Thursday, January 29, 2009 + L'etoile What's What for 1.29.09-2.4.09

Check my writing out in this week's issue of

Bebe Zahara Benet of RuPaul's "Drag Race"

Fashion: Designer sunglasses at glasseswebb + "Project Runway Canada" Season 2
Art: Peepshow: A sexy benefit + "We Know What We Did Last Summer"

Poster art by Burlesque of North America for MGMT is available Thursdays, free on newstands and online at

Want to hear about more fun things to do this weekend? Check out L'etoile Magazine's Weekly What's What blog, which regularly features excerpts from Le Petit Connasseur. This week's blog for 1/29-2/1 which spotlights new monthly dance night BOMP!, the Weisman's preview party, and more.

Designer + vintage sunglasses at glasseswebb

A vintage style from the Genesis Project by Alpina, $599

Everyone loves a great pair of sunglasses. But instead of reaching for those tried-and-true Chanel or Marc Jacobs frames, or a generic pair of vintage shades, go for something a little more special at locally-owned sunglasses shop,

Husband-and-wife owners Tim and Mo Webb specialize in collecting rare vintage sunglasses from, say, '70s-era Europe, as well as high-end, lesser-known designers. Their hand-picked selections include styles from Italian lines Vogart and Laura Biagiotti, mod styles by Bollé, and vintage handmade frames by the German "Genesis Project" line by Alpina.

So the question is, why buy any old sunglasses when you can make a statement in styles like these? If you have the money that is - these unbelievably gorgeous styles don't come cheap (styles range from $179-799).

A style by Laura Biagiotti, $499

A style by Kieselstein-Cord Christina, $799

A style by Vogart, $279

Read more on glasseswebb online today in my write-up for

LA artist Chase makes Mpls appearance at W

A mural by Chase in Venice Beach
Tonight I went to check out the AIGA Minnesota benefit for Art Buddies at W Minneapolis featuring L.A.-based artist Chase. I was previously unaware of the Belgian-born Chase, whose colorful, inspirational graffiti-inspired work spans street art, paintings, and graphic and fashion design. He's been commissioned by clients such as Puma, Levi's, Scion, and Palmer sneakers; his clothing has been worned by Gwen Stefani and Mos Def; and he was named by Italian Vogue as one of their favorite street artists in the world. However, most memorable pieces are spray-painted murals of childlike creatures next to the phrase "Remember who you are."

For the event, Chase appeared in the flesh and discussed his work and his passion for bringing joy into others' lives. He spoke about how working with kids earlier that day on a mural, as well as his work with the homeless. Chase ended the presentation by creating a painting live, which was subsequently entered into the silent auction.

Sneakers designed by Chase for Palmer

A mural by Chase in Hollywood

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Preview: Cliche's spring fashion show

Sketch by Maritza Ramirez with graphic design by Anthem Heart

Local boutique Cliché is the hippest shop in town, so of course their bi-annual fashion shows are always can't-miss events. Their most recent show last June launched a handful of some of the city's most promising local designers, including Maritza Ramirez, Emily Weich, Jenny Carle Designs, Renate Adjei, Arwyn Birch, and Ivan Idland, alongside the shop's more established favorites - Red Shoe Clothing Co., Amanda Christine Designs, Anthem Heart, and kjurek couture.

Thursday night's "Avoid the Grey" show at Old Arizona includes 14 such designers' spring 2009 collections, as well as collections by 11 of the shop's accessories designers. I'm most excited to see the collaboration between clothing designer Maritza Ramirez and graphic designers Anthem Heart. Here's a preview of the designs you'll be seeing if you're lucky enough to already have a ticket. (The show's already sold out.) Be sure to have a notepad handy - the designs will be in store Friday morning.

