Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chicago Style

Chicago Finery

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Looking on the horizon of fashion, I see the sensuality and breathtaking artistry of Art Nouveau making a comeback on the style scene. After reading a guest post on The Girls of Lincoln Park in June, I was inspired to glance upward for inspiration.

In the late 1800s, the Chicago skyline experienced an aesthetic makeover as the neo-classical style of architectural design gave way to the appeal of the Aesthetic and Art Nouveau Movements. The great fire of 1871 opened the doors to a new breed of architect, and Louis Sullivan rose to the top of the pack with his perfection of iron-and-steel framed buildings and his dedication to beauty in art.

After perfecting the bland metal framework of what would become the modern skyscraper, Sullivan turned his attention to aesthetics in architecture. With intricate and sensuous ornamentation on the outside of his buildings, he made his distinct and beautiful Art Nouveau mark in all the great cities. I believe some of his best work is showcased along the streets of his hometown, Chicago.

His Rookery Building (circa 1899), currently home to US Bank, stands regally on South La Salle Street with its intricate scrollwork and engraving. His ornate Carson Pirie Scott Building (circa 1899) holds court on State Street, where the new CityTarget store recently opened its doors. Both of these buildings offer a stunning view of the intricate design features of Art Nouveau ornamentation.

It is from these buildings (and one Victor Horta interior of the Tassel House in Belgium, circa 1893, which I could not resist including) that I drew inspiration to pair these stunning Art Nouveau jewelry pieces with contemporary dresses. Next time you need a show-stopping ensemble, I hope you will consider looking up for inspiration.

If you have a minute, would you leave me a comment to let me know which of the Sullivan buildings in Chicago is your favorite?

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