BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Down one of Chicago’s most stunning staircases strode models decked in Daryl Sneed’s newest limited edition collection this week at an evening benefiting Save the Children and highlighting luxury living.
Ultra-elegant realtor Julie Harron, herself a customer of ricorso, Daryl’s cosmopolitan toast to vintage wear, welcomed guests to the 1448 Lake Shore Drive duplex originally designed for the Burton family in 1926. Guests sampled
an imaginative menu created by chef Gaetano Urges while models made the stunning co-op their catwalk.
At Daryl’s Bryn Mawr atelier, you’ll find his collection of original 1950s coats and cocktail dresses from which he might adapt a nipped waist, a rolled collar, a midi length, or a keyhole neckline. Dress patterns from the period are also a part of his collection. He has taken his coveted discoveries found at flea markets, Lulu’s Vintage, and online, adapting their heritage detail and translating them into contemporary style, frequently working with exquisite Belgian fabrics.
Midi length skirts in a chevron pattern, dresses from shirtwaists to the most elegant of ball gowns, swing coats that Audrey Hepburn would have adored, and more are all made in Chicago under his watchful eye.
“I love to hunt and peck for details in the finds I purchase. I try to re-purpose the image by adding modern details and new fabrics. The Mad Men look is terrific, but it is often hard for customers to wear actual clothing from the period. The sizing is so different, and there is often much reconstruction involved.
“I learned from the late Richard Morse, with whom I developed the Kirk James line—the combination of our middle names. He worked with patterns and muslin and could do all the timeless techniques. Richard was a great cutter and often opened up seams to discover intricacies. I really learned by doing. We sold at the 28 Shop.”
The beautifully restored Bryn Mawr neighborhood, itself a tribute to Chicago history and architectural detail, seems just the right place right to spark Daryl’s creativity. Born in Millington, Tennessee, close to Memphis, he began his career in healthcare management before he was swept away by fashion and began his education in vintage wear.
“We recreate some the elegant femininity of 1950s Upper East Side ladies luncheons with the current Madison Avenue or Soho look of today. We find that our customers can go from a meeting for coffee in the morning, to a luncheon board meeting, and then out for elegant dining with just a change of the shoe.
“One of the vintage touches that seems most popular is the addition of pockets, which are among the details not used today because they are somewhat difficult. My clients say that they are grateful for having something to do with their hands.
“The swing coat in my new collection can be worn over jeans and the collar is very authentic and has the warmth of a baby alpaca lining added. As with the vintage Diors of old, everything is in the details.”
Event Photography Credit: Xu Xang
ricorso Clothing: Elda de la Rosa (sketches), Bret Grafton (photography)