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FashioNext Features Runway Show and Reception
Finale event fuses Chicago textile and fashion design


From left: Chicago History Museum Curator Tim Long, Brentano Design Director and FashioNext judge Iris Wang, and Brentano National Sales Manager Jeff Frank pose for a photo before the event.

The FashioNext finale event on Friday, April 17, 2009 concluded what began as a companion to a Chicago-themed costume exhibition and grew into a competition fusing fashion and interior design. The event featured a runway show displaying the three finalist's entries: A dramatic, architectural gown by Jermikko Shoshanna of Jermikko, a graceful convertible dress by Melissa Serpico Kamhout of Serpico, and a unique, sculptured piece by Roger Price and William Thomas Walton of Price Walton - all brought to life from the designer's original designs with upholstery and drapery textiles from Brentano fabrics.

After the dresses were individually presented on stage by gorgeously styled models, William Thomas Walton and Roger Price were announced as the winners. Walton spoke enthusiastically for the excited duo about their participation in FashioNext. He explained that they were especially satisfied with their reinterpretation of a dress by "father of haute couture" Frederick Charles Worth, as the pair actually met years prior at a Worth exhibit.

Following the runway show and announcement of the winner was an elegant and entertaining cocktail reception in the Chicago History Museum's stunning ballroom, which featured Brentano fabrics as accent tapestries and centerpieces. The highlight for many at the reception was the ability to interact with the final pieces, as the models were present and allowing guests to see the dresses in movement. The crowd was also encouraged to examine the designs and fabric choices up close, much as the judges did when deciding the winning garment.

Tim Long, Curator at the Chicago History Museum, says that he hopes the FashioNext competition has brought attention to the amount of talented designers in Chicago. He also says that he looks forward to Brentano's FashioNext at NeoCon exhibition, saying that fashion and interiors are closely related, and that "what we wear and how we furnish our homes says a lot about who we are."

Price Walton's winning gown is now part of the Chic Chicago display at the Chicago History Museum, which runs through June 26, 2009. Following the exhibition, it will secure its place in history, becoming a permanent part of the Museum's renowned costume collection.

Designer Melissa Serpico (far right) looks on as Designers Roger Price (left) and William Thomas Walton (center) prepare their model for the FashioNext runway show.

Curator Tim Long introduces the finalists: (from left) Melissa Serpico, Jermikko Shoshanna, Roger Price, and William Thomas Walton.

The runway show paired each finalist's original sketch with their finished product made from Brentano fabrics. Pictured is the design by Serpico, which used the Brentano drapery fabric Venezia.

Guests admire Jermikko's finished garment, which was inspired by the dramatic 1954 "Butterfly" ball gown by Charles James.

The cocktail reception following the runway show allowed guests a chance to examine the finished dresses in detail, including the designer's techniques and textile selections.

All photos ©Randy Lee Belice, excluding photo of Iris Wang, Jeff Frank, and Tim Long, ©Brentano, Inc.

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