The Maven’s Eye: Fashion

BrandMe Media and Hartzog-Bagsby Consulting have teamed up to compile our annual style guide The Maven’s Eye: Fashion.  Its a piece that highlights some of the must have items on the Gulf Coast for Winter 2012 and early Spring 2013. … Continue reading

Urban Africa: Eclectic Leather Design for Individuals [C. Hartzog for Haute Chicago]

In the fashion industry, finding a way to differentiate a brand in a highly competitive market calls for savvy design and the creation of something that people can relate to. Enter Urban Africa. The brand officially launched in 2005 after Vincent Urbain visited … Continue reading

Yves Saint Laurent + Chicago [Haute Chicago]

The Waldorf Astoria of Chicago will have a new tenant in fall of 2013: the one and only YSL. Since the boutique’s closure in 2010 when the company was still under the leadership of Stefano Pilati, Chicago has not had a YSL stand alone presence. The … Continue reading

L’ile Aux Ashby [Carlisha Hartzog Bagsby via Haute Chicago]

When 3D art and jewelry collide you get the brainchild of Rayson Tan. L’ile Aux Ashby is most known for its geometric motif– art deco stylized to create amazing necklaces, earrings, rings and handbags. The latest collection, Prodigy of Colours, has incorporated finer materials such as gold and gems, to differentiate the line. Don’t worry–with a showroom in Singapore and availability through the online incubator Not Just a LabelL’ile Aux Ashby isn’t as inaccessible as you may think.

C Hartzog Bagsby for Haute Chicago

LileAuxAshby LileAuxAsby2 LileAuxAshby1



Okay everyone, I need your help. I am gathering toiletries, gently used toys, shoes and used or new clothes for children. I will wash, box and wrap them, I just need help collecting. The items will be given to children in the community that are in dire need of the basic daily elements. I can pick them up, just let me know. Inbox me (or text me) to coordinate any pick up times. This will allow children to have some items for Christmas, but more importantly, to start off the new year. #sharelove

Twitter: @hartzogbagsby


Tonya Gross Millinery [Chicago, IL] via Haute Chicago

A Return to Refined Sophistication

Carlisha Hartzog Bagsby for Haute Chicago

Courtesy of Tonya Gross Millinery

Courtesy of Tonya Gross Millinery

Tonya Gross Men's Hat

Tonya Gross Men’s Hat

Tonya Gross Millinery for Haute Chicago

Tonya Gross Millinery for
Haute Chicago

Courtesy of Tonya Gross Millinery

Courtesy of Tonya Gross Millinery

Ms. Gross left the financial services arena of corporate America in 2005 and followed her instinctive desire to be a milliner.  Three days later, she was enrolled in millinery classes, determined to make a life and career, based on her personal love of hats.

Millinery is the art of designing and creating hats, which entails different levels of intricacy and detail.  The art form extends back to the 1700s and is a critical component of fashion as designers, stylists and photographers partner with milliners to acquire one of kind pieces.  Although used for editorial work, milliners create pieces that are retailed through boutiques and larger department stores as well, designed for the savvy consumer.  Gross focuses on couture, handcrafted designs that require dedicated work and attention; the end result is functional, wearable elements of art. Her vision is that hats should be accessible and available to everyone, as necessary wardrobe investments.  Gross hand-carves her own blocks, which are used to create forms specifically for her clients, ensuring great, measured fit.

Gross has had the opportunity to participate in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and has also contributed looks for the Kentucky Derby.  In 2011, she was contacted by representatives for Michigan designer Pamela Roland about partnering for the designer’s 2012 Spring runway presentation for fashion week.  The designer had seen some of Gross’ sculptural work and was impressed.  Fabric swatches were overnighted, color schemes were discussed and Tonya Gross Millinery’s designs graced the famed catwalk in New York.

For this year’s Kentucky Derby, the designer created a collection that was well received.  It was her first year incorporating men’s hats into her line, but Gross feels there is a great opportunity for menswear.  A “reality show celebrity” purchased a hat from the collection after providing positive feedback, which Gross stated was an honor.  She will continue the men’s line seasonally, offering more contemporary renditions of men’s classics, such as the trilby, with more variation in form and color.  Men’s lines will continue to be offered for certain seasons, such as a spring/summer and resort line.

The latest project at hand: preparation for the Goodman Theatre’s reprise of Regina Taylor’s Crowns, which debuted on June 30 in Chicago.  Multiple Chicago milliners partnered with costume designer Karen Perry to produce the garments for the show, a theatrical performance about African-American women and their church hats.  Headwear will also be exhibited at the theatre for sale, to showcase the talent of the participating milliners.

Gross describes the ability of a hat to be “evocative, empowering and transformative,” which mirrors the sentiment of many who indulge in headwear.  Stylish, well-crafted headwear instantaneously transforms the attitude of the wearer, making a powerful statement about the elevated element of polish.  “I love making people feel good about themselves,” says Gross when she describes her love for the art.

A well-respected Chicago milliner once stated: “A baseball cap is not a hat.”  There is no need to confuse the two and mute your creativity when such alluring options are available.

For more information on Tonya Gross Millinery:
To Shop: Tonya Gross Millinery
Contact:  773.988.0279

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