Christine Chaney: Best Emerging Designer
The line: “I want my line to be timeless, but almost separate from ‘fashion’ per se, which can tend to revolve around trends and seasons,” says Chaney of her creatively crafted scarf frocks with sly peekaboo panels and asymmetrical hemming, cozy crochet sweaters and avant-garde coats made from army surplus wool blankets. “I want to create clothing that women live in and love; a piece that transcends a time frame.”
Creative spark: “I’m inspired by the way fabric moves and how it moves on a woman’s body,” says the Judkins Park-based designer, who started her clothing line in 2008. “I love how garments can shift and change on the form.” The 47-year-old Chaney, who is an architectural designer by day, crochet artist and self-taught designer by night, draws heavily from her architectural background, citing both the physics of construction and recycled fabrics as jumping-off points for her designs. “I use upcycle materials like scarves, not only because I find them beautiful, but because I’m inspired by the idea of rehabbing something for a second use. Even in architecture I’m more into old buildings that are given new life than new construction.”
Her muse: “Somebody once said that the definition of ‘beauty’ is a confident woman. I want to give women something beyond clothing; I want to give them power. With a lot of clothing, there isn’t a lot of mystery left, it can be like a second skin, it’s so tight. There is a sensual nature in my clothing, an obvious nakedness there, that gives you a sexy vibe without baring all.”
Biggest fashion faux pas: “I had this double-breasted, turquoise, fringed leather jacket in the ’80s—and I’m not even done describing it. It also had bat-wing sleeves, a tuxedo waist, and I wore it with these turquoise-silver lamé Hammer-style pants along with turquoise fringed sandals.”
How personal style influences her designs: “I like to layer as few things as possible, but present them powerfully—both in my designs and my own wardrobe. I have a mantra for presentations: I always sport a killer ring, one added piece of interest and then pop on my glasses. Done.”
Line: 3C: christine Chaneyclothing
Clothing from left to right: Cotton/linen/rayon blend bat-wing cowl neck crochet sweater over flapper-style vintage scarf dress. Chaney wears her own design, a parachute-style vintage scarf dress; necklace, skinny jeans and wedges are her own. Surplus army blanket (“SAB”) wool coat with built-in muff, vintage nautical latch and wallet pocket, layered over Peruvian wool crochet vest and parachute-style vintage scarf dress. Crocheted bat-wing silk-wool sweater layered over hand-dyed apron-style vintage scarf dress and crinkled hand-dyed slip dress.