White floral silk georgette wrap dress with double flounce and gathered waist by Amanda Christine

Blue and red dress by Renate Adjei

Sweetheart dress by Jenny Carle Designs

Green knit dress by Arwyn Birch

Pink satin skirt by Emily Weich

Monday, January 26, 2009

Project Runway Season Six to shoot at Fashion Week

Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman, photographed by Eliesa Johnson for METRO Magazine

Despite the ongoing legal battle for the show's broadcasting rights, New York Magazine fashion blog The Cut is reporting that Project Runway Season Six is scheduled to shoot Feb. 20 at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. According to Tim Gunn:

"I'm making my home visits to the finalists starting on Sunday (Jan. 11)," Gunn says. "It's an incredible season. It really is. And I just want people to see it. And I want the designers on the show to get the exposure."

Former Minneapolis resident and Voltage alum Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman is rumored to be a constestant on the show - but of course, his lips are sealed.

Keep tuned to Le Petit Connaisseur for details on the sixth season as they emerge! For now, you can whet your appetite with Project Runway Canada's second season on YouTube, which premieres on Feb. 2.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Spring 2009 Trend: '70s Eyeglasses

The biggest eyewear trend this season is toward a dominant frame, in part influenced by oversized sunglasses. More specifically, I'm talking the oversized, thick plastic '70s-style frames that harken back to the days of Studio 54 (or your mom in the '70s). Apparently, they're what "all the French girls are wearing."

So when I stumbled upon a pair of bent-up but lovely frames that belonged to my boyfriend's mother, I flipped. I told her I loved them, and eventually she gave them to me for Christmas. I brought them to Nadine at Visionary Opitical in Uptown and she fixed them up and put my lens prescription in them. Here are the beauties:

But to be honest, part of the appeal is that they're almost exactly like the pale pink plastic frames I wore throughout my ever-dorky childhood. Case in point:

Me, circa 1991

If you're not lucky enough to discover a pair like these in a drawer, here are some other options:

Visionary Optical, Uptown, 612-822-3937
The best selection of '70s and '80s vintage frames in town, and best of all, they're deadstock. The selection ranges from about $160-$260, but they're the most unique, best quality vintage frames out there.

American Apparel, MOA and Uptown, 612-825-3000
A good lower-priced option for vintage frames, with most priced around $50. Or check out their
online shop.

And if all else fails, you can always check out eBay, etsy, or your local thrift shop.

L'etoile's Grand Hat Party this Saturday

Get out your favorite vintage hat - or Ruby3 fascinator - and head over to Clubhouse Jager this Saturday for L'etoile's Grand Hat Party. The lovely Clubhouse Jager bartends always take good care of their guests, and you'll probably get better service in a hat. Besides, there are too few excuses to wear a hat these days. DJs Tendercakes and Dirty McKenzie will be on hand playing disco, house, electro, hip hop and new wave from 10 p.m. to close; no cover.

And mark your calendars for another hat party on Feb. 21: Adorable new vintage store Blacklist Vintage, which specializes in affordable vintage headwear, is offering the chance to be photographed in their hats for display at the shop. Also: Free champagne!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New store opening: June

I had heard about the opening of designer resale boutique June a few weeks ago, but hadn't checked it out until I received an ecstatic call from a stylish friend about it. I'm not usually too impressed with the selection at Twin Cities' resale shops; typically they're packed with frumpy garments that aren't current but aren't old enough to be vintage, and mid-range designers like Ann Taylor that hardly qualify as high-end.

But stepping into June, I immediately sensed a difference. The tucked-away gem located at Lyndale Avenue and 34th Street feels like the kind of shop you'd find all over Paris - whimsical enough to be charming, uncluttered enough to be modern. Half the store is taken up by a "shoe boutique" with names like Christian Lacroix, Lanvin, Cynthia Vincent, and Chloe (priced at $30-200). Elsewhere in the store are an oversized birdcage displaying gorgeous shoes, a mannequin donning a rare Oscar de la Renta showroom piece (a silk corset trimmed in ostrich feathers for $150) and racks of clothing lining the shop, filled but not overflowing with lines like Theory, D&G, Marc by Marc Jacobs (ranging in price from $30-150).

