Lakeshore East at Dusk

A couple weeks ago, I went on an evening tour of the Lakeshore East development. I have a soft spot in my heart for Lakeshore East, because my husband and I took our wedding party photos in the park at its center. One of our friend’s used to live there as well.

First I got to peak out on the balconies of a penthouse in The Coast. Could you imagine having such awesome views from your home? I can’t. From this apartment, I could see the famous Bean in Millennium Park, the Chicago River, the southern end of the Magnificent Mile, and Navy Pier.

Then I got to see the Aqua up close. It was a foggy night, and the building’s undulating facade disappeared into the clouds.

Lastly, I wandered over to check out Lakeshore East Park. It was really pretty, with all the lights lit up.

It was a pretty cool evening. I definitely recommend checking out Lakeshore East, if you’re looking for a new Chicago neighborhood to explore. There are a bunch of new businesses and restaurants now, and the dog park is always hopping.

Friday File

Whew, that was another long week. It was great to have the students back on campus. I’ve started training new student workers and volunteers. It’s nice to work with a fresh group that have no hands-on experience working with historic clothing so that I can train them from scratch. We start with the basics of handling garments and build upon that. They will learn the skills to deal with everything from the most delicate silks to 20th-century plastics. They are curious and eager to learn, which are ideal qualities for museum workers.

Now, let’s check out the cool stuff I found online this week:

Pantone's forecast for spring 2014, from Women's Wear Daily

This week Pantone announced its top colors for Spring 2014. At the top of the chart is Dazzling Blue, number 18-3949, in the upper left corner. The thing that struck me most about Pantone’s forecast is that the colors are more muted than past spring seasons.

Lots of myths abound regarding the corset. In 1908, Dr. Ludovic O’Followell of France x-rayed women in their corsets to see what exactly the undergarments did to the body. Take a look for yourself and see how the ribcage is modified after the laces are tightened.

Check out this slideshow of 10 buildings that survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. First, it’s incredible just to see buildings that old. Second, the luck that they survived to this day is pretty cool.

Designer Maria Pinto is back. The Chicagoan has turned to Kickstarter to launch a new line called M2057.

I love Garance Doré’s candor on her blog. She handles issues like femininity, weight, and the fashion industry with honesty. It’s entirely refreshing.

Friday File

It seems like yesterday that spring semester was wrapping up and I had the whole summer in front of me. But today, faculty are back on campus, and everyone is prepping like mad for fall semester to start. This week I’ve posted jobs for student workers and volunteers, got a flatbed-scanning station set up for students who visit the collection, and purchased some beautiful early 20th-century garments for the collection with remaining capital funds before we switch to the new fiscal budget. Not to mention that the weather already feels like fall.

The Marlborough-Vanderbilt Wedding, Chicago Tribune, 1895, from

I’ve got a bunch of links for you this week, so let’s dive in:

My curiousity has been peaked by Smithsonian’s piece on American girls who married British nobility near the end of the 19th century. I need to know more.

If you liked my post on Zaha Hadid’s shoes a couple weeks ago, you’ll enjoy this roundup of shoes designed by architects on de zeen magazine.

Digging this interview with Massimiliano Gioni, art critic and head curator of the 2013 Venice Biennale. He talks fashion, art, and style.

So much design packed into a stapler. Kind of want one now.

A little behind-the-scenes video of a Joffrey Ballet promotional shoot. I want to make time to see the ballet this year.

My friend Trisha shared this great link to nine abandoned castles and mansions. They are astonishing in their discarded state. I can only imagine what they were like in their heyday.

I’ll leave you with a strange but entirely thought-provoking conversation about the current fashion industry.

Zaha Hadid’s Nova Shoe

Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University by Zaha Hadid, photo by Carlos Osorio/Associated Press, from

The relationship between fashion and architecture is an interesting one that I want to explore more. The process of design has many commonalities — both need to be functional, support the needs of human bodies, and can be innovative, playful, and imaginative with materials and forms.

Architect Zaha Hadid is famous for her futuristic architecture. The Design Museum says she experiments with “multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry” in her buildings, which are often highlighted by sleek, shiny facades. There is a certain fluidity in her design, even though her structures are highly abstracted. She was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, among other prestigious architecture awards.

But now she’s taken her experimentation with spatial concepts to the world of fashion, and has focused attention on footwear in a collaboration with United Nude. In many ways her design is less shoe, more foot architecture.

The Nova Shoe design hinges on a cantilevered system that supports a 6.25 inch invisible heel. Using the latest technology, the shoe uses injection and rotation molding and vacuum casting.

True to Hadid’s style, the Nova shoe marries natural rhythm and futurism in aesthetic design. The upper is made out of metallic chromed vinyl rubber and lined with Italian kid nappa leather, the platform and heel are made of fiberglass, and the sole is made of rubber.

Only 100 editions of each color were produced — black chroming, silver chroming, and rose gold — and each costs $2,000.

Obviously, I’ve never tried on these shoes, but I once tried on a pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes that had an invisible heel. I was surprised that they weren’t impossible to walk in (but did give my shins a bit of a workout). Knowing Hadid’s talent as an architect, I’m sure her shoes are more than just aesthetically creative. While maybe requiring good balance, I doubt they are hard to walk in, and they might even be comfortable!

Are you as intrigued as I am at Hadid’s intersection of fashion and architecture?