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updated: 1/20/2011 10:18 PM

West Dundee dressmaker offers Bears, Packers wedding gowns

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  • Elgin model Tali Ilani, in a Bears wedding gown at Complete Bridal Salon in East Dundee, fends off a challenge to her pedestal from Elgin model Nicki Loizzi, in the Packers gown. Salon owner David Gaffke designed both satin frocks, which the ladies are modeling Sunday at the NFC Championship between the Bears and the Packers at Soldier Field. The model wearing the gown of the winning team will travel to Dallas for the Super Bowl.

      Elgin model Tali Ilani, in a Bears wedding gown at Complete Bridal Salon in East Dundee, fends off a challenge to her pedestal from Elgin model Nicki Loizzi, in the Packers gown. Salon owner David Gaffke designed both satin frocks, which the ladies are modeling Sunday at the NFC Championship between the Bears and the Packers at Soldier Field. The model wearing the gown of the winning team will travel to Dallas for the Super Bowl.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

 
 

Would you prefer something borrowed in Bears blue, or something lean and mean, in Packers yellow, white and green?

Bears/Packers fever has swept the region and hit the Complete Bridal Salon in East Dundee particularly hard.

Sunday's game inspired owner David Gaffke to design a Green Bay Packers wedding gown to rival the Bears frock he created four years ago when the Monsters of the Midway made it to Super Bowl XLI.

"Whether you're a Packers fan or not, the gown is gorgeous," said Gaffke, a West Dundee resident. Then, proving that the historic rivalry has reached the fashion industry, he added, "The Bears gown is much prettier."

Both satin gowns are going on the road this weekend with a pair of Elgin models and will find their way to the Bears-Packers game at Soldier Field.

Nicki Loizzi, 21, will don the Packers gown while Tali Ilani, 15, will represent Bear Country in the blue and orange dress. They, along with Gaffke and his staff, will promote the gowns during a meet-and-greet at the stadium and pose for pictures with tailgating fans. The models will stay warm with boots, blankets, opera gloves and three layers of long underwear.

"I'm so excited, I can't wait. It's going to be so fun," Ilani said.

The model wearing the dress of the team that clinches the NFC title on Sunday packs her bags for the Super Bowl in Dallas to further promote the gown with Gaffke and his staff.

"Go Bears," Ilani said, doing a little fist pump.

Who knows, maybe stadium security will let the model into the game on the strength of the Bears gown. At the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami, Gaffke and the model wearing the Bears gown got into the game, he said. The $1,500 dress -- featuring 30 orange Swarovski crystals -- received national publicity.

The prospect of attending the Super Bowl has got Loizzi, a Bears fan, rooting against her home team.

"I would love to go to the Super Bowl, so hopefully the Packers win," she said.

Gaffke, meanwhile, hopes the rivalry is profitable.

In the years since creating the Bears dress, Gaffke says he has sold three -- two went to Chicago and Joliet brides, respectively, while a Plainfield teenager chose one to be her prom dress. Gaffke has created similar dresses representing the Cubs, Sox, Bulls and last year, the Blackhawks.

"It was the only way that I could give back or show I was a fan," said Gaffke, who has been in the wedding industry for 21 years and owned his shop for five years. "It's a way I can show everybody I can make a difference."

The $1,200 satin Packers dress made its debut Tuesday. Loizzi said the frock is very comfortable and "really fit like a glove."

Gaffke predicts it will be a huge hit.

"We do have a lot of Packers fans -- I mean, we're only 35 minutes from the border," he said. "We really think it's going to be hot right now because the Packers and Bears playing is considered the junior Super Bowl."

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