one of the 40 most influential Chicagoans in 2006. Additionally Kelly has been featured in national magazines such as Lucky Magazine, served as a judge on three seasons of Bravo's Emmy nominated hit show, Project Runway, and a casting judge for numerous other fashion projects.

In January 2011 Kelly decided to go it alone with the launch of her blog entitled "Idols and Egos", A Fashion and Pop Culture interrogation to much fanfare. Additionally, Kelly continues to work with brands to seamlessly integrate themselves into the lives of influencers everywhere.

More from Kelly Ryan O'Brien:

Blog: www.IdolsAndEgos.com
Twitter: @kellyryanobrien
Facebook: Facebook.com/idolsandegos

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