Best Clothing Designer: Abigail Glaum-Lathbury Credit: Lara Kastner

The Reader’s Choice: Abigail Glaum-Lathbury

To paraphrase Meryl Streep at the SAG awards, there is no such thing as the best designer—I could have easily chosen any one of four or five local designers here. But Abigail Glaum-Lathbury’s combo of creativity, technical skill, and a professionalism unusual for her relatively young age finally put her at the top of my list. I still remember her final project for the School of the Art Institute a few years ago—a dress made out of pink latex molds of tripe. It’s a testament to her talent that something that sounds so disgusting had such an undeniable, alien beauty.

Glaum-Lathbury still gets obsessed by odd things: one collection was all about the shape of an insect’s body, which, butterfly-like, underwent a wonderful metamorphosis on the way from her mind to the hanger. But she never lets her concept get in the way of her execution. Characterized by painstakingly tailored yet romantic flourishes like folds, pintucks, and pleats, her work showcases her sharp sense of the properties of different fabrics as well as an awareness of what flatters the body. Her clothes are vintagey yet futuristic, both pretty and thought provoking—truly the best of all worlds. —Heather Kenny

Credit: Lara Kastner

&Our readers’ choice: Anna Hovet