ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 5 - September

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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his own balancing act, mixing designs that achieve new heights in chic glamour with a deft handling of celebrity placements. (McCarthy aside, Atwood's designs are a popular staple on red carpets, with Emily Blunt, Rooney Mara, and Carey Mulligan among those who favor his styles.) His fall signature collection (available locally at Saks Fifth Avenue) is a terrific example of how Atwood continues to push himself as a designer, combining color, texture, and line into artful mixes such as curvilinear sandals in multicolored snakeskin, edged with gold metallic, or the collection's true showstopper: an over-the-knee boot in a fuchsia and purple psychedelic, laser-cut suede print. "I wanted to play with textures and the mix of wonderful materials that normally you might not find mixed together," Atwood says. "It's all about stimulating the senses and also creating a sort of organic movement along the surface of the shoe—an effect of waves that added a really feminine quality to the designs." As the latest element in his contemporary B Brian Atwood —BRIAN ATWOOD collection launched in 2011—"I don't think of it as a designer line's cheaper counterpart; it's more like an ally, like Miu Miu is to Prada," he notes—Atwood is adding handbags to the mix for fall. "There are only 10 styles because we just wanted to focus on cool, classic pieces that conveyed the spirit of the shoes," he explains. "I thought a lot about who this B girl was, what her handbag would look like, what she might wear it with, and out of that we designed these basics she has to have in her wardrobe, such as a cool, classic tote or a great fold-over clutch." Meanwhile, Atwood's sister, Jordan Stemer, inspired the launch of his decidedly romantic bridal collection. For her April wedding at Dune Acres, he customdesigned her nuptial footwear: a pair of satin ankle-strap peep-toe pumps, the satin matching her gown, the heels encrusted with clear Swarovski crystals, and an idea was born. "I saw how excited my sister was to be planning her wedding, and it was such a beautiful day, and I thought, How can we do something special like this for fans of our brand?" The result: a bespoke bridal collection that debuted in August, comprising just 13 styles (including the design Atwood crafted for his sister), each made to order, with prices ranging from $1,225 to $5,995. From customization for each bride to couture-driven details such as the silk hydrangea appliqués that adorn one satin style (handcrafted at Lemarié, the Paris flower and feather atelier The Freestyle over-the-knee where Chanel's camellias are boot is Atwood's made), Atwood says he loves the boldest statement for fall. joyful details imbued in the collection. "Another shoe is covered in these leather daisy petals, because I PHOTOGRAPHY BY GETTY (MCCARTHY) "I wanted to play with textures and the mix of materials." ABOVE: A sketch from Atwood's bespoke bridal collection. LEFT: The Cleofe high-heel sandal. really loved the idea that the bride might walk through this bucket of petals, and they all stuck to her feet," he says. Atwood has long noted that it's the women in his life who continue to inspire him, from his mother and three sisters to McCarthy and the other celebs who flock to his designs. "I feel really blessed to have these connections and these friends; they're all relationships I consider very personal," he says. And as he looks to the future, Atwood knows another project must rank high in his mind. "A Chicago boutique definitely is on our top-five list," he says with a laugh. "I have a great sense of pride about the city, and I love coming home. And when I see women on the streets of Chicago wearing my shoes, knowing they bought them, made that choice, and spent their own money on them, well, no experience is better than that." Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-799-5211; MA Actress Melissa McCarthy, longtime friend of the designer, wore his Alesha pumps as part of a gag for her Saturday Night Live monologue. BELOW: The Rocyce platform shoe. MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 100-101_MA_SS_StyleSetter_Sept_13.indd 101 101 8/7/13 1:12 PM

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