Darlene Schuff was at the Gene Siskel Film Center to watch “Advanced Style,” a documentary about fashionable ladies of a certain age produced by Ari Seth Cohen based on the eponymous street style blog he created.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me is all about fun, smiles and feeling great. I love to stir the pot a bit–sometimes my outfits amuse and even surprise me! I love wearing my clothes; my clothes do not wear me.
I adore the three ladies I have met. Lynn Dell has a wonderful shop; she is stunning and I love that she dresses every day like she is on stage. Debra Rapoport is the most artful of them–I own several of her toilet-paper-roll bracelets and a hat made of paper towel. Plus she’s so clever! I love how she puts herself together and is a walking piece of art. I picked her up at the Alexander McQueen show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is fearless and so unique. Tziporah is also very much her own; her ethnic clothes tell stories. Lots of tapestry, interesting shoes, wonderful berets, hats… she will wear two hats at a time. Plus Tziporah gets around town on a bike. No helmet, no bike shoes and no biking clothes, ever!
That depends on where I am going and who I am going to see. Sometimes I wear hats, but always rings and a lot of bracelets. If it’s cold I do fun arm muffs. I never plan the night before–I usually just go into my closet, which is pretty wonderful. It’s a bedroom with racks all over, so you can see everything. There I create an art form of clothes on me. The finishing touch is a red lipstick, which usually gets the whole look together. Attitude is the secret of making your outfit work. Just remember: you are in charge of the look; never let the look take over. As long as you love what you are wearing, people will turn their heads and love it. If they don’t, tough for them.
I love Jolie Femme in Hubbard Woods. They have the best selection of wonderful, theatrical clothes. Very artful and special. Their garments are from Paris, Canada, Italy, Copenhagen, Germany and Japan, to name a few. The staff is knowledgeable, thoughtful and helpful, on the cutting edge of fashion–[laughing] I work there a few days a week. The Antique and Resale Shoppe is perfect to find gifts, great vintage and to have a good time. Their staff gets dressed up in costumes every day.
—Interview and photograph by Isa Giallorenzo
Journalist Isa Giallorenzo was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has elected Chicago as her beloved home since 2009. She runs the street-style blog Chicago Looks and wants to see this town become one of the fashion capitals of the world.