Over a decade ago, Skip Grisham joined Mr. Driehaus in his vision and interest in promoting emerging fashion designers in Chicago. They both saw firsthand the many challenges facing new designers as they launched their careers in fashion. With his entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to philanthropy and providing opportunities for innovative and talented Chicago designers, Mr. Driehaus developed The Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence. The Fashion Awards provide a platform for emerging designers to showcase their design perspectives and to recognize them for their accomplishments in design.
As Artistic Director of the Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence, Mr. Grisham is responsible for selecting the extraordinary talent from each of the participating fashion & design programs. Mr. Grisham couldn’t be happier with the success of the program and the wonderful opportunity the competition provides to such worthy, hardworking students.
Mr. Grisham’s entrée into the fashion world began on the runway, where he started as a model. Through his firsthand experience with clothing, designers and production teams, it only took him a short time to realize his interest in fashion show production. He transitioned to a behind the scenes production role, which today remains his passion. The staging of his first fashion show for Bonwit Teller sparked a very exciting career. For over thirty years, he has successfully produced and directed many of the largest and longest running, continuous fashion events in the country. He has produced shows for Givenchy, Diane Von Furstenberg, Cerruti, Tommy Hilfiger, Dennis Basso, and Bill Blass, to name a few. In addition to runway production, Mr. Grisham has vast experience in staging fashion scenes for several major retailers in Chicago including Gucci, Marshall Field’s, Prada, Nordstrom, Max Mara, and Chanel. In his downtime, he is a highly skilled painter.
Year after year, Tracey and her team at ZZAZZ Productions have been combining the best in staging, lighting concepts, hair motifs, make-up details, model casting and music selections to create a high energy fashion concept for The Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence. As Fashion Show Producer, Ms. Tarantino and her team provide the student designers with a cohesive platform for competition that rivals the runways of New York, Milan, Tokyo, and beyond.
Reflecting upon her years of experience with The Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence, Ms. Tarantino notes “The students have displayed all avenues of design with great style. Over the years, my team and I have faced challenges that are exclusive to this fashion competition; from stilt walker models, rolling bustles in which models had to be manually lifted onto stage, along with maneuvering intricate feather and bone pieces of a massive cape that had to be attached perfectly to the torso and neck of a model just prior to her catwalk.” She has seen and conquered all.
ZZAZZ is proud to be part of the process of introducing the next generation of Chicago’s fashion designers to the runway. ZZAZZ salutes Mr. and Mrs. Driehaus and the Driehaus Design Initiative team for their continued support of student designers and the fashion industry in Chicago.