FASHIONABLE CONFESSIONS: Jason Wu, Fashion Designer

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Who would believe it's nearly a decade since we saw Michelle Obama in the stunning one-shoulder Jason Wu dress at the 2009 inaugural ball. It was a career-defining moment that forever changed his life. Wu would go onto dress many other influential women like The Duchess of Sussex, Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, Diane Kruger, and Kerry Washington. Along with designing his eponymous label, Wu also served as Artistic Director of German fashion house Hugo Boss for five years, as well as creating limited edition collections with Target and Eloquii. Last year saw him enter the world of beauty with his first fragrance, and plans to launch his second scent in 2019.

While in town to be honored with the Presidents’ Circle Honors Award from Chicago History Museum’s Costume Council, I had the privilege of interviewing Wu for Splash magazine (which you can read here) but I also threw in some Fashion Junkie questions.

LAST FILM YOU WATCHED?
Hereditary

YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?
Crazy Rich Asians

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FAVORITE VACATION DESTINTATION?
Taiwan, where I’m from

LAST TIME YOU WERE LATE?
Today for this interview

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE ANYONE HAS GIVEN YOU?
From my mom, always be a student

LAST SONG YOU DOWNLOADED?
Shallow from A Star is Born

YOUR STYLE ICON?
Diane Kruger

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LAST CONCERT?
Maroon 5

WHAT’S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Sky diving, it’s both horrifying and exciting

YOUR DRINK OF CHOICE?
Dirty vodka martini

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LAST TIME YOU WERE STAR STUCK?
When I saw Oprah

LAST TIME YOU DANCED?
Last week

YOUR PRIZED POSSESSION?
1930s sewing machine that my dad gave me

ONE THING YOU CAN’T LIVE WITH OUT?
My phone

Read my full interview with Jason Wu for Splash Magazine.

FASHION CONFESSIONS: Brian Atwood, Shoe Designer

Brian Atwood shoe designer interview with fashion junkie

Brian Atwood, made his name designing exquisite heels worn by many stars like Kate Hudson, Taylor Swift, and Lady GaGa to name a few. A former fashion model, he began his design career in the 90's working for the legendary Gianni Versace. As the first American designer hired by the Italian fashion house, he quickly rose to the position of Head Designer of Accessories. In 2001 he launched his namesake shoe label specializing in glamorous sky-high heels, which soon became a fixture on the red carpet. I chatted to Atwood at the Chicago History Museum where he was being honored at their spring fundraiser luncheon in support of the Costume Council, the sold-out event raised over $30,000.

WHAT’S YOUR FASHION ADDICTION?
Shoes, of course! I’ve collected around 1500 shoes from every shoe designer you can image.

WHO ARE YOU STYLE ICONS?
Besides my mom, classics like Lauren Hutton

 Brian Atwood and Dusty Stemer, Brian’s mother and event co-chair

Brian Atwood with his mom Dusty Stemer, event co-chair

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Life of the party

LAST TIME YOU DANCED?
Last week at a karaoke party

FAVORITE VACATION HOLIDAY DESTINATION?
Anywhere in Greece

LAST TIME YOU WERE LATE?
Today

YOUR CELEBRITY CRUSH GROWING UP?
T
om Cruise

LAST FILM YOU SAW?
My girl Melissa McCarthy’s new film Life of the Party

LAST BOOK YOU READ?
I’m currently reading The Power of Now

BEST SHOE ADVICE?
If you don’t know what shoe to wear with an outfit my advice is select something simple, stay away from anything too trendy. So often I see a woman in a great outfit but with terrible shoes.

THE LAST TIME YOU WERE STARSTRUCK?
At the Oscars, everyone was there from Nicole Kidman to Madonna.

BIGGEST FASHION FAUX PAS?
A corduroy flared suit

Brian Atwood with this brother Zak Stemer

Brian Atwood with his brother Zak Stemer

LAST TIME SOMEONE MADE YOU LAUGH?
Last night on the phone with my brother Zak (Stemer).

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR ICONIC MANIAC SHOE?
Maniacs were inspired by the movie Flash Dance, I remember I was at Kate Hudson’s Halloween party. Brad Goreski was dressed as Jennifer Beals and said: “You should do a red pump called a Maniac.” And I said, “You know, that’s a good idea!”