Owner Daune Stinson has a keen eye for quality over quantity. She is a rare proprietor who does resale right - it's clearly about the integrity of each item, not just a designer tag. If you have any good-quality designer pieces gathering dust in your closet, bring them in for cash - Daune is always looking for more merchandise, and buys out-right (as opposed to consignment).

June is located at: 3406 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. 612-354-3970.

Check out my write-up on June in this week's print edition of for 1.22.09-1.28.09

Check out this week's edition of for my write-ups on the weeks' hot to-dos:

Performance: Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! + Spring Awakening
Art: Wondersplash: The Multi-Media Paintings of Laura Hallen at Umber Studios
Fashion: Cliché spring fashions at Avoid the Grey fashion show
Fashion: New store openings: June resale boutique + LUSH Handmade Cosmetics

Music: Rock the Cradle at Children's Theater Company
Music: The Original Truth Squad’s 1996 Party at VIP Room
Nightlife: MiX at Chambers’ Red, White & F**king Blue Lounge
Music: Typoscura’s Hump Day f. Jenny Dalton + Nyteowl at Red Stag

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sales, deals and free stuff

Under the current economic climate, it doesn't get much better than "free." That is, if you wear cosmetics. Beginning today, you can visit a number of major department stores and get a free mystery bottle of cosmetics.

It's all part of a class-action suit from 2003, apparently the penalty retailers and cosmetic lines had to pay for an alleged price fixing conspiracy. The giveaway is limited to a selection of 20 various cosmetic items including body wash, mascara, facial cream and perfume, with an average value of $15; only one giveaway is allowed per visit. Supplies are limited, so make sure you get to your nearest Macy's, Target, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and/or Herberger's before supplies run out.

In the market for a sewing machine? Or maybe you're looking for fabric for your next project - or fashion line? Then check out designer Anna Carlson's studio moving sale this Friday and Saturday. For the serious sewer, there's a Singer industrial sewing machine for $500 and a Juki industrial sewing machine for $500. There's also white and dyed silk, cotton, linen, notions, chairs, dishes, track listing, dining table and chains, and various table tops. Questions? Email 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri. and Sat. 308 Prince St., Ste. 246, St. Paul.

New-ish high-end fashion boutique
Belle Reve is offering all its fall and winter merchandise at discounts of up to 70% off. Sale items will include dresses, tops, denim shoes and accessories from L.A.M.B., Ingwa Melero, and Na.Be by Project Runway contestant Victorya Hong. Ongoing at Belle Reve, 320 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls. 612-333-3148.

Thursday, January 15, 2009 + Inauguration Events for 1.15.09-1.21.09

Art by Rudy Fig from "Art Form 1040"

FASHION: A. Michele opens; In4mation at Vs. Social Standard

In4mation "Kisber Love-Cut" necklace at Vs. Social Standard

Inauguration Events

Obama test print by Burlesque of North America

Minnesota Presidential Inauguration Party at Seven Sushi Ultralounge (via

Inaugural Inauguration Night at Lee's Liquor Lounge (via

"The Change We Need" Inauguration Celebration at Epic Nightclub (via

More inauguration events:

The historic Clubhouse Jager plays host to an inauguration party. From the press release: "Head down to North Loop watering hole
Clubhouse Jager for an evening of drinking and camaraderie as we ring in the new political year, Obama style! Watch the Inaugural Ball projected on the wall, sip 2-4-1 cocktails and specially priced Obama shots. And while you're there, try out Jager's new food menu, which includes tasty gourmet pizzas and appetizers until 10 p.m." 8 p.m. Free.

My other favorite hang-out,
Grumpy's, is upping it's normal schedule of Staraoke karaoke with a viewing of the inauguration at 8 p.m. and half-price apps and $2 PBR Tall Boys from 7-11 p.m. Free.

