Models face final challenge at InspireDesign fashion show

After weeks of preparation and transformation, the five finalists of Mario, Make Me A Model competition faced the ultimate runway challenge at the Fashion Focus Chicago 2011 week at the Millennium Park.

Fashion Focus Chicago is a week full of fashion events happening throughout the city with the main shows held at the Millennium Park. A huge white tent houses highly attended city supported headlining fashion shows.

InspireDesign, sponsored by vitaminwater®, is the second headlining fashion show of the week. It is also the final challenge the finalists of the Mario, Make Me A Model competition have to face.

Mario Tricoci started the Mario, Make Me a Model contest to find the undiscovered talent in Chicago. Now in its fourth year, the competition had attracted more than 500 entries at the open calls. The list was cut down to 38 semi-finalists of which only 5 made it to the finals.

Juni Park, Mercedes Johnson, Lynn Tatge, Zachary Ross, and Alexandra Cangelosi had to face 6 areas of challenge: makeover, fashion shoot, TV spot, fitness training, runway walk and public vote.

The finalist underwent a two-month training before taking on the final challenge of walking the runway with professional models at the Fashion Focus 2011 at the Millennium Park.

After the fashion show, Mario announced not one, but two winners – Juni Park and Mercedes Johnson. In a press release distributed after the event Mario explained this unprecedented decision.

“Choosing just one winner was impossible because we had such a diverse, talented group of finalists this year, I have been following their progress through their TV shoot, makeovers and the fashion shoot and realized this was going to be our toughest choice to date. The transformation in each of these individuals has been inspiring. But once the finalists walked the runway, Mercedes and Juni clinched it when combined with the great work they did in the other parts of the competition.”

— Mario Tricoci

InspireDesign fashion show featured five designers each presenting 10 designs from their Spring Summer 2012 collections.

Imaginary People founded by Tello Dunne and Olivia Shanks in 2009 aiming to make highly functional, versatile and elegant pieces. The line is build around a core collection of slinky jersey knits and comfy cotton blends that are carried out and added-to each season. At the InspireDesign fashion show Imaginary People presented their third collection Fall 2011

Michelle Tan has been making her name known since 2000, when she launched her first collection. Michelle designs can be found in her boutique as well in 60 stores across US and abroad.

Michelle’s collection presented at the InspireDesign show had that girly look with an edge. You can undeniably wear her clothes and feel like a lady while still looking like you mean business. Spring/Summer 2012 collection was inspired by speed with a punky look.

J.Cheikh founded in 2009 by husband and wife, the brand’s focus is to modernize the fundamentals of classic menswear. Cheikh Lam and Sophie Lin draw their inspiration from European silhouettes and American ease.

The collection presented during Fashion Focus of casual to business casual pants and jackets brought the words “Arabian adventure” to mind, but with a modern twist. Here is what one of the creators of the line told us about their inspiration:

“The SS12 Collection was inspired by the Dakar Rally. It celebrates the multi cultural influences of the journey and takes elements from Senegal, Morocco, Spain and France. It is the interconnection of style.”

-– Sophie Lin, Creative Director at J. Cheikh

Narcisse exploits the inner ego blurring the lines of fantasy and reality. Creating unique couture for those who want to make a matchless impression. Always pushing the envelope with avant garde fabrics and nontraditional materials. Narcisse customers are fashion forward individuals who want to create a matchless impression. Strong, sexy and confident women

“Our pieces are not products, but investments, like art. If you buy a dress from Narcisse, you can wear it for years, since each piece is custom made staying true to the “art” of couture not the trends of this year’s fashions.”

— Veronika Kotlajic, Narcisse Designs

The 2011 collection was seductive and provocative using black, green and burgundy fabrics with metallic shine and with feather accents. Few dresses made out of see-through draped fabric. The collection was accompanying by very unusual accessory pieces, the most notable would be the daggers strapped to the model’s thighs. Veronika shared with us where the inspiration came from:

“The collection was inspired by the seductive dangerous femme fatale. The femme fatale is an archetype of literature and art, which has existed in nearly all cultures through history. The inspiration for our interpretation of femme fatales through history stems from the Sirens of Greek mythology which was half woman/half birds to the 1940’s archetype of the femme fatale in film noir such as Veronica Lake, Rita Hayworth Ava Gardner to the modern day femme fatales in movies and art such as the animated secret agent Aeon Flux.”

— Veronika Kotlajic, Narcisse Designs

The last designer at the InspireDesign fashion show was Reddoll by Tatyana Merenyuk who grew up in Kiev, Ukraine loves to make flattering, playful, elegant creations that are easy to wear.

Media crew:
Reporter – Raven Mai
Event Photography – Julian Favela

Imaginary People

Michelle Tan




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