We caught up with Whitney Port to talk about her first-ever pop-up shop and what she loves about Chicago fashion.
Whitney Port has come a long way since her days on MTV’s The Hills and The City. The reality star turned designer launched her fashion line Whitney Eve in 2008. Since then, Port’s designs have seen success in e-commerce and on Fashion Week runways—and now she’s bringing her style to Chicago with a pop-up event at the Thompson Chicago. This Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Port will be there to greet fans as they shop her summer and fall 2014 collections. In anticipation of her Windy City debut, we chatted with the designer about the new line, her inspiration, and how Chicago fits into it all.
Tell us about your upcoming event here in Chicago. WHITNEY PORT: I’m having a pop-up shop at the Thompson Chicago. We’re basically taking over an event space there and bringing a bunch of different collections from my clothing line to show some last summer and spring pieces, as well as my new fall collection.
What inspired you to host your first pop-up event for Whitney Eve here? WP: Well, actually, my youngest sister lives in Chicago and she thought it would just be a really great idea. She knows that Whitney Eve would have a great "home" there, and so she brought up the idea and we thought it was really cool. We talked to the Thompson and thought [it] was a beautiful and sophisticated environment to have this type of event, and we thought it would just be something really fun to do.
What do you think is unique about Chicago style? WP: I think that Chicago style can be really casual but also have that mix of sophistication. I think that, obviously, you have to be really be good at layering, because the weather needs that. I feel like the art of layering [is something] Chicago girls really have excelled at.
Do you have any favorite layering pieces of your own? WP: Yes, I do. In my new fall collection, I have some really great jackets: some lighter-weight for the early fall, and some really heavy for the winter that are more fashion-forward. They’re interesting textures and knits and colors and prints, so people aren't wearing that typical black puffy down jacket all winter long.
Is there anything else from your newest collection that you think Chicago women specifically will love? WP: I think there are some great sexy tops and dresses that can girls can layer and accessorize. I know Chicago girls love their party tops and jeans. There will be some really great tops, but also some really great sweats and sweaters. So much about fall is about that that casual, sporty dressing, [and] in my collection there's so much of that.
What inspired this collection? WP: Well, my inspiration always varies. It can be anything from what my sisters and my friends are all wearing and what I want them to have in their wardrobes, to what I’m missing in my wardrobe, to anything from nature, travel, and street style that I see. So, my inspiration is kind of all over the place. For this particular collection, I have a great floral print that's kind of [an] icy floral. Everybody loves a good floral, but for fall you want to make it seasonal. [I] also [have] a great jewel print—a lot of fall is about these really rich jewel tones and conversation prints, and that’s something that I did in this collection. It’s also that dressed up/dressed down look—really great textures, and sweats and sweaters and jackets that you can either wear with jeans out during the day, or layer over a cute little dress and tights at night.
Do you have any tips for how to best wear prints? WP: I think the most important part of matching prints together is making sure the colors work. It’s not so much about the actual print, [but] more that the colors complement each other so they don't clash.
How has Whitney Eve evolved since you first launched the line? WP: It’s evolved a lot. When I first launched it, I was launching it with much more expensive pieces and luxe fabrics. Since then I’ve really tried to create a more boutique style, but at affordable pricing. The fashion that you see is unique and different and something that you'd find in boutiques, but also that you're not going to break the bank with.