[All photos by Jacinto Ariza]

Last Friday night in the Harris Theater at Millennium Park, retail store Macy’s held its annual charity fashion show Macy’s Passport Presents Glamorama, with this year’s theme as Fashion in a New Light. According to the event’s press release, vice president of Macy’s special productions Mike Gansmoe stated that this year’s theme is based upon the changes fashion goes through from the perspectives of “history, pop music, culture, politics, science and technology.” This show “looks at fashion in a new light by way of exploring the mystery and magic of illumination incorporating sophisticated lighting and visual effects.”

The event raised about $250,000, said Lauren Rapisand, who is Macy’s media relations manager. All proceeds benefitted the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI).

Gozamos was lucky enough to score a seat to the dress rehearsal, which took place the afternoon of the event just hours before the real thing. White life-size cylinders and prisms were piled on top of each other, setting a grand background. The show began with a back-bending, muscle-flexing performance by the entertainment group Cirque du Soleil. The performers amazed the crowd with their Las Vegas number. Following their opening act was the survival story of Neilah and Jaidyn Maule, two young sisters who were involved in a car accident. RMHC-CNI helped them and their family get through the aftermath of that event.

After their story, commenced the bass-booming song “All of the Lights” by Kanye West. Suddenly a thunderous drum roll began as the curtains lifted, and halt! Time for school! An annoyingly noisy school alarm rang and cued the models to come out sporting the preppy, all-American line Tommy Hilfiger. The women wore knee-high socks with their shiny Mary Janes paired with pleated skirts, denim capri pants and knitted dresses. The very handsome men wore varsity jackets, cargo pants, and cardigans with detailed checkers and striped prints. The collection was made up of navy blues, whites, reds, greens, browns and burgundy, the color of last fall, which evidently continues to thrive for this season.

A themed backdrop of “living life in the fast lane” then appeared with car images zooming through the night creating streaks of light. The sharp, ever chic oh-la-la looks of Jean Paul Gaultier appeared with female models embellished with lots of delicately thin swinging necklaces reaching below the navel. Butterfly and floral print dresses and pants were toughened up with a black, gold or silver puff vest. Those looks were paired with eye-popping tights in mustard yellow, blue and orange, lending a 1960s vibe, and wedge heels with that iconic 1930s shape. There were also stunning tops and pants in green, copper and silver metallic that flowed like liquid with each step. Two models in particular stood out from the rest, wearing the designer’s iconic African inspirations dating from the late 1990s; a black Egyptian pharaoh headdress and a red thin-beaded headdress covered the model’s face.

The next collection was by Tallia Orange for men. Blazers in brown plaid, burgundy, navy blue, orange, brown tweed, gray and purple velvet (a popular fabric from the 1990s) were paired with dark denim, black jeans, and grey and burgundy pants for a casual yet dressy look. These looks, along with black and white tuxedos, were paired with good-ol-boy bow ties in red, black, purple and olive.

Following was a great musical performance by The Summer Set, who is the winning punk rock group of Macy’s iHeart Radio Rising Star contest. Afterwards, RACHEL Rachel Roy for women was presented. Several items of the line looked like modern club wear. There was a gorgeous sleeveless orange jumpsuit with a slit in the back exposing very little skin, a black dress with gold detail, a copper sequin skirt and dress, and a leopard print dress.

Transitioning for the next collection, male models wore vests and berets while riding bicycles that glowed in the dark, along with their clothes. That would be called high-tech chic dating from early 2000. Maison Jules, a new addition to the Impulse collection for women, had the typical Parisian look of skinny pants with polka-dot or thin-striped shirts, denim jackets, blazers with the sleeves rolled up and grown-up girl dresses. All paired with flats and pops of red in either a handbag, lipstick or shoe form.

Designer labels American Rag, Material Girl, Levi’s and Hello Kitty were combined and modeled by hip-hop dancers. The clothes and hairstyles were very 80s with neon colors that also glowed in the dark, denim vests and shorts with colored tights underneath and clean sneakers. The next set of designer labels also grouped, but modeled by los modelos, were Armani Jeans, Bar III, Calvin Klein Jeans, Buffalo and Guess. These looks were very urban with cuffed pants, skinny jeans, leather jackets, army boots and wool jackets.

Weekend Max Mara had a rainy theme with a thunderous backdrop and each female model held an umbrella. No worries, they were sure to wear waterproof mascara. Models wore a hot pink 1940s-style dress with draping in the front, color blocking, patterned dresses, a black and white cheetah dress, and wool, puffed and tweed coats with fur collars.

Another performance by Cirque du Soleil was presented. The acrobats performed in casual workout wear because it was the dress rehearsal performance. Would have been nice to have seen them in their actual costumes and makeup, considering it was the first ever seeing them.

Moving on, Philosophy exuded the utmost elegance for women. The first set of models came out in boardroom pencil skirts with fitted jackets, the second set modeled a white affair of oversized jackets, flowing skirts and trousers. The final set wore elongated gloves with a floor-length black sequin gown and a fur wrap, a flapper dress with embroidery and a lilac asymmetrical top that flowed with a train and pants.

And as always, Diesel left the crowd blushing with giggles. Male models wore sweaters with denim jeans and were presented as such on a screen. Suddenly the screen lifts away and the once fully clothed models come strutting to the edge of the stage wearing only boxer briefs, leaving very little to the imagination. The briefs came in blue, purple, red, navy, green and two toned, and suddenly these colored layers were ripped off leaving the boys in tighty-whities.

The show ended on a high note with Sheryl Crow singing her new single “Easy” and her hit songs “If it Makes You Happy” and “Everyday is a Winding Road.”

And last thing dear reader, keep in mind that fashion is whatever one makes of it. Go ahead and religiously follow the seasonal trends, or simply don’t. Who’s to judge, but only yourself? The trends for this fall season may not include the freshest ideas—forgive me when I say, they are a bit “been there, done that.” However, the fall fashions presented in this show display evolutionary glimpses into past eight or so decades, which is bound to have something to suit most any taste or style.

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