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Maniac Shoe

LAST CONCERT YOU WENT TO?
JLo in Dubai

YOUR DRINK OF CHOICE?
Tequila on the rocks with a lime

WHAT’S ON THE LIST DO LIST WHILE YOU ARE HERE IN CHICAGO?
The Wieners Circle with my brother.

Brian Atwood In-conversation with Susanna Homan, editor and chief of Chicago magazine

In-conversation with Susanna Homan, editor and chief of Chicago magazine

Event photos by Mila Samokhina

FASHION CONFESSIONS: Angela Missoni, Missoni Creative Director

Angela Missoni's fashion confessions

This year sees the 20th anniversary of Angela Missoni as creative director of the Italian fashion house, Missoni. Started in the 50s by her parents, Missoni's colorful zigzag knits have become as iconic as Chanel's camellia. Angela has grown the family business into an empire with the expansion of 25 sub-lines, (M by Missoni and Missoni Home) plus several successful collaborations (Converse, Havaianas and of course Target). As she celebrates her anniversary at the helm, I caught up with her at Neiman Marcus- a fitting location as Missoni has been sold at the department store since the early 70s, longer than any other brand! Angela reveals to me her fashion confessions.

WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
I’m a very lucky person; I have an amazing job. It may be more than what you think because I’m not only a designer I own the company. So my job is 360 degrees. And I’m a natural fixer and a problem solver, right, so I love to solve problems.

But on the creative side, it's the moment when the collection comes together when you have defined the look, and put on the show and see it all come together, that’s the most exciting.

CELEBRITY CRUSH GROWING UP?
Robert Redford

FAVORITE FILM?
I love fantasy, so I have to say the Fellini movies.

LAST TIME YOU DANCED?
Last week I had a party in LA for my 20th Anniversary.

WHAT’S YOUR DRINK OF CHOICE?
Negroni Sbagliato also known as The Wrong Negroni.

FAVORITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION?
I love the seaside, but I love a place that can surprise me. I’m very curious person, so I to see and I need to discover, so I like to go to discover new places.

LAST BOOK YOU READ?
School of Awake by Kidada Jones

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE ANYONE HAS EVER GIVEN YOU?
In fashion, always wear something you feel comfortable because no matter the dress if you don’t you are always adjusting yourself and that is the most unsexy and unflattering thing to do.

And in life, it’s something no young person would listen, there are so many things which are irrelevant, and it’s not worth the stress. So my advice would be don’t sweat the small stuff.

BEAUTY CONFESSIONS: Christina Mace-Turner, CEO of True Botanicals

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As a leader within some of the most innovative companies in the world, first Apple and then Flipboard, Christina has a career-long habit of leveraging technology to transform consumer experiences. After becoming a serious user of True Botanicals and fan of their philosophy, the idea of giving the beauty industry a complete tech make-over took shape — and she knew this was the brand to do it. Christina soon joined the team to take their direct sales model to the next level, delivering unprecedented transparency, greater value, and superior results to their growing clientele, while also highlighting and rewarding the sustainable farmers who provide the ingredients for True Botanicals products. Knowing that she is creating meaningful change within an industry that was so desperately in need of it makes this latest chapter in her career incredibly rewarding.

WHAT’S YOUR BEAUTY ADDICTION?
I go crazy if I am separated from our Renew Mist for more than a day. I'm obsessed with the smell - so relaxing - and the way it makes my skin feel. I have travel sized versions of it in every bag and I keep a bottle of it on my desk for quick pick me ups. When my teenage kids start to get really irritated with me, I spray it on their faces to calm them down!

WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
I get to go to work every day with people I adore and admire, and focus on a mission that means so much to each of us. We are dedicated to empowering our customers and changing the beauty industry for the better; while it's hard work, it's incredibly gratifying.

WHAT'S THE ONE THING IN YOUR MAKE-UP BAG YOU COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT?
True Botanicals eye & lip balm.

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WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My daughters, I learn so much from them!

LAST FILM YOU WATCHED?
"At the Fork" which is a documentary about meat production in the United States. Doesn't sound very entertaining, but it actually is so interesting!

CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH?
Inez & Vinoodh and how they manage to turn every portrait they take into a work of art.

