Saturday, February 28, 2009

In review: Fashion Feud, round 1

Kerry Riley at her sewing machine at Fashion Feud

Two of Minneapolis' top independent fashion designers went head to head last week at the 7th Street Entry at First Avenue in the so-called
Fashion Feud, and it gave onlookers a rare glimpse into their world. Arts-supporting car company Scion (which also sponsors Project Runway presented the event, which will be continued over the next couple of months. (Check out for my preview on the event.)

Laura Fulk at Fashion Feud

Designers Kerry Riley of Red Shoe Clothing Co. and Laura Fulk are both Voltage alumni, and both are breaking out on their own this spring for the first time with solo shows during MNfashion Week. But that's where their similarities end.

Laura Fulk at Fashion Feud

True to their individual styles, both designers took a different approach to the challenge, which involved having an hour to make something out of a bag of random fabric immediately before the clock began ticking. Riley immediately began sewing, whereas Fulk started by draping her fabric around her model. It began clear quickly that Riley intended to create a simple wrap dress out of her peacock-printed fabric.

Kerry Riley and Laura Fulk at Fashion Feud

The end results weren't something you'd spend good money on, but to be fair, both got cheap-looking fabric neither would normally choose (Riley got a swatch of peacock-printed fabric and Fulk got a bunch of pink floral), and only one hour to put it all together. But by the time the bell rang, Fulk's look ended up appearing more quintessentially Fulk than Riley's final product did, which is probably why she was named the winner. It makes sense from what I know about both designers: Fulk is more organic in her design approach, while Riley is a precise, meticulous designer. An hour obviously isn't much time to conceptualize and execute a design, and it makes you appreciate what those Project Runway contestants go through.

Laura Fulk at Fashion Feud

Laura Fulk working on her design on model Maggie

Laura Fulk's finished winning design modeled by Maggie

All images by Lauren Gantner for The Minnesota Daily.

In review: Local style-makers do Fashion Week

I just got images back from local photographer Stephanie Colgan and local hair stylist Jen Hughes, both of whom participated in New York Fashion Week this past February.

Colgan, who shot for
The New York Times for the third year in a row, told me, "I thought Mara Hoffman and Sergio Davila had really remarkable shows. I shot the DKNY show for The Times and I really thought it was fantastic. Meticulously crafted and perfectly tailored." Colgan also shot Vena Cava for The Times.

Colgan's take: "Matthew Williamson was fun if a bit out there."

On this shot, Colgan says, "This is a fave of mine that was in a backstage slideshow on the New York Times website. It's backstage at DKNY."

On the above, Colgan says: "I always like Dennis Basso for furs, hats, shapes - that kind of thing."

In other news,  Jen Hughes - a Juut Master Stylist and Aveda Purefessional Educator - worked backstage on six shows this year, including Tommy Hilfiger, G Star, and Christian Siriano (of Project Runway fame). Her favorite, unsurprisingly, was Siriano's. For more on the show, check out my write-up in last week's issue of

Images from backstage at the Christian Siriano show:

Hughes, left, with Siriano

Hughes working it backstage; Siriano peeking over her shoulder

Siriano's fringe bangs

The show also featured a preview of Siriano's shoe and handbag collection for Payless, due to hit stores in Fall 2009. (Can't wait! They look hot.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Art-A-Whirl ad image preview

I was lucky enough to be invited by my friends at l'etoile magazine and Digital Crush Photography to be included - along with a venerable who's who in Minneapolis art, fashion, and eccentrics - in l'etoile's promotional photo shoot for the annual Art-A-Whirl this coming May. While the finale image is yet to be revealed, le'toile's What's What editor and Digital Crush proprietress Kate Iverson sent me a preview of some of the images taken that night at the studio of artists Eric Inkala, Drew Peterson and Isaac Arvold. Art-A-Whirl 2009 is set for May 15-17 to happen at various locations in Northeast Minneapolis. See the final image (not pictured here) in l'etoile's ad in the Art-A-Whirl 2009 catalog and artist directory, coming soon.

Photo Credits:
Photography: Stephen Stephens for l'etoile
Art Direction: Kate Iverson
Production Assistant: Angie Hanson
Make Up: Beth Hammarlund
Hair: Jennifer Cortez
Art: Isaac Arvold, Eric Inkala, Drew Peterson
Anthem Heart (except t-shirt on Jahna by Matt Locher of Solid Gold and high-waisted suspender pants by Red Shoe Clothing Co.)
Models: Fashion writer/stylist Jahna Peloquin, visual artist Scott Seekins, jewelry designer/art patron
Robyne Robinson, visual artist Drew Peterson, visual artist Isaac Arvold, l'etoile contributor Natalya Kolpashchikova, photographer/l'etoile writer/graphic designer Robyn Lewis, opera singer Alina Lindquist, visual artist Nicholas Hennig, dancer Steven Moses.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Project Runway" at Fashion Week

Heidi Klum (in Matthew Williamson) and Tim Gunn; photo courtesy of WireImage

So, it's finally happened - Project Runway's Season Six finale was taped this past Friday and the three finalists' collections were shown. Being that the contestants have not yet been announced, the finalists stayed backstage, but it's safe to say there weren't any decoy collections. In other news: influential fashion editor Suzy Menkes sat in as the guest judge.

