When I started writing this column almost two years ago, little did I know that I would learn so much about the people of Milwaukee and our love affair with fashion. Like most large metropolitan areas, we have a diverse culture that is reflected in what we wear, as well as how we present our ideas of what constitutes fashion. I was in attendance at three events in the past week, each one of them a unique ingredient of our city’s fashion recipe.
While I have never claimed that I can attend every single fashion event that I’m invited to, I do try to support all types of creative style endeavors as much as I can. This week, I’ll let my photos do the talking for the most part. I will give you a rundown of each event, and persuade you to check out the photo albums in order to really feel like you were there too (and perhaps you should be). Supporting local retailers and designers is an important part of bringing some life back to our economy here, and encourages them to keep up the hard work behind all the surface glamour that they allow us to enjoy.
Tuesday, October 11th, Boston Store, Bayshore Mall (Click for Gallery)
Bon Ton Stores partnered with lifestyle magazine M to present designer John Bartlett in a personal appearance in support of his new menswear line carried by the national retailer. Live models sported his take on casual men’s style, while cocktails, canapés and conversation flowed from all in attendance. Mr. Bartlett, an avowed dog lover, also helped shed light on the plight of animals in need of homes by donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of his “Consensus” line to local animal welfare charities. I ended up purchasing a couple of fine gauge knit sweaters from his collection, and went back a few days later and scooped up some Donald J. Pliner shoes from Boston Store’s incredible men’s footwear department. Sale prices + Pliner = shoe nirvana!
Thursday, October 13th, Project M, East Side (Click for Gallery)
Bree Rose, owner of indie fashion house and boutique Project M, brought focus to what lies beneath, as in lingerie, at the “Le Seduccion” fashion performance held at Milwaukee’s newest Eastside nightspot, Hotel Foster. The club is located just a few blocks from the shop she shares with the Wiskullsin clothing brand. I stopped by pre show to check out Bree’s work and to see the stylists from Beauty who did hair and makeup on the models for the undie indie show. Known for her innovation, reclamation and perseverance when it comes to design and fashion, Ms. Rose pulled it all together for this tastefully fleshy fashion party. A fashion maverick if there ever was one, I admire her entrepreneurial spirit.
Friday, October 14th, Lela Boutique, Third Ward (Click for Gallery)
Carrie Barnes Arrouet and Stephanie Sherman, owners of the iconic Broadway fashion emporium, held a special evening of cocktails, fashion and fun to celebrate their eighth year of plying their style ideas on a grateful Miltown. Highlights of the event included fabulous newly imagined pieces from jewelry designer Lulu’s Petals and custom fittings with premier Milwaukee designer Shanel Regier, who retails her custom couture exclusively out of Lela Boutique. Elyse Cizek from Neroli Spa did makeup in store on the models and Laura Filip did hair on behalf of the Ariel Hair Studio. This event was so much fun that it felt like a family reunion of sorts. That is exactly what Lela Boutique wants you to experience each time you enter their establishment. Welcoming all comers into their world of fashion and style is what they’ve always been about.
Needless to say it was an exhilarating and exhausting week here in Wisconsin’s fashion capital! As Coco Chanel said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, and what is happening.” Please support the local imaginative arts in every way that you can, and you can help keep our city “happening” and on the verge of stylistic splendor!