CHICAGO On Thursday night, Fashion Group International feted local industry folks at the Rising Star Awards, which doled out honors in categories such as retail, apparel, and jewelry. In the past, the event has consisted of a cocktail reception and a presentation, but this year planners decided to add a sit-down dinner. “Adding the dinner was [meant] to shake things up a little,” said Stephanie D'Ambrosio, nominating chair for the group's Chicago chapter.
The event saw other changes, including a new venue. In past years, the award presentation took place at the James Hotel, but “we were expecting more guests this year”— with 185 R.S.V.P.s, as compared with 125 in 2009— ”and we needed some more room,” said D'Ambrosio. Planners ultimately decided to bring the dinner to the Hotel Sax Chicago, which D'Ambrosio said “had the young, contemporary feel we were looking for.”
D'Ambrosio attributed the increased guest count to the event's building reputation. “We have awards for interior design and beauty, as well as for fashion,” she said, “so we draw in a very broad audience.”
Final changes included a revamped award ceremony. Last year, six categories had five nominations each, but according to D'Ambrosio, “that was just too overwhelming.” Thursday's iteration had five award categories with four nominees in each, but the foundation still allowed for four-minute introductions of each award candidate. “That way, the audience really got why each candidate was nominated, and what they were doing for the community,” D'Ambrosio said.