The Perfect Backdrop, When Architectural History Entwines With Fashion!
Winston Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us,” and he was right on the money because something about visiting a historical building of architectural importance for a day date had me instantly excited just thinking about the fashion possibilities.
The Rookery Building, a Chicago historical landmark located downtown in the financial district, was completed in 1888 by Burnham and Root architectural firm and the lobby was remodeled in 1905 by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Rookery was and is still today considered an architectural masterpiece. At a height of 12 stories, this beautiful building with Its subtle turn-of the-century design and moorish influences was the first skyscraper of its time and stands as the oldest skyscraper in the country.
This is no ordinary building and this was no ordinary date, and I love dates as much as I do fashion. I get equally excited about both, after all they pretty much go hand in hand. Think about it, once a date has been set, what is the first thing you think about? Exactly! What you are going to wear. Who goes on a date and not think about their outfit? Nobody! Not even the most boring person because even he or she wants to show up as their best representative.
My date was not with someone I'd recently met or recently started dating but he is the constant source of the butterflies fluttering near my heart and I enjoy showing up and showing out for him. Hold on, let me be truthful, it’s not all about him, yup, it’s more about my deep passion for fashion. To know me is to know that I love being a fashion show out.
In my previous post, My Fashion Style, Deconstructed, I confessed about living with an obsession for different, this building is different and provides me with the stage be different and extra. Oh, did I also mention, that I love extra? Well, I do! Ha! The abundance of natural light, the fabulous marble lobby, the tight winding spiral iron staircase, and the vintage setting of the Burnham Library inside the Rookery sets the stage for it. Don’t I look architecturally savvy and fashionable. Lol!
For the Rookery building I wanted a look that was classic, flirty, and effortless. Wearing black is the easy thing to do to go classy, which is why if you don’t own 3 LBD’s you should. I wore these shoes to add height and just enough color pop to keep it fun. The black skirt is maxi length, a classic look but it flows with tiered sheer tulle that’s also asymmetrical, different and fun. The sleeves on this turtleneck bell out at the wrist and the top looks black but actually has some colorful sparks to it that the camera unfortunately doesn’t pick up.
Fashion and architecture is more entwined than many may realize. For example, many fashion designers including some iconic designers before they were big, held an architectural background to varying degrees; Gianfranco Ferre, Pierre Cardin, Pierre Balmain, Gianni Versace and Tom Ford to name a few.
Many fashion designers without an architecture background, Chloe, Balenciaga and Phillip Lim, have also been influenced by architecture. Even architects Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, who is the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, to have collaborated and worked with. So, if fashion designers can draw inspiration from architecture, me as a fashionista can certainly do it for inspiration of my outfit of the day.
So the next time you find yourself dressing not only for the occasion but also for the backdrop of where you are going, remember it’s not unusual, just the perfect stage to show up and make a statement as to who you are with speaking a word, just by walking in your truth. Just stay true to you and have fun!
If you have a chance to visit Chicago, or live in Chicago and desire to play a tourist in your city, and can visit the Rookery, call ahead and book a 45-minute tour, enjoy your date, and of course don’t forget to dine at one of the many restaurants that make Chicago on the International map for food and dining.