Convergence Inauguration Party at Caterpillar Lounge
Convergence DJ Jon Hester and Soundbar resident DJ Mike Moilanen head up the decks, highlights from the day screened on TVs, and happy hour food and drink specials. 10 p.m. Free.

If you have the day off, you can also watch the inauguration at
Riverview Theater and Suburban World Theatre. Free. 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Local visions for First Lady's inauguration gown

The front page of today's Lifestyle section in the Star Tribune features a series of sketches by local fashion designers of the dress they would create for Michelle Obama to wear during the inauguration (compiled by Sara Glassman). It was great to see two favorites of mine, Max Lohrbach and Laura Fulk, get exposure along with up-and-comers Christine Carmichael of Carmichael Claith and Maritza Ramirez.

Laura Fulk's gorgeous sketch:

Gown in silk satin fabric in a "courageously vivid" red base, paired with accents in poppy and gold.

Laura says: "What a dream to design for the 5-foot-11 soon-to-be fashion icon with a lust for bold, bright colors. This flattering empire-waist, floor-length gown with flowing gold georgette sides and a mini bolero jacket is sure to turn some heads."

Here is Christine Carmichael's design:

Here is the online version of the page, with descriptions and explanations by the designers.

View the full gallery

Thursday, January 8, 2009 for 1.08.09-1.14.09

Check out this weekend's edition of for the best things to do in the city.

Fashion: Sprouse book + A new book on Stephen Sprouse hits stands and Euro-fashion at the Mpls-based shop

Event: Perez Hilton: Celeb blogger Perez Hilton to sign copies of new book at MOA.

Event: Rockstar Boudoir: Get glammed up like a rockstar in this photo shoot event presented by Photogen Inc.

Photo by Photogen Inc.

Nightlife: Cowgirl Ball at VFW Dance Hall: Themed party thrown by lesbian party producers Diva Riot.

Online only bonus: Visit this
link via for info on a free advance screening of Diablo Cody's new Showtime series. is available in print and online at every Thursday.

For more things to do this weekend, check out
L'etoile's blog for their always top-notch weekly round-up.

Friday, January 2, 2009 Euro-fashion in our own backyard

A look from Bernhard Willhelm F/W 2008 Collection Lookbook

I am fairly obsessed with street fashion websites. Whenever I am in the fashion doldrums and need some inspiration, they manage to push me outside the safe style bubble of the Twin Cities. One of my favorites,, focuses on street fashion in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. So when I recently stumbled across, an online shop featuring fashions that would be right at home on the web pages of HelLooks, I had to look twice when I saw the shop's mailing address: W. Lake Street in Uptown Minneapolis.

The shop was founded in September 2007 by Lori Dockendorf, who runs the website solo out of a small Uptown Minneapolis office, as a way to bring the hard-to-find western European designers she fell in love with while living in New York to the States. "My whole idea was to incorporate designers that are hard to find," Dockendorf explains, "but had an eclectic, avante-garde look."

The site's offerings include clothing, accessories and shoes by obscure European designers with cultish followings, and includes quirky graphic knits by Bernhard Willhelm of Antwerp, plaid jumpers, hoodies and scarves by Dane Henrik Vibskov, geometric-print separates by C.neeon, and handbags made of recycled leather jackets by Ashley Watson. The look, popular in locales like Antwerp, Copehhagen and London, is dominated by unusual, androgynous silhouettes and bold patterns. "They're not pretty clothes," Dockendorf says. "They have a bit of an edge."

The carefully-curated shop has a quality-over-quantity focus, though Dockendorf says, "I really want to start carrying more designers." For spring, she's planning to bring in the funky, "kind-of-'90s goth"-esque line by Finnish designer Daniel Palillo, and she hopes to start carrying its lone American designer, Jeremy Scott, for Fall 2009. (The site currently carries Jeremy Loves Ksubi, a collaboration between Scott and Ksubi jeans, as well as a few sunglasses designed by Scott in collaboration with Linda Farrow.)

