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Millie Bautista and Chances R, via <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DanielGagnonPhoto/photos_stream">Daniel Gagnon</a>/Courtesy of StyleWeek
Millie Bautista and Chances R, via Daniel Gagnon/Courtesy of StyleWeek

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StyleWeek Northeastthe twice annual regional fashion week in Providence—just capped off its Fall/Winter 2013 festivities on Saturday night. We had a chance to take in the shows on Friday, and were pleased to find such a polished presentation from the runway itself to the accessories marketplace. Designers Millie Bautista and Toni Lyn Spaziano of Chances R caught our attention with impeccable separates and dresses that go from boardroom to bar room. Both collections had a New York sensibility to them, though each designer interpreted that vibe differently. While Millie Bautista was clean and structured, Chances R was simultaneously edgy and ultra feminine.


Millie Bautista looks, via Daniel Gagnon/Courtesy of StyleWeek

The standout pieces in Millie Bautista's ten look show included variations of trousers (two showing a striking croc-embossed leather ankle cuff), black and chocolate colored A-line leather skirts, and a two-tone coat with a cape collar and boxy fit. Models donned a red lip, deep side part, and long tousled curls. Camel played a role in the collection as well as the crisp white button-down shirt. The clothing was fresh and would fit right into a city sidewalk.


Chances R looks, via Daniel Gagnon/Courtesy of StyleWeek

Chances R featured multiple tweeds, leather galore, and sultry details (lace, contrast cuff and collars, feathers) to elevate tailored silhouettes. Spaziano's models walked down the runway with feather lashes and windswept chignons, channeling a modern Audrey Hepburn in blush, black, and white tones. We were able to catch up with the designer herself backstage about this new collection and how StyleWeek affects the bottom line of local talent.

Tell us about the name Chances R and the boy who inspired it.
About six years ago I was watching Little People, Big World, and I saw this angel sitting on a bed. I had to know this person. I ended up meeting him and becoming friends with his adopted parents. He has such tenacity, such a wonderful person. This kid was not walking, talking, nothing, when I met him. He was left at birth at a hospice the first few years of his life. And I've had some learning disabilities in my life, obstacles that I've had to overcome. Seeing this kid made me go "I want to do something to help children." And he encouraged me to follow my own dreams.

I had an operation a few years ago and had a lot of downtime. I had kind of gone off into all different paths, and because of my dyslexia, I thought I never could be able to do this. I had the raw talent and ideas and seeing Chance overcome his obstacles made me realize I could do it too. So I named it Chances R. Part of the proceeds go to people in need.

What was your background—were you self taught?
I took classes at Rhode Island School of Design my whole life. My mom is an artist, she went to RISD. I always had an artistic background. I had taken fashion merchandising, fashion illustration and design, and then I went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, but again, my dyslexia made it hard. I always go to the RISD fashion shows, and one time, I ended up crying so my husband asked "What's wrong?" I said, "I can't believe I let this pass me by, it's too late for me." But it wasn't.

How has StyleWeek affected your business?
It's an unbelievable platform. How else are we going to show our stuff? I am honored, I am grateful, everything. It's just amazing. For most of these designers, it would not happen without StyleWeek.

What was the inspiration for your collection tonight?
Past collections have been that Mad Men, 60s look. I still keep to that. I love Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, but this season I brought a little more edge to it. There is leather, lace, and I love feathers. It's been a labor of love working with leather: buying it, working with it. This collection is basically Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn having a love child. I like using really good materials, tweed especially. At the end of the day women want something tailored.

Who is the Chances R woman?
I think she is a powerful businesswoman who wants to look chic and feminine but when she goes out, likes to rock out a little bit.

What do you hope 2013 brings for you?
I definitely hope to continue helping children in need. What I really want to do is a specialty line for little people, even if it's custom.

Now that is a market which could use the Chances R touch. Here's hoping Spaziano's dream comes true.
· StyleWeek Northeast Kicks Off [Racked Boston]
· Chances R Designs [Official Site]
· Millie Bautista [Official Site]