The four finalists, all in local area design programs – Lacey Corkery, Nora DelBusto, Arushi Kumar and Maia Leeb – presented their designs to an audience of Chicago’s fashion community and supporters at CFF’s first Annual Scholarship Benefit on March 5th.  Each of the finalists made the garments presented months earlier on their story boards, and models showcased these Chicago-inspired dresses while each of the finalists spoke about their designs to the panel of judges which included Susanna Homan, Executive Editor of Michigan Avenue Magazine, and renowned local designer, Orlando Espinoza.  The judges awarded first prize to Nora DelBusto who recently graduated in April of this year from the International Academy of Design. 

DelBusto’s design was a black satin dress and an ivory wool/cashmere mix coat with satin details in the bodice and cuffs.  She got her inspiration from two sources:  Chicago’s lovely cloud gate at Millennium Park designed by Anish Kapoor influenced the bubble dress silhouette and coat that were designed using soft curves rather than hard lines.  And, the bridges leading into the Loop influenced the quilting that DelBusto hand embroidered for the top of her dress and coat.

Nora isn’t new to catching the judges’ eye.  Both of the last two years she has submitted designs for a General Motors competition as part of the Chicago Auto Show where she has given her winning design to GM in return for a monetary award and gift certificate to help her with supplies at Chicago-area Leonard Adler.  And, this year I hear her neoprene evening wear caught the eye of a number of onlookers in the audience at the International Academy of Design’s annual fashion show showcasing student work.  When asked about her inspiration, Del Busto said “I wanted to do something relating to sportswear…. And the pieces are avant-gaurde.”  Del Busto is an avid runner, having finished the Boston Marathon, and wanted to take her interest in sportswear to explore using non-traditional fabrications.