Following the spirit of fashion week in Chicago, designers Horacio Nieto and Elda De La Rosa presented their men and women’s ready-to-wear (RTW) collections in the Fashion Feast fashion show last Sunday afternoon at the Bridgeport Arts Center Skyline Loft. Nieto selected the space. “I like to use a lot of venues that are around Chicago and help get people into other neighborhoods, such as Bridgeport, Pilsen; not the stereotypical Wicker Park or Bucktown [neighborhoods],” he said.

The lovely historic venue dating from 1911 makes everyone fall in love with it immediately after stepping out of the elevator, when beautiful, natural light illuminates the room from skylights above the runway, and overlooking the downtown skyline from the fifth floor. There is an industrial vibe with timber constructions, exposed brick, air vents and steel beams, which camouflage in brown hues against the hardwood floors.

The show began right on time, which was very impressive and quite unlike the fashion industry. Hostess Susanna Negovan, who is the editor of Splash from the Chicago Sun-Times, introduced the first collection by Nieto. His Fall/Winter 2012 collection for women, called Horacio Nieto, was a mixture of minimalist knee-length dresses in grays, blacks and trendy burgundy, and elegant floor-length evening wear with V-backs and plunging necklines. The collection was inspired by Parisian chic. “I wanted something really romantic, really pretty, really lovey,” Nieto said of his collection. His inspiration for Arlo Men’s Wear comes from images of coal miners of the 1950s. Male models walked in long, structured dark-colored plaid jackets with the collars popped. Nieto’s second women’s collection was resort style for Spring/Summer 2013. Calming hues of ocean blue mixed with greens, whites, yellows and purples were splashed on knee-to-floor-length dresses, some skimming the floor with a train. Nieto is originally from South Texas and relocated to the city after high school, where he received his degree in 2004 from the International Academy of Design and Technology.

Designer De La Rosa, presented her Fall/Winter 2012 women’s bridal and evening wear. She said that she likes to present fashions for the current season. “I think that Chicago [people] still purchases to the season if we stay with the season. Fortunately we are not New York. If we were, we would be way ahead of the seasons,” she said. Her gowns and dresses were created with silk organzas and charmeuse and an office-ready pantsuit displayed wool mixed with silk. “I work 85 percent [of the time] with silks,” De La Rosa explained. The strapless, white bridal looks were also silk satin-faced. De La Rosa commented at the end of the show that she forgets every time how much work goes into putting a show together. The week leading up to the event, she was faced with the challenge of finding time to dedicate to the collection. “I have a producer client on a major movie, and I dressed up the producer’s wife for [premieres]. I can not talk about the movie, but it is going to get an Oscar.” De La Rosa is originally from Rockford, IL, and studied fashion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and The Illinois Institute for Art.

This was the first time both designers worked in a show without a third or fourth designer in the line up. The two work in perfect harmony and actually refer to each other as brother and sister. “It is always great to work with someone you admire, who is your role model in this industry, which she is. She is like my big sister…we just have this connection from the very first day we met,” Nieto said. De La Rosa said they met six years ago at Latino Fashion Week. How ‘bout that. “We just have a relationship that is unbreakable,” she added.

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