YOUR CELEBRITY CRUSH GROWING UP?
Ricky Schroder was my 12 year old celebrity crush. I loved "Silver Spoons" and went with a group of friends to the mall to stand on line for hours to get his autograph. When I finally got to the front of the line, I asked for a kiss, of course.

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SUM YOURSELF UP IN THREE WORDS…
Driven. Excited. Alive.

DRINK OF CHOICE?
Dirty Tito's martini. It's my go to.

FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION?
Hydra, Greece. I've been going there since I was a child, and it hasn't changed a bit. Donkey's, clear water and the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.

LAST TIME YOU WERE STARSTRUCK?
A dinner with Tom Wolfe years ago. I only really get starstruck with great authors.

LAST TIME YOU WERE LATE?
Ummm, is that a rhetorical question?

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BEAUTY CONFESSIONS: Barry Beck, co-founder of Bluemercury

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If you feel shopping for beauty products at a department store too pressurized and impersonal, then you need to check out Bluemercury. Started in 1999 by husband and wife entrepreneurs Barry and Marla Beck. Their concept was to create a neighborhood beauty and spa boutique that offered varied or exclusive products in a more relaxed setting. With over 130 stores nationwide the luxury retailer has been wildly successful, they’ve just opened their 7th Chicago store and plan to open seven more throughout the city. I spoke to Barry to find out his beauty confessions.

WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY ADDICTION?
I love Molton Brown; I use their body wash every single day, it's my favorite product, it’s like a treatment in the morning, and it makes me feel better. People always think that I use ‘Black Peppercorn’ because it’s more masculine, but the truth is I use ‘Pink Pepperpod’.

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WHAT’S YOUR FAV THING ABOUT LIVING IN DC?
It is a gateway city. When you look at America you got these gateway cities; you got NY, DC, Chicago and LA. So it’s an incredible gateway city, it’s still manageable, and you're able to get around. And it still has that wonderful suburban feel to it even though it’s growing so fast. It’s an incredible city, and I love it. And I love Georgetown, where we are based, it’s so vibrant and exciting with incredible shops and restaurants, and I love being there.

WHICH CITY SPENDS THE MOST ON BEAUTY PRODUCTS?
Definitely, New York City but Number 2 is Chicago and number 3 is LA. Chicago is in front of LA!

LAST FILM YOU WATCHED?
Miss Sloane, with Jessica Chastain, great movie and you know what I loved about it the most? Her outfits. Every woman should go out right now and watch that movie just to see what she wore. The outfits were so chic, so stylish so wonderful. It might be hard to pull some of them off like the patent leather, but she was so elegant, so timeless.

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WHO WAS YOUR CELEBRITY CRUSH GROWING UP?
Heather Locklear … and my guy crush is Leonardo DiCaprio, I love him. He’s my favorite actor in the world; he’s such a movie star. I was in a room with him once, in California we were at a party together. And he walked into the room, and you can just tell he was a true Hollywood star, love him…elegant, refined and he is a Bluemercury customer.

FAVORITE PRODUCT IN YOUR STORE?
My favorite number one product is the Power Glow Peel. I love it, especially for guys... it’s one minute, change your life, make you look better, swipe to the right, and it’s no fuss!

WHAT’S YOUR CHOICE OF DRINK?
Macallan 18, I’m a scotch guy.

FAVORITE BOOK?
The Snowball about Warren Buffett, you know why? It teaches me lessons on business and life.

Bluemercury North River Chicago store opening

Bluemercury's new North River store, 356 North Clarke Street, is now open.

BEAUTY CONFESSIONS: Adam Bogucki, Hairstylist, Living Proof educator & Owner Lumination Salon

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Adam Bogucki is the hairstylist behind Lumination Salon, an intimate one-on-one setting where you not only customize your hair but the whole experience. In the beautifully decorated space, you feel more like a VIP customer in your own a private room rather than in a busy nosy salon. Bogucki is reinventing the salon experience for the everyday customer, having them leave feeling both special and pampered. I sat down with the master stylist to find out his beauty confessions.

