by Beth Hammarlund
On Friday night, MNfashion Week kicked off with “Envision: Artopia,” a bi-annual runway show held at the Graves 601 Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Model/musician/dancer Tearra Rosario (aka OSO) emceed the event, and as usual, emanated serious positivity as she encouraged guests to participate in a silent art auction to benefit Free Arts Minnesota between the two runway shows.
The show opened with looks by local favorite Amanda Christine, who, along with fellow Envision designer Kimberly Jurek, had previously shown the featured collection at the Shows during MNfashion Week this spring. Both designers showed strong collections, particularly Amanda Christine, but it was a bit of a disappointment not to see anything new. MNfashion has managed the difficult task of adjusting their seasonal schedule to match that of the national and international design community, so the rest of this week’s shows are for Spring 2013. Though it may seem a bit disconnected, it makes sense from a retailer (if not from a designer) perspective to show clothes that are available to purchase now.
Local line deLange Designs showed some cute and wearable pieces. Unfortunately for the most part, the textiles looked cheap. The collection would have made a much stronger impact of some slightly higher quality fabrics had been used. Kayna Hobbs and Jenny Hessman showed a collection of mens and womenswear in subdued neutrals. Slightly ripped and moth-eaten, the textiles and design elements were reminiscent of the uniforms of a fashionable Hooverville. Although the collection wasn’t as successful as I wanted it to be, it had one of the strongest points of view. I would love to see what they could do next season with a little more experience and polish.
Khampian Vang showed two color block blouses, one of which was cream and soft yellow, and adorably paired with a fitted violet pencil skirt. A plaid shirtdress with brown leather details was right out of an Agatha Christie novel, the perfect outfit for a young wife whose older wealthy husband is mysteriously gunned down during a hunting weekend at their English country house.
In addition to showing collections by local designers, Envision also features boutique segments, a chance for local shops to get in on the runway game. Boutique runway presentations can be pretty hit or miss. Even if the individual outfits are strong, since they aren’t being pulled from a single collection, the presentations are often disjointed, if not altogether confusing. However, the Envision stylists know what they’re doing. Roe Wolfe’s segment was cohesive enough that one could have easily mistaken it for a specific designer’s collection, with a rustic ’40s vibe that was perfect for fall.
Drama, Local Motion, MartinPatrick3, Atmosfere, and Cliché were in on the game as well. Local Motion sent down a a black and goldenrod yellow dress with scalloped details that was both charming and unique. Martinpatrick3 and Atmosfere both showed a mix of sophisticated and intriguing pieces for men. As usual, Cliché closed the show, and though a few of their looks were fairly underwhelming (a plaid minidress and black leather vest looked more like an outfit from a junior collection at Target than one from one of Minneapolis’ most beloved boutiques), there were still some big winners. Their first look, a burnt orange skirt paired with a black flat ribbon macramé top was chic and unexpected, and the lushly painted floral crowns were a gorgeous and very of-the-moment addition. A little bit Virgin Mary, a little bit Lana del Rey.
In such a large show with so many looks and so little time for styling changes, hair and makeup will always be a challenge. This year, the turquoise eye makeup was stunning and on-trend, but combined with the bright red lips and the curled updos, it was a whole lot of look. It worked beautifully for some of the segments, but was almost comical when paired with the more casual runway looks.
All photos by Rhea Pappas for MNfashion