With any stylish event, one question always floats around, “Who are you wearing?” When it comes to their new event – The Tease – Chicago House is happy to answer, “We’re wearing Ramsey Jay Prince!”
And this isn’t the first time. Chicago House has proudly showcased Prince’s fashion at their annual Spring Brunch and Fashion Show. His work has been featured in Style, Wedding Style and CS Magazines, and also at the Chicago Garden and Flower Show.
With his reputation for eye-popping color and dramatic fantasy, we can’t wait to see what he delivers for The Tease! Literally, we couldn’t wait… So we met with the dynamic designer at his boutique shop (3744 N Broadway) and got the nitty-gritty about Chicago House’s sexy new extravaganza.
Mar 1 | Shows at 7:30 & 10:30pm
Moonlight Studios 1446 W Kinzie St | $65 – $300
Tickets available online at www.ChicagoHouse.org
or by phone at 773-248-5200 x. 209.
Chicago House: This certainly isn’t your first design rodeo. How did you get started?
Prince: I’ve been working in the interior design and fashion industries for over 20 years. During the “Club Kid” scene of the 90s, I was making clothes and costumes for myself and friends. Most people tell me I should pick one – either fashion or interior design – but I love the creativity of each, and so far have been able to keep them both alive. What started as just a passion of mine has turned into a full-fledged career with my own retail store in Chicago.
Chicago House: How did you get involved with Chicago House?
Prince: I’ve attended many Chicago House events over the years, and it was the 2012 Spring Brunch and Fashion Show that made me think, “What a great place to show-off my own fashion!” I talked to Jeremy Hilborn (former Special Events Manager) about how I could participate, and before I knew it, I was working on a concept for the next Brunch and Fashion Show. The new concept was Alice in Wonderland.
Chicago House: Your boutique almost feels like being in Wonderland. Was the theme your idea?
Prince: When I got involved, Chicago House had already decided on the Wonderland theme. I had an idea to transition Alice from a male (named Alex) to the girl we know and love. The final show told the story of Alice becoming more and more masculine throughout the event. The Queen of Hearts was played by Angelique Munro, and she had some great scenes throughout the performance. I really had such a great time collaborating with the Brunch event producers, and of course, the costumes I got to design were amazing!
Chicago House: Being a brand new event, people are curious about the costumes. Can you give us the scoop?
Prince: Just like a good striptease, I don’t want to give away too much. What I can tell you is that our theme is loosely based on the seven deadly sins, with much more sex appeal. We worked really hard to carry a theme throughout, and not just have a string of performances. You’ll get a story along with amazing acts!
Chicago House: Not all of the seven deadly sins are so sexy… How are you tackling Sloth and Gluttony?
Prince: It wasn’t easy, but we found a way to create an intimate – and sexy – experience for each one. For those trying to remember them all, we have Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Sloth and Pride. Lust and envy pretty much write themselves. For Gluttony, we take you to 18th century France with a burlesque performance of Marie Antoinette and her famous cake.
Chicago House: Ooh la la! What can the crowd expect in terms of the costumes at The Tease?
Prince: Most of the guests will be familiar with the costumes of Cirque du Soleil, with skintight clothes and spray make-up. The Tease has elements of that but it doesn’t take itself as seriously. Think of it like the lovechild between Cirque and burlesque. The skill level of the acts will rival Cirque shows, but you’ll also feel the comedy of burlesque. If you’ve seen my costumes before (Check out some online), then you know I love feathers and sequins, all very Vegas showgirl. One of my signature skills is giving men a showgirl style, while keeping their masculinity intact.
Chicago House: The Tease features a lot of specialty acts like aerial juggling and gymnastics. Was it hard to design costumes for that type of performer?
Prince: It was a challenge at times, but we came up with some beautiful ways to creatively match costumes with the personality of each act. The hardest thing about this show is the amount of costumes I’ll create. In the end, I’ll be custom designing nearly 28 different pieces for The Tease.
Chicago House: Which costumes are you most excited to reveal at The Tease?
Prince: There are some amazing show-stopping outfits at The Tease, but I’m actually most excited for “Atmosphere Characters.” This handful of characters will be in full costume and roaming the off-stage areas, interacting with guests and connecting the crowd to what’s happening on stage. Their costumes are sexy and eye-catching, and they immerse the audience in the show.
Chicago House: Sounds like “All the world’s a stage,” at least at The Tease.
Prince: That’s right! You won’t get just a bunch of cool-yet-disconnected performances. At times, you’re going to feel like you’re part of the show. The whole event atmosphere is going to be fantastic, and unlike any event you’ve been to before.
Chicago House: What do you like best about working with Chicago House?
Prince: Chicago House has an amazing mission! I’ve always admired how they have evolved over the years to meet the needs of Chicago’s LGBTQ community. They also have a lot of “firsts” under their belt, from being the first organization in the Midwest to provide housing for people with HIV and AIDS, to opening the TransLife Center, the first comprehensive program offering holistic services to the transgender community. I’m proud to support such a great organization who has been serving Chicago for decades!
Chicago House: We can’t wait to see The Tease on March 1st! What else can you tell us about the show?
Prince: I’ve worked on many events like this, and attended even more, and I can tell you that The Tease will be one of the best produced shows you’ve ever seen!
We certainly hope so! Don’t miss Ramsey Jay Prince’s latest designs and fashion at The Tease! Tickets are still available at www.ChicagoHouse.org or by phone at 773-248-5200 x. 209.
About Ramsey Jay Prince Designs
Ramsey Jay Prince Designs offers a creative and innovative approach to your design needs. His work ranges from interior and furniture design to exquisite floral arrangements and couture fashions. Explore Prince’s online workshop to see samples of his creativity and purchase unique products.