Check out my writing in Vita.mn for 10.8.09-10.14.09:
Crawl: Minnesota's Latest Top Model (Originally posted at Vita.mn)
Amid the countless modeling-themed reality shows, it seems refreshingly old-fashioned to hear that an up-and-coming model was discovered at the mall. That's just what happened to Stillwater native and U of M student Will Defiel, who is currently the face of the Calvin Klein men's collection for fall/winter 2009. Vision Models co-founder Teqen Zea-Aida spotted Defiel at the Mall of America last year and homed in on the then-20-year-old business major. "What struck me is he's so hawk-faced -- very icy eyes and a strong brow and nose. It was almost like he was a boy Grace Kelly."
Zea-Aida took some Polaroids of him and sent them into Models.com, a premier resource for international model scouting, and the images were posted as "one to watch." The team at Vision promptly fielded a call from the offices of Calvin Klein, who were interested in meeting Defiel if they would send him to Manhattan for a go-see.
"I think they realized that this person is very Calvin," Zea-Aida said. "He has a very edgy yet conservative, masculine look." Before he knew it, Defiel was cast in the brand's fall 2009 ads, which are dark, stark and classic in feel. Defiel himself remains cautiously optimistic about the opportunity, which is why he's continued on at the Carlson School of Management. "Anything can happen," he explains. "You have to have something to fall back on."
This isn't the first time Vision, which Zea-Aida formed at age 19 in 1996 with Nathan Yungerberg, has represented a top model. They had success with Karen Ilvedson in the late '90s (at one point she served as designer Yohji Yamamoto's muse), and they're currently representing their biggest female model to date, Megan McNierney, who has walked the runways of Chanel, appeared in Italian Elle and landed a Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign. Even Vision's employees have gone on to greater success: Andy Rempel, a former Vision stylist, is currently the sole employee of avant-garde fashion house Rodarte. "There is an elemental quality to credentialed people from this city," Zea-Aida says, "so when they spread their wings and leave 612 and 651 and go to New York or Europe, I don't know how to explain it, but they always seem to become a success."
STYLEDLIFE expands (Originally posted at Vita.mn)
When it first opened its tiny storefront in Gaviidae Common in 2006, accessories boutique StyledLife briskly moved on to bigger and better things. After opening a second location at Edina's swanky Galleria and shuttering its Gaviidae doors, it will now expand to a 3,000-square-foot Galleria flagship. The new space, set to open Friday, will carry exclusive-in-Minnesota accessories lines by Missoni, Anya Hindmarch, Pucci and Y-3, as well as a brand-new wardrobing area and legwear department. (Galleria, 3510 W. 70th St., Edina, 952-928-8888.)
VState Grand Reopening (Originally posted at Vita.mn)
The fact that VState is owned by Dan Vargas, a former club owner, must be a big part of the shop's success. The shop's selection goes by a simple formula: basic, trendy stuff for hitting the clubs. That means tops and dresses for the ladies and designer denim, woven button-ups and graphic tees for the guys. To celebrate VState's recent remodeling, it's offering 10 to 30 percent off everything, free cocktails, giveaways and free haircuts for the guys. (7-11 p.m. Sat. Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-823-4699.)
EVENTS: Epic fashion shows (Originally posted at Vita.mn)
This weekend, Epic hosts two very different fashion shows. First up is the 10th annual Fusion + Fashion, in which interior designers square off in a "Project Runway"-style competition as they try their hand at fashion design. Among the guest judges are "Runway" contestants Christopher Straub and Katherine Gerdes and designers Russell Bourrienne and Joy Teiken; part of the proceeds benefits People Serving People. (8:30 p.m. Fri., $40-$75.) Next up is Fresh Traditions III, which highlights Hmong-American designers combining traditional Hmong garb with modern touches. Lately we've begun to see its designers, including Pafoua Thao of PFT Couture and Oskar Ly of OsCouture, in more mainstream local shows, proving that this small but talented group is becoming increasingly relevant in local fashion. (8 p.m. Sat. $25. Epic, 110 N. 5th St., Mpls. 612-332-3742.)
ART “One Too Many Mornings” (Originally posted on Vita.mn)
We were first introduced to the hazy, impressionistic portraits by up-and-coming local painter Garrett Perry via the "More Is a Four-Letter Word" group show at Fox Tax Gallery last spring. The young artist, a recent grad from St. Paul's College of Visual Art, is now front-and-center with his ambitious first solo show. Using a single photograph as a point of reference, Perry's artfully unfinished, color-drenched collection of paintings is said to delve into such far-reaching concepts as destruction, reconstruction, nostalgia, memory and cultural identity. Broad ambitions, to be sure, but Perry just might have the talent to pull it off. (Opening reception 8 p.m. Sat. Ongoing through Nov. 1. Free. Umber Studios, 3109 E. 42nd St., Mpls. umberstudios.com)
More local Fashion & Shopping news (originally posted at Vita.mn online):
THURSDAY: BlackBlue Grand Opening
The Twin Cities seems to be in dire need of men's shops that sell clothing I would actually wear if I were a dude, so the arrival of well-edited menswear boutique BlackBlue in St. Paul comes into the open arms of fashion-craving fellas. Looking for a genuine flannel that's not from Urban Outfitters nor a moth-eaten thrift find? BlackBlue carries Pendleton, natch. Or if the classic mod look is your deal, try an Original Penguin or Fred Perry polo. The grand opening will feature champagne, wine, cheese and music. (7-10 p.m. 614 Selby Av., St. Paul.) Bonus: Read my interview with BlackBlue's Steve Kang in l'etoile.
THURSDAY: Hazel Matthys Fashion Show
Local designer Hazel Matthys has emerged from an apparent hiatus to show her first collection since spring 2008. The Twin Cities designer, who has over ten years of industry experience under her belt, had always been a standout at the then-annual DIFFA/DIVA fashion shows. Her ultra-feminine yet classic looks will be shown with accompaniment from composer/pianist Steven C. (6:15 p.m cocktail hour, 7:15 p.m. show. Free with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. 340 Summit Ave., St. Paul.)
FRIDAY: Heimie's Ladies Fall Celebration
Until now, Heimie's Haberdashery had catered primarily to the man who appreciates a well-cut suit. Though custom apparel has previously been available for women, Heimie's female fans should be excited to hear that the old-fashioned custom clothier located in the heart of downtown St. Paul is launching its own ready-to-wear womenswear department this fall. The launch event includes Heimie's custom ladies' clothing and accessories, said to be inspired by Katharine Hepburn and designed in-house with all-natural fibers, while enjