This time of year there’s a Christmas song lurking around every corner waiting to lodge itself into our mental playlist of songs to absentmindedly sing out loud. Call me a Grinch if you must, but personally I find the idea of decking my closet much more appealing than decking the halls. It’s something to consider, but if on the 2nd day of Christmas your true love gave to you, 2 CHANEL bags instead of some old turtledoves, would you really mind all that much? I didn’t think so; which is why a trunk show on a Wednesday evening, featuring the season’s most opulent and fabulous, far suppressed any urge I may have had to stay at home watching Christmas specials on TV. ‘Tis the season to be shopping, and what better way to find out what you should be buying than attending a trunk show?
I had the pleasure of attending the Holiday Trunk Show hosted by Cityblue Apparel; an uber-cool shop on North Wells Street in Chicago in the Old Town community owned by Miss Mallory Ulaszek. For those who are unfamiliar with trunk shows, they’re a sort of fashion debutante; an event introducing new clothes and designers into society. For those who haven’t yet been acquainted with Cityblue, it is a very cozy, extremely stylish apparel shop. The store’s interior has the rustic soul of a chic cabin; complete with earthy tones, abundant use of wood and nature-inspired impressionist artwork decorating the walls.
Cityblue offers everything from distressed flannel shirts to intricately embellished blouses. What I like best about Cityblue is the variety of different influences that work together to create a one of a kind atmosphere. It carries a well balanced product offering of both classic and avant-garde styles that are rarely found elsewhere in the city; one reason being that the shop showcases the talents and creations of fresh, local designers. A jewelry line and a fur collection were the focal points for the evening’s festivities. The designers were gracious enough to speak to me about their work and the catalysts that served as inspiration.
Four years ago marks the genesis of the Jules jewelry line designed by the lovely Jules. She offers a variety of different styles and uses an eclectic and refreshing mix of materials to get her point across. Probably the most inspired and most dear pieces in her collection, she explained to me, were influenced by a spine infusion procedure she had a while back due to health issues. She took a year off from designing to heal, but used her experiences and her spinal x-rays as a muse for many of her pieces. Jules has built up an impressive reputation with her clientele among which are A-list celebrities like fellow designer Jessica Simpson and the ever-so-spicy Food Network star Miss Rachel Ray.
Hands down, one of the most eye-catching and covet-worthy items in the shop were the slouchy fur hats sprinkled on every sales associate’s head that evening. They were they most stylish nod to Santa’s famous cap I’d had the pleasure of laying my eyes on; and in the most supple looking fur! The young lady responsible for the hats and the entire fur collection on display refers to herself as C/Fan. C/Fan also known as Christina Fan got her start in the fall of 2009 after she graduated from Northwestern University. She was a history major and planned on attending law school afterward, but after deferring for what felt like the hundredth time, she realized her true calling was design.
C/Fan’s collections mainly consist of knit rabbit fur; grabbing the eyes with pastel, neon hues. Like me, she adores her neutrals, beiges, blacks, and grays; but felt her furs gained even more personality when in possession of a fun pop of color. C/Fan would love to eventually expand into larger retail outlets, but is experiencing quite a bit of success within smaller, more private venues. While nothing combats the freezing cold better than a warm fur in a hot shade, Christina is already looking forward to introducing her new spring collection. The collection will feature chiffon silks printed with a beautiful K’anchaypacha print which means “light” in an ancient Incan language. The print is created through the interaction of oil paints, water and light; photographed and then printed on the delicate fabric. I predict that the K’anchaypacha prints will make for a very effervescent and effortlessly cool ensemble just in time for spring.
I encourage you to keep your eyes and wallets out for Jules and C/Fan’s designs as you finish up your holiday shopping; it is a unanimous consensus that jewelry and furs make excellent holiday gifts. If you haven’t already done so, check out Cityblue in Old Town for a rare shopping experience and the opportunity to add unparalleled statement pieces to your wardrobe and into those holiday stockings.