Season Four winner Christian Siriano afterward told
Variety, "I don't think it blew me away at all," he said. "But I think it was really strong and consistent. I don't think there was, like, a BAD collection - where last season, there was some rough ones." Most seemed to agree that the third collection was the strongest. See for yourselves:

My Top 3 from Collection #1:

All images courtesy of WireImage

This was probably the weakest collection, but saying that makes it much better than just about any of the third-place winners from previous seasons. They've incorporated knits, pants, asymmetry, draping, and fabrics - it's all very wearable with a slight quirkiness. On the other hand, there isn't much of a point of view. View the full collection here.

My Top 3 from Collection #2:

All images courtesy of WireImage
It was a bit harder to pick just three looks from this collection. This was the most whimsical of the three collections, the most celebratory of the female form, and featured the best use of color. Having said this, it was still a bit uneven and lacked focus, and a couple of looks were shockingly bland. It's hard to say if that will cost it the win, but I have a feeling that this is the designer I will be cheering for throughout the show (if I can guess who he or she is). View the full collection here.

My Top 3 from Collection #3:

All images courtesy of WireImage

This is the collection that was reported to have received the best audience response and the strongest reviews. And it deserved them: It has the strongest point of view of all the collections, features the best use of knits, and has a focus on wearable separates with an edge. Its designer could be a future Rick Owens. At the same time, I didn't love it, and I feel that it's a bit derivative of Owens and Alexander Wang. View the full collection here.

Time will only tell which designers have created these collections. Though it's difficult to be as excited about the collections as I have with past Project Runway seasons, the designers are clearly among the best group ever featured on the show. It's sure to be a competitive season. At least we can hold onto hope that it eventually will air - in a recent interview with New York Magazine, Tim Gunn (despite being as confused and frustrated as we are) confirmed as much.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

U of M Senior Fashion Show Preview

A look by Stacy Wenzell / Image by Erin Johnson
The phrase "student designer" has long brought to mind connotations of shoddy handiwork and designs that are unflattering, unwearable, or at best, unoriginal. But from the looks of the preview images by the University of Minnesota's current roster of graduating senior design apparel students, the bar is finally being raised to a near-Parsons level.

For one, three of the 12 participating designers - Luci Kandler and Ashley Wokasch (both of
Calpurnia Peach) and Brianne Jones (of Belle) - have already created collections that have graced the runway of the annual Voltage: Fashion Amplified, whereas most student designers have never created a collection prior to their senior show. (Calpurnia Peach will be also showing their spring line at Voltage 2009.)

The preview images above and below, shot by local photographer
Erin Johnson, hint that the show's as-yet-unknown designers appear to also have some talent hidden up their sleeves. Stacey Wenzell's whimsical gold sculptural dress seems to take inspiration from both couture master John Galliano and Alice in Wonderland.

Check out my preview of the show in this week's issue of and check back for a review on the show in this Le Petit early next week.

Exposed: 41st Annual U of M Clothing Design Senior Fashion Show
Saturday, February 21
Showtimes: 5:30 p.m. & 8 p.m. Reception: 6:45 p.m.
Rapson Hall at the University of Minnesota
89 Church St. SE., Mpls.
$15-50. All ages.

A look by Errin Sorlie / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Lauren Koehne / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Laura Musekamp / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Elyse Olson / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Ashley Wokasch (Calpurnia Peach) / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Ashley Borgos / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Stacy Wenzell / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Brianne Jones (Belle) / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Luci Kandler (Calpurnia Peach) / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Taylor Stilp / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Tessa Druley / Image by Erin Johnson

A look by Anna Sandberg / Image by Erin Johnson

LOVE Magazine launches today

Beth Ditto on the debut cover of LOVE

The hotly-anticipated fashion magazine style darling (and former editor of Pop Magazine) Katie Grand by launches today with a nude Beth Ditto on the cover. If the cover - or the promotional image featuring Agyness Deyn in Lanvin SS 2009 - is any indication, it'll be a solid magazine with regularly inspiring fashion spreads. The issue was premiered this past weekend, and it was more akin to an encyclopedia-size tome than magazine - which makes sense as it will be released only bi-annually.

Check out some preview images below, courtesy Hapsical London Fashion Blog:

Agyness Deyn as "The Queen" in Lanvin from LOVE

Jerry Hall in LOVE

Adriana Lima as Amy Winehouse in Roberto Cavalli in LOVE

Lara Stone in LOVE

Iggy Pop in LOVE

Vivienne Westwood in LOVE