Despite being barely a year old, the online shop has already garnered national press - last fall it was featured on the popular national fashion blog The Daily Candy. But why have we not heard of ShopFatal in its own home state? "I haven't really put my name out there," Dockendorf explains. "My main audience is people who are searching for certain designers, so I'm just letting the names speak for themselves."

More images from the Bernhard Willhelm A/W 2008 Collection Lookbook:

All I got for Christmas: My favorite gifts

I got some amazing gifts this Christmas. Let's play show-and-tell, shall we?

Pale yellow lace dress by Swank Dollar by Annie Larson, a local line found at Cliche, given to me from my boyfriend to wear for New Year's Eve. I had spied it at Cliche earlier and fell in love with it, and I had wanted to wear a local design for New Year's Eve so it was perfect.

An antique painted doll from New York, given to me by my friend Kelsy. I kind of have a thing for dolls.

Sketchbook made from a vintage record album sleeve from my friend Di. I love my Brat Pack, especially Pretty and Pink for its trifecta of Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer (aka Duckie), and James Spader and great soundtrack.

Yellow patent Cole Haan flats from my friend Emma, for walking the cobbled streets of Spain.

Believe it or not, I still don't have Solid Gold's debut full-length, Bodies of Water. Given to me by my friend Lauren.

A Christmas gift for myself: A vintage cloche hat from Via's Vintage. Bonus: It's vintage Dior!

And lastly, vintage '70s oversized eyeglasses, given to me by my boyfriend mother. I had seen them in a drawer and asked for them, and though I was initially denied, she ended up giving them to me. They are getting lenses made for them at the moment so no pictures just yet, but I will be sure to post some soon!

The Stephen Sprouse Book chronicles the '80s designer

Whether you remember wearing Day-Glo t-shirts and Velcro-closured sneaks in elementary school, or are experiencing the rebirth of neon via American Apparal and Too Much Love, you probably don't know that those old '80s standbys come from haute roots. 1980s fashion designer and Marc Jacobs muse Stephen Sprouse was the first to incorporate Day-Glo, Velcro, and graffiti into fashion, and on January 13, the first book chronicling the icon's life will be released since his untimely death in 2004.

The epic scope of the long-overdue book published by Italian purveyor of art tomes Rizzoli make it worth the wait. The Stephen Sprouse Book was compiled by Rodger Padilha and Mauricio Padilha, who possess the largest private collection of Sprouse's work, and includes never-before-seen archival images, including sketches and Polaroids, provided to the duo by Sprouse's family. Other highlights include images by Andy Warhol and photographer Steven Meisel, and interviews with famous Sprouse friends Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Anna Sui, Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, and Baby Jane Holzer.

Sprouse was one of the first American designers to manipulate conventional notions of style by mixing graffiti and punk with fashion. Despite the critical acclaim he found in the '80s, his collections were met with mixed business success. Today, he's perhaps best known for his 2001 graffiti-sprayed handbag for Louis Vuitton, which Sprouse fan Marc Jacobs is re-launching this spring as a tribute to the late designer.

The book is available with four different jackets, each featuring a different Day-Glo color in homage to Sprouse’s iconic album cover for Debbie Harry’s Rockbird; if you're lucky enough to live near a Louis Vuitton store, you can pick up its limited-edition version of the book. ($65, available at

Preview images from the book (courtesy, and

Stephen Sprouse, early self-portrait, Courtesy Sprouse Family Archives

Stephen Sprouse, Debbie Harry Cut Out Dress Polaroid, Courtesy Sprouse Family Archives
Stephen Sprouse, Debbie Harry Green Dress Polaroid, Courtesy Sprouse Family Archives

Stephen Sprouse, Scan Line Sketch, Courtesy Sprouse Family Archives

Stephen Sprouse, Fall 1984 Sketch, Courtesy Sprouse Family Archives