WHAT’S YOUR BEAUTY ADDICTION? Glamglow Mask

YOUR CELEBRITY CRUSH GROWING UP? Leonardo Dicaprio

BIGGEST FASHION FAUX PAS? That time I tried guy liner. Uggs on anyone

DRINK OF CHOICE? Hoegaarden Beer

SUM YOURSELF UP IN THREE WORDS? Dedicated, passionate, thoughtful

LAST APP YOU DOWNLOADED? Calm. It's supposed to help me meditate

FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION? Hawaii. I've been lucky to go 8 times and can't wait to go back

YOUR GO-TO HAIR PRODUCT? Living Proof and plumping mousse ($15) and nourishing oil ($38)

FAVORITE DESIGNERS? Louis Vuitton, DVF, Oscar de la Renta and Chanel

FAVORITE HAIR TREND FOR 2016? Brazilian Shag for cut and Nude for color

WHAT PAST HAIR TREND WOULD YOU LIKE TO REVIVE? It wasn't long ago, but the Jennifer Lawrence shortcut. It's my favorite cut to do.

WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO GIVE A HAIR MAKE-OVER? Katy Perry

WHO’S YOUR HAIR MUSE? Sarah Jessica Parker

WHO’S THE MOST REQUESTED CELEBRITY HAIR? Jennifer Anniston

WHERE DO YOU GET YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM? Instagram

Lumination Salon, 3355 North Lincoln Avenue, Suite 2; 773.456.4415

FASHION CONFESSIONS: Betsey Johnson, Designer

Betsy Johnson at Macy's on State Street

You might know Betsey Johnson for her crazy hair or legendary cartwheels she does after her runway shows. However this 73 has been in the fashion industry for over 50 years and has seen it all and done it all. During her recent visit to Macy’s, State Street store, I sat down with briefly Johnson to talk about her extraordinary life.

WHAT’S YOUR FASHION ADDICTION?
I don’t shop! I’m addicted to going out by myself, sitting, relaxing, looking around. I realized I love to people watch.

AFTER LIVING IN NY FOR OVER 50 YEARS YOUR NOW IN CALIFORNIA, HOW’S THAT BEEN?
Ten months ago I became bicoastal. Oh, my god, I can’t believe it’s been that long, I feel like it’s been two weeks! Malibu is just beautiful. My daughter, her husband and their two kids were out there and asked me to come. However if they ever said move to LA, I would never go. I know LA well, and I just didn’t want another version of NY. And you can create craziness if you want to when you are there.

Isla two-piece platform sandals, $79.99, by Betsey Johnson available at Macy's

WHO’S YOUR STYLE ICON?
I look to music industry I love everyone from Madonna to Pharrell. Gwen Stefani is looking great and a young Keith Richards.

LAST TIME YOU WERE STARSTRUCK?
I won the lifetime achievement award last year from Council of Fashion Design of America and Pharrell won style icon. I and especially my family were excited to me Pharrell. I love watching The Voice.

Betsy Johnson with Pharrell at CFDA

Pharrell and Betsey Johnson

WHO HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO MEET BUT NEVER HAVE?
Daniel Craig. Remember him in Casino Royal when he comes out of the water? I also love his wife, Rachel Weisz.

WHAT’S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Nothing…I’d like to live longer!

WHO’S YOUR CELEB CRUSH GROWING UP?
Elvis

Betsy Johnson at Macy's on State Street with Fashion Junkie Jessica Moazami

BEAUTY BITS: WINTER FRAGRANCES 101

With a winter season comes change. We transition our clothes, our skincare regime and our make-up but what about our fragrance? In the same way light and barely there clothes become unsuitable for the cold months, the same goes for your fragrance. During the winter months, our skin is much cooler than the summer and, therefore, need something stronger and more impactful. I talk to the Trudi Loren, Senior Vice President, Corporate Fragrance Development, Aramis and Designer Fragrances, The Estee Lauder Companies, about choosing a winter scent.

rudi Loren, Senior Vice President, Corporate Fragrance Development, Aramis and Designer Fragrances, The Estee Lauder Companies

WHY SHOULD YOU SWITCH FROM A SPRING/SUMMER FRAGRANCE TO A WINTER ONE?
Well, I think what happens in the winter time you tend to wear a lot more clothing. A lot more layers, having a scent that is a bit stronger wears well. When you wear a stronger scent in the summertime, because of the heat and humidity, it can become over whelming. But in the wintertime when it’s cooler and drier you can appreciate a stronger scent at that point.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD WINTER FRAGRANCE?
In a good winter fragrance, you usually find notes that are warmer, more comforting, more cocooning.

