April 20, 2012

The Style Suite: DailyCandy & Suave Bring "Fashion Stars" to Chicago

DailyCandy and Suave Professionals® joined forces to bring “The Style Suite,” a FREE VIP beauty and style lounge, to Chicago’s own fashion stars. The exclusive event featured hair styling with Suave Professionals® Keratin Infusion™ products. The city’s fashion set mixed and mingled over sweets and sips while enjoying a private viewing of NBC’s Fashion Star, along with two of my favorite Fashion Star designers, Orly Shani and Nzimiro Oputa.

Sidenote: I’ve used Suave products for years! I grew up washing my hair with Suave shampoo, and I still use Suave’s Cocoa & Shea Butter Body Wash. Suave’s commitment to offering professional-quality products and affordable prices has helped the brand remain a force in body care for over 70 years. The products often work as well as, if not better than, high-end salon and specialty brands. While I love Suave’s products, what I love most about the company is that it’s based in my hometown, Chicago.

In case you've been living under a rock and have completely missed Fashion Star, NBC’s new reality fashion competition series, let me give you the quick run down. Fashion luminaries and buyers from the nation’s top retailers, Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue, decide the fate of 14 contestant’s designer brands. The host and fashion mentors of the show are some of the most iconic fashion figures of our time, including Elle Macpherson, Jessica Simpson, Nichole Richie and John Varvartos.

International Business Times has called Fashion Star "one of the biggest and most-commercially backed reality competitions yet." Each week, contestants are given the opportunity to be purchased by one of the three retailers. And at the show's conclusion, the winning contestant will be crowned the "Ultimate Fashion Star" and will receive $6 million in orders for capsule collections at all three stores.

with Nzimiro Oputa
with Orly Shani

Tuesday night’s Style Suite took place at Hotel Palomar, in the city's River North community. While DailyCandy's goodies were a delight, the highlight of the night was getting face time with Fashion Star contestants Orly Shani and Nzimiro Oputa.

In true Nzami-mi (as Nicole Richie would say) style, Nzimiro, a Detroit native who actually went to college for engineering, had lots to say! 

“No one would ever admit it, but Detroit is probably one of the most fashionable cities that exists on the planet. We got swag in Detroit.” And if I didn't get the gist the first time around, he wanted to make sure I understood: “Detroit has swag. We have a lot more swag than Chicago. No offense. I love Chicago, but I'm going to rep my city.”

Orly and Nzimiro were very candid, mingling with guests like we were the Fashion Stars and they were the fans. However, I learned that viewers almost didn't get a chance to see Nzimiro's designs on the screen — he originally did not want to be on the show.

“I didn’t want to do it. I thought it was like a Project Runway thing. I didn’t want to be this reality person. I wanted to build my brand organically," he said. “But, once I found out the background and premise of the show, I knew it was a healthy thing for me to do.”

Nzimiro also offered up one key piece of advice for future Fashion Stars and people trying to break into the fashion industry: “Stay true to yourself, and have confidence.”

For those of you outside of Chicago, there are still two more chances to experience the Style Suite and rub elbows with Fashion Stars. Get tickets to Miami's May 1st event or New York's May 15th event. Don't miss out!

Who's your favorite Fashion Star this season?

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