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School of the Art Institute designers take over the runway

Marianne Finneran senior SAIC was looked street photos used medicreate with her fashidesigns. | Ting Shen~Sun-Times Media

Marianne Finneran, senior at SAIC was looked at street photos and used media to create with her fashion designs. | Ting Shen~Sun-Times Media

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SAIC Fashion 2013

† School of the Art Institute, Millennium Park, Chase Promenade North, 201 E. Randolph, Chicago

† 9 a.m. Friday dress rehearsal: $40

† Noon and 3 p.m. Friday fashion shows: $75

† The Walk 2013 benefit: reception, 5:30 p.m. Friday, fashion show, 6:30, dinner, 7:45

† Tickets: $500-$1,000

†; (312) 499-4190

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Updated: June 4, 2013 6:27AM

Fashion fans need a show to fill the gap now that “Project Runway” named a winner last week.

To get that fix — live — designers’ creations at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s annual fashion show head down the runway Friday.

It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the spring season, this year spotlighting 250 designs from fashion students.

“I’ve looked at fashion shows from Valentino and in Milan,” said Stephanie Sick of Winnetka, co-chair of the Walk benefit. She has been with the Walk since its inception in 2008. “This one is very, very professional. The students are extremely creative and the designs are beautifully constructed.”

Blair Disbrow of Winnetka is a junior at SAIC, participating in her second show as a designer. Her concept grew out of the classic tea party, specifically the decadent luxury of tea as a formal occasion.

Her designs mimic the shapes of the table setting that she translates the experience into rich fabrics in soft pastels embellished with loads of lace and crystals.

“I’ve gold leafed six yards of feathers and 16 yards of organza to give the idea of a gold plate.” she said.

Kendel Kennedy of Deerfield, also a junior, shows three looks inspired by Chicago’s abandoned Brach’s candy factory.

“I have an interest in urban decay,” she explained. “And I want to preserve the memory as well as go back to that childlike fantasy of the interior of a candy factory.”

Ferrara Pan, current owners of Brach’s, donated candy packaging and wrappers that Kennedy uses to create industrial-looking jackets lined with delicate cheesecloth dipped in caramelized sugar. Each headpiece looks like a finished piece of wrapped candy.

“It’s very playful and kind of fantasy-like,” she said, but also touches on the preservation of the brand, as well as its decay.

Designs of Evanston’s Marianne Finneran, a senior in the department, reflect on the use of TV and film as escapism — or even as an alternate base of existence.

So on the fabric of a traditional men’s trench coat, she digitally printed blueberries so realistic that it appears you’re actually looking into the container.

“I look at a lot of street fashion photos,” Finneran explained. “The classic, tailored look is coming back. Working with something already so established in terms of an aesthetic really forced me to look at the small choices.”

A selection of student designs will be for sale at a pop-up store in Block 37, 108 N. State St. from May 10 through 19.

Laura Amann is a local free-lance writer.

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