Mario, Make Me a Model Event

On Thursday Aug. 10, Mario Tricoci Hair Salons and Day Spas will hold their 9th Annual “Destination Runway” show, the culmination of the 9-week “Mario, Make Me a Model” training program. Executed in three phases, the program provides aspiring models with photo shoots, TV appearances and the training needed to launch a career in modeling.

Phase one is an open model call, phase two is a training, and phase three culminates with “Destination Runway,” the show featuring the modeling event’s five finalists wearing five emerging Chicago designers.

Amy Olson (left above) and Lisa Marie McComb, stylists of the runway show, discussed their collaboration and the upcoming event with me.

Is this the first project that you are working on together?

Amy Olson: We have been working together for about 18 years in so many capacities, it’s hard to count the number of projects! We both started our careers in fashion at about the same time. I was working in fashion show production in my first job, and Lisa Marie was a model at the time. My former bosses and I would hire Lisa Marie as the go-to model in Chicago. We have been in synch, career-wise, for a long time. We both have the same work ethic, ever since I have known Lisa Marie either as a model or in show production and styling. I think Chicago brings out a certain work ethic amongst us, and when people click work-wise, you just know it.  With ‘Mario, Make Me a Model,’ I have worked with Lisa Marie on it for the past four years. Each year, our goal is to elevate the production level.

How did you go about choosing the fashion designers for this project? 

Olson: We look for the best emerging and established designers in the city year after year for this show. This season, we landed on five designers who continually elevate their brand. The designers this year are Azzeza, Suki and Solaine, Misanthrope, Gidi and Swaby. The final designer pick is really a collaboration between the partners of the show and especially Megan Bueschel, Mario Tricoci’s chief marketing officer. We look for a mix of designers and try to land on a combination that each is highlighted in their own way for their individual uniqueness and brand identity. 

Tell us a little bit about what each designer adds to the show and what we will see.

Olson: The best part for me when working on this show is when we are able to meet with the designer in their showrooms. We are able to see their vision and let the designer themselves describe the looks. You feel a heightened level of responsibility when you are handed off the collection by the designer, as we want to show the collection in the best light possible. Hair and make-up completes the look, so nothing is left for chance. We think about everything from head to toe.  

Swaby’s attention to detail is amazing, the fit and draping of the collection is phenomenal, she’s a true artist.  Every piece is museum quality with her attention to detail.

Gidi designs will stand the test of time as Taneasha designs classic and timeless pieces. Her collection should be a staple in everyone’s closet. 

Misanthrope creates a collection of intrigue by his cuts and lengths of his pieces. The draping and cut of his collection is intentional and well thought out. I love everything about the designer and his sense of style.  

I love Suki + Solaine’s prints and patterns, they are modern and clean. The color palette and prints are perfectly subtle and well chosen.

Azzeza is a runway producer’s dream. The bold color, fabric choices and sequins are incredible on or off the runway.  

Can you share with us the vision for Mario Tricocci and this project?

Lisa Marie McComb: This show supports local talent in every way it can…production team, event team, designers, local business, professional models from Factor/Chosen, and of course the five finalists…the stars of the night! I think the vision is to provide a showcase for how much local talent there is in Chicago.  

What trends will we see in the fall? 

McComb: Fall is my favorite season for clothes! When I attended the fall shows in Paris, there was a lot of political and social commentary…T-shirts and embellishments making bold statements. Combat and over-the-knee boots paired with soft feminine, lush fabrics. Embroidered and embellished fabrics, plaids (a fall must-have), metallic accessories as nuetrals, feathers and fringe details (my personal favorite), lots of navy blue….and that pop of red!  

The “Destination Runway” show is Thursday, Aug. 10 at The Geraghty, 2520 S. Hoyne Ave. For tickets, visit To learn more about Amy Olson, check out, and Lisa Marie McComb, visit

(Photo of Amy Olson, left, courtesy of Matt Ferguson Photography)

Eva Marie is a daughter of a hair stylist who from an early age was obsessed with fashion, colors and rubbing sample parfume scents from magazines all over her body. She is on the hunt to find the best...