BELOIT -Christine Adar, a big-hearted and charitable fashion designer, might be one of Beloit's best kept secrets.
She loves to use vintage fabrics to create the latest luxurious looks which typically sell for thousands of dollars. When she's not hand-painting tulle found in the best fabric houses of Paris or brainstorming her newest take on vintage glamour, she's traveling around with 10 brand models in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas, or escorting them down the runway at Phoenix Fashion week. She employs seamstress and assistant Victoria Dior Shivron out of Mukwonago.
What Adar's fans might not realize is how the breathtaking looks begin in a studio tucked away in a historic house in Beloit. Adar said she's opted to stay close to her hometown not only because it's too expensive to run her business in Illinois, but because it's close to family, which has always been a priority for her.
Despite her low profile, the designer agreed to an interview to share a little bit about her storied career and Beloit's influence on it. A 1991 Turner High School graduate, Adar is the daughter of Belle Zyla of Beloit and James Zyla of East Troy. Although known in the fashion world by her first and middle name Christine Adar, her full name is Christine Adar Ammon.
She was born and grew up on a horse farm in Beloit before she started creating glamorous gowns and raising funds for charity. With her mom breeding horses, she was used to hard work such as baling hay or shoveling out a pen.
Her work ethic paid off. Today she's able to use her talents to make women feel ready for the red carpet as well as to support charity events through fashion shows.
Most recently, Adar designed a dress to be auctioned off at the Amanda Hope Angels Gala In Scottsdale, Arizona, this fall. The proceeds will go toward Amanda Hope Angels, an organization with the mission of bringing dignity and comfort to those suffering from childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, according to its website at https://www.amandahope.org.
Adar designed the dress after a mother reached out to her for help.
Mom Nichole Gavranovic of Scottsdale, Arizona, said she and her daughter Eva Gavranovic, now 8, were friends of Bridgette Korn who had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her leg at age 7. Although Bridgette is in remission now at 8-years-old, she lost the bottom part of her leg due to cancer.
Eva and her mother wanted to help Bridgette and brainstormed fundraisers such as a lemonade stand or a GoFundMe site. Eva, who was sketching a "unicorn" dress with rainbow colors, asked if she and her mother could make a dress for Bridgette and sell it to raise money. After Eva read a section in a magazine about Phoenix Fashion Week ,she pointed to one of the dresses and asked if the designer could make the unicorn dress. The mother contacted Adar who didn't hesitate to help.
Although Adar typically doesn't design children's wear, she said she will do most anything for charity. A child asking for help was compelling for Adar, who said it's important not to stifle children's dreams.
"If a child has a dream, you try to make it come true," Adar said. "I couldn't say 'no.' I wanted to let her know she could contact a famous designer and see something come of it."
The dress was finished this spring and has already been placed in a fashion show prior to the fall auction.
It wasn't the first time Adar tried to help those in need, as she's routinely helped with benefit fashion shows. In March, when a makeup artist with a daughter was seriously injured by a drunk driver, Adar sprung to action to help with a charity event for her. She also helped with a fashion show to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation in 2015, and from 2015-2017 she's joined with other designers at Milwaukee Fashion Week to raise funds for various charities.
Although her dresses continue to grace the catwalk and her brand continues to grow, she never forgets where she came from.
She said she got her start in fashion by watching her grandmother who was a seamstress. She warmly recalled her grandmother sewing clothes for her and her favorite doll.
Adar's eventual path toward her dreams would be a bit winding. She sewed a little in high school and college for herself but she didn't act on her plans right away. She graduated with her first degree in business and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1996 before embarking on a career in the finance industry.
During a life-changing experience working at Beloit Regional Hospice for three years, she learned the value of living life to the fullest. She decided to more passionately pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer and went on to attend the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago.
During school she fell in love with draping and working with high-end fabrics to make evening gowns. She began designing under her own label, and was asked to participate in an Italian Study Tour for part of a summer at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano in Milan, Italy, in 2005. At the end of her degree she interned under London designer Jean-Pierre Braganza and participated in London Fashion Week.
She received her second bachelor's degree with honors in fashion design in 2007.
After graduation she moved slowly and steadily toward her dreams. She designed and showed a few pieces while managing an Associated Bank branch in Lake Geneva.
She became a full-time fashion designer around six years ago, doing mostly customized dresses for clients after they spot one of her designs on the runway.
These days Adar can be found watching old movies for inspiration or scouring the Internet for models to cast. She continues to be drawn to vintage collections and likes obtaining one-of-a-kind materials when fabric houses in Europe close.
Adar is working on her next line of 15-20 looks to be shown at Phoenix Fashion Week, Oct. 3-5. Her next collection is inspired by a trip to Barcelona, Spain. The collection is dedicated to her boyfriend Dr. Matthew Suberati, who passed away in the fall of 2018.
She invites people to 'follow' Christine Adar on Facebook and Instagram or see her work by visiting www.christineadar.com.