Taking a walk in Brian Atwood’s shoes would have you traveling the world for inspiration, ocean-hopping between New York and Milan and — every once in a while — returning home to Chicago. That will be the case May 29, when the designer is honored at a luncheon for the Chicago History Museum’s Costume Collection, moderated by Splash’s Susanna Homan. Here, we talk to Atwood about style, celebrity and … sneakers.
What inspires your designs? When I start to create I listen to music; [I put] my headphones on and just sketch. I’m completely inspired by New York and the street and what people are wearing, but then also I travel so much — it’s hard not to find inspiration in these amazing places. So I never have a shortage of ideas.
Do you follow trends? Not really; I just go with my gut. Obviously you can’t ignore what’s going on, but I have yet to do a sneaker. [Right now, I’ll leave it] to people who do it and do it amazingly … but I’ll absolutely do a sneaker [eventually].
Your shoes have been worn by celebrities from Lady Gaga to Kate Hudson. Who else would you love to see in your designs? Kate Middleton hasn’t worn them yet, or Meghan [Markle]. Meghan would be a great choice to rock some BAs, for sure.
What does it mean to be honored in Chicago? I’m totally humbled by the whole experience. It’s always great to come back home; my family’s still there. I’ve always visited the [history museum’s] costume collection. I started in ready-to-wear, so it’s amazing to see these beautiful collections they’ve curated. When you think of amazing costume collections, you pretty much think of the Met or museums in Paris, but Chicago has such an outstanding collection of [pieces] from Dior, Charles James. … There were so many socialites and couture buyers who lived here and collected these garments from the designers, so it’s got quite a history.
For tickets to the luncheon ($175), visit Chicagohistory.org.