The Trend: Snakeskin slithered into the limelight as designers such as Prada, Gucci, and Christian Dior sent out all sorts of accessories with reptilian motifs.

Must-Have Item: Lambertson Truex Janey chartreuse snakeskin hobo ($3,995) at Neiman Marcus, 737 North Michigan Avenue.

Why We Love It: Impeccably designed and crafted, with origami-like details, this cheerful hobo adds verve to any wardrobe.

The New York designer John Truex, who makes up half the luxe accessories dream team Lambertson Truex, had a vision when creating this beautiful bag. “We all deserve to smile,” Truex says, “and a chartreuse snakeskin bag will definitely make you smile.”

He was inspired on a trip to Chicago, where he was blown away by Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Millenium Park. The sculpture made Truex think about the way it reflected the sky and the people around it—as you walk around the work, things appear and disappear, and shapes change.

“That’s kind of what you see in the hobo,” Truex says, adding that the bag’s slouchy shape, hidden pockets, and other fun details offer an element of surprise.

As for spring style, Truex takes a personal aproach. “My tip,” he says, “is a positive attitude.”





The Trend: From pajama-style tops to comfortable slip dresses and pants, loungewear as everyday wear rolled out of the bedroom and onto the runways at Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, and Giorgio Armani.

Must-Have Item: A Brochu Walker steel-gray viscose-and-cotton wrap cardigan ($495) with a sea-salt hammered-silk camisole ($175) at Jake, 939 North Rush Street and 565 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka.

Why We Love It: This is a gorgeous, comfy pairing of tops that you can wear out on the town Saturday night and around the house Sunday morning. What’s not to love?

The West Hollywood designers Lisa Brochu and Lauren Walker knew they had hit on the perfect formula when they launched their new label in 2007: a way to get the most out of key wardrobe pieces. “Our fabrics are beautiful, and the clothes are classic,” says Walker. “They’re not investment pieces because you’re not breaking the bank, but you don’t think of them as fads, either.”

Although the top-and-camisole set are simple in style, the designers added depth with color. “We played with color to make it dimensional,” Brochu says. The two pieces are meant to go together but can also be worn separately, opening up a range of styling possibilities.


Photography: (Trend Items) Jeff Harris




The Trend: Judging by the chic outfits that came down the spring runways at Marc Jacobs and Dries Van Noten, one thing is sure: This isn’t your grandmother’s brocade.

Must-Have Item: A Victor by Victor Alfaro cotton-blend brocade jacket ($186) at Carson Pirie Scott stores and

Why We Love It: Thanks to its elegant fabric and exquisite tailoring, this blazer has the same cachet as a couture item—only for a fraction of the price.

Victor Alfaro launched his stylish line with the Bon-Ton Stores in fall 2008 and was inspired by what real women want and wear. “I pay attention to what women are wearing on the street, at restaurants, at meetings,” Alfaro says. “The clothes are sexy and simple.”

For spring, Alfaro focused on feminine cuts, fabrics, and patterns, including floral brocade. He prides himself on incorporating unique prints to distinguish his designs. The prints set the tone of the collection,” he says.

Alfaro also offers some sage advice about perfecting a look: “Make it your own,” he says. “Be an individual.”


Photography: (Trend Items) Jeff Harris



The Trend: What was old—in this case, really old—was new again as collections from Andrew Gn, Sophia Kokosalaki, and Anna Sui offered up ancient Egyptian motifs to the fashion gods.

Must-Have Item: Vena Cava beaded collar dress ($870), available in black at Hejfina, 1529 North Milwaukee Avenue.

Why We Love It: This beautifully designed dress captures the trend without being over the top. It’s sure to be your go-to outfit for balmy summer evenings out.

Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock, the New York design team behind Vena Cava, looked back to the first wave of the Egyptology obsession in the late 1970s, when ancient motifs permeated music, movies, and graphic design. “It’s one-part sportswear, one-part fantastical pharaoh,” says Buhai. “We like to call it ‘celestial sportswear.’”

That mystique carries over into the design of the Vena Cava dress, which Buhai describes as “sphinxlike.” The beaded collar is detachable and can be worn by itself. And Buhai has another tip: “Kohl eyeliner,” she says, “is a nice, subtle touch.”


Photography: (Trend Items) Jeff Harris