CityCenter 735 Celebrates Centennial in Style
100-year-old downtown building will host a vintage fashion show also featuring food, music and dancing.
The year was 1914. The corsets were loosening, hair was being bobbed, hemlines were dangerously dangling at ankle-length, and America was on the cusp of war. Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s burgeoning skyline would that year add a new 16-floor skyscraper, the First National Bank building, built by the by D.H. Burnham and Company of Chicago, led by famed architect Daniel Burnham. The First National Bank building soon became the hottest ticket in town, drawing 10,000 visitors on its opening day.
Today the building at 735 N. Water St. is called CityCenter 735 and it will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., playing host to a night of music, dancing, feasting, and fashion as part of the “Celebrate a Century of CityCenter” celebration.
At dusk partygoers will be treated to the Century of CityCenter Vintage Fashion Show, featuring 100 years of swagger & style in looks from the 1920s through the 1990s. “The idea was to showcase looks you would have seen in Milwaukee over the past 100 years,” says fashion show stylist and organizer Michelle Eigenberger.
Michelle, owner of traveling and online vintage pop-up shop Bolted Vintage is just one of the Milwaukee’s four vintage fashion heroines commissioned to create the event. The show’s creator Sheila Teruty of So Passé Vintage along with Amanda Mills of Sunshine Acid Designs and Maggie Solveson of BrownCowVintage worked tirelessly to build the event from the ground up.
The show is an effort by the women to showcase their vintage shops and lines, collaborate with friends, and tell the fashion history of Milwaukee — a lot to accomplish in a city that hasn’t always had the best reputation for vintage style and fashion.
“I think vintage in Milwaukee has been portrayed very cynically in the past. They believe Milwaukee is not a place for fashion,” said Teruty, “Those people just don’t know where to look; and you don’t have to look very far. It’s not just from us, go and look at an antique store.”
All four women have worked with their vintage lines to make fashion choices from the past much easier and more accessible for Milwaukeeans. Mills and Teruty founded Cocoon Room at 820 E. Locust St. in 2012, a Riverwest vintage clothier and art venue, all four of the women’s vintage lines can be found there. And a Bolted Vintage pop-up shop can be found at the East Side Green Market every Saturday this summer.
For Teruty, her passion for vintage started at a young age. “I went shopping a lot with my mom in little antique stores, so I think she really instilled that in me. I collected a lot of skeleton keys, mostly just little knick-knacks. I loved wondering where it all came from.”
Music for the fashion show will be performed by Sirius Booty which both Teruty and Eigenberger describe as “specializing in ‘70s through ‘90s music,” but will dive into earlier music from the ‘20s through ‘60s to accommodate the show’s aesthetic. Dress code for the event invites patrons to wear outfits inspired by their favorite fashion decade. But Eigenberger says partygoers should wear what they feel comfortable in.
“I just hope everybody has fun, I hope the passion we have for vintage comes through in the show, and I hope people see the excitement and joy we had making it,” Eigenberger says.
Besides the fashion show, four different live music stages will be performing throughout the night, including the reintroduction of Jazz Alley or Front St., the small area best known for its old time jazz performances. There will also be multiple dance floors, custom-crafted cocktails, and multiple restaurants and food trucks serving dishes inspired by the past 100 years. Admission is free. Proceeds from the event will go to the Cathedral Center.