WHAT NOTES CREATE A SENSE OF WARMTH AND COMFORT?
Warmth and comfort are the resins, the balsams, which are with the amber family, they always work well. Some of the creamier, darker woody notes such as Sandalwood and Patchouli always works very well in the winter. Then you have the spices and I think warmer spices such as the cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, etc. as opposed to fresh spices like coriander, pepper, etc. Then of course within the fruit family, the richer, creamier fruits, so a deep dark plum, a black cherry and apricot. These are succulent fruits that work well in winter as opposed to the lighter fruits, which are more summery such as your red currant or your strawberry, blueberry and blackberry.

WHAT ALSO SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A SEASONAL SCENT?
You want something more substantive, bigger volume, fuller bodied.

SHOULD YOU SWITCH FROM EAU DE TOILETTE TO AN EAU DE PARFUM?
With winter fragrances sometimes you’ll see a more concentrated version of your signature scent or in many cases a lot of brands come out with intense versions or extreme versions. You usually see the extreme, more in the men’s category, intense you see in the women’s category or even the parfum version, which is a higher concentration. These all work very well for winter fragrances.

I also think in the winter you can then start experimenting with the other products that are within a line, so the body lotions and having that layering effect. So as we all need more moisturization for our skin during the cold winter, layering with the lotion or body cream, body butter of that scent always works really well. And then spraying the scent on top of that you also get retention, and it’s much longer.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR SELECTING A WINTER SCENT?
I think in choosing a winter scent, obviously like all fragrances anytime of the year, you need to try it on your skin. Make sure it really works with your own body chemistry. Because we all know we might smell something on someone else and love it, then try it on ourselves, and we are like oh no, this doesn’t work.

I think then it’s a matter of where you like to wear your fragrance during the winter. I personally feel it’s always wonderful to spray your fragrance on a scarf that you then are putting around your neck because it’s a much more intimate experience. You can then smell your scarf throughout the day, and I think that is always comforting and soothing.

Here are some winter fragrances for you to try…

Bobbi Brown Bobbi’s Party, Eau de Parfum, $74

Bobbi Brown’s strongest scent in her collection is aptly named ‘Party’. And it’s called that for a reason. With a delicious burst of violet leaves and rose petals mixed with touches of sandalwood, it’s warm and fun –perfect for a night out.

Chanel No 5,Eau de Parfum, $100

It’s a timeless classic but because of its complex composition of notes it’s a powerful scent that’s too intense in the summer heat. However, it's perfect in the wintertime.

Diana Vreeland Extravagance Russe, Eau de Parfum, $185

This intensely warm and smoky scent makes me think of a Turkish bazaar —with its exotic flowers, spices and leather. Which make sense as this Amber base is layered with sweet vanilla bourbon, resins and balsams.

Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Cologne, $125

Unlike her other colognes that are light and crisp, Pomegranate Noir is more like a moody and complex parfum, carefully combining creamy fruits with warm spices. There’s a real holiday festive feel to it.

Narciso Rodriguez Narciso, Eau de Parfum, $96

With its strikingly white and chic minimal bottle design, Narciso is already a standout. The white musk at its heart and woody accords of vetiver and cedar at its base create a sexy yet creamy and clean scent.

Tom Ford Oud Fluer, Eau de Parfum, $220

There’s subtleness to this middle-eastern style scent. Along with the Oud, there’s a delicate relationship between oriental spices and exotic flowers.

Maison Martin Margiela Replica By The Fireplace, Eau de Toilette, $125

If ever there was a song that perfectly described a perfume it would be Nat King Cole’s Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Maison Martin Margiela Replica scents are all about evoking familiar places and times. Their newest scent, By The Fireplace, is set in a 1971 Chamonix ski lodge.

And here’s my winter fragrance picks for a recent piece in The Chicago Tribune.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Diptyque, Limited Edition, Essences Insensées Eau de Parfum, $175 for 2.5oz, nordstrom.com. YSL, Black Opium Eau de Parfum, $90, sephora.com. Krigler, Sierra Vista Eau de Parfum Spray, $230, mcssl.com. Donna Karan, Liquid Cashmere Black Eau de Parfum, $62, donnakaran.com. Marc Jacobs, Decadence Eau de Parfum, $70, Sephora.com.