Event recap: #FGIxMissoni
For those of you who checked out my Instagram story this past Wednesday, you probably saw how excited I was to attend a very special Fashion event. But before I dive in here, a little back story for ya’ll.
Okay, I’m going to brag about my new bestie here for a minute – my new colleague, Alex (who just started working at my office about 2 months ago) is just downright fabulous. We instantly bonded – over fashion, family, relationships, work life, and the power of a really good eyebrow wax. :) I just knew she was a keeper. So a few weeks ago, just happened to come up in conversation that she’s on the board of a group called FGI – Fashion Group International (Chicago chapter) and she is quite the VIP, focusing on their marketing and social media. She told me about an upcoming event featuring a breakfast conversation with the fabulously stylish and adorably hilarious Ken Downing (the Fashion Director of Neiman Marcus) and the stunningly chic Angela Missoni (Creative Director and daughter of the Italian knitwear brand, Missoni). As if Alex had to persuade me, I instantly said “YES, just tell me when and where”!
The day finally arrived! I showed up at the Gwen hotel on Rush Street – a stunning space for such a fashionable event. Alex introduced me to all her fabulous friends and I just loved mingling with people who share such similar interests, but to be honest, I couldn’t help but “people watch” (hopefully in an inconspicuous way), just to check out the fashion, because, let’s be real, you can just tell everyone felt the pressure to “step up their game” – I mean, Angela Missoni is in the building. Boom. #micdrop. So what were my initial impressions? LOTS of black, fur, some Missoni patters (of course) and [SPOTTED] silver and black metallic booties (swooooon).
We made our way into the banquet room and even the tablecloths were donned with Missoni-esque patterns (I have no idea if that was intentional, but either way, well-played Gwen hotel and FGI). :) Since I keep kosher, I gave my food to Alex (and some to take home for leftovers), because we weren’t going to let that food go to waste! After all, we did pay for it! And as we ate, we befriended the woman seated next to us. A stunning, tall blonde French woman named Delphine, a jewelry and handbag designer and actress (her silver studded clutch was to-die-for and yes, she designed it), was so sweet and even gave us a tip about a consignment shop that we just NEED to check out, like, ASAP (think Prada skirts for under $100). Side note – check out her website, nyetjewelry.com!
Okay, time for the main event with Ken and Angela (but first, a few words from the Italian Consulate General)! The one-on-one conversation felt very casual, like the hundred or so people in the room were just in her living room just hanging out, having coffee, chocolate croissants, quiche and raspberry crostadas (tough life, I know). Angela told us about her childhood, how she got started in the business (started by her parents), the focus on beautiful materials and textiles and of course their iconic zigzag pattern. She’s celebrating her 20th year as the Creative Director of Missoni and in the fashion world, that can be considered a lifetime. It’s rare these days to not only have a Fashion House that has been around for so long, but one that still has such integrity. They make all of their items (she says about 90% is clothing, versus other labels that focus more on accessories) locally in the beautiful Italian countryside, surrounded with picturesque mountains and lakes just outside the window. Nothing is made off-shore and there is such a love and dedication that goes into everything. Missoni focuses on their roots, on real “fashion”, not tchotchkes or trinkets, but real clothing for REAL women. Women of ALL ages – which she made very clear. The focus is on designing for all generations. And what I love so much about Missoni is how classic and timeless they are. Perhaps their patterns may not be everyone's preferred style, but honestly, an 80 year-old woman can rock a Missoni printed sweater at the same time a 30-year-old can sport a gold metallic zigzag printed Missoni scarf. I think it brought such a connection to all of us in the room (different ages alike) as I again stealthily peeked around at the stylish women (and men) around the room as Angela spoke in her soft Italian accent.
There was a lot that came up about social media – how she found an artist on Instagram that she used to create an art installation used for her runway show that debuted during Fall Fashion Week (in Milan this past September) and now featured in her New York studio. I agreed Angela her on keeping that fine balance of using social media as a great tool to connect with other designers, artists and to help build a career, but we don’t want to lose sight of having those personal touchpoints with people (I'm old school like that). That same idea goes with online shopping. As much as we all love to shop online, our table agreed with Ms. Missoni when she said there is something to be said about coming into a store, touching the fabric, feeling the clothing against your skin and seeing how it looks on you! You definitely don’t get that same experience when you peruse the latest sales on Gilt or Rue La La on your phone late at night (I'm sure we've all been there, am I right?). But happily, she assured us that she believes clothing stores will always be around. That was so eye-opening because there is so much congestion on social media, so much content to sift through on Instagram, so many online retailers, and even MY blog – how many thousands or even millions of blogs like this are out there, on the "interwebs"? It’s what you do to stand apart and make your mark – make those connections, those networks with other influencers in the business.
This was my first FGI event and I’m very much considering becoming a member, not just so I can get access to meeting people like Ken Downing, Angela Missoni, but to get opportunities to interact with people that share my love of fashion and trade tips for blogging, styling, photography, organic growth for your website – you name it.
Overall, this was a fantastic event. I’m sure I can speak for Alex when I say we were both on cloud 9, for her knowing that they sold out this and a success for FGI Chicago. And for me? I’m just glad I was given the opportunity to be there (and for the discounted price, thanks girl). :)
Can’t wait to see what FGI Chicago has in store next! Until next time…
Check out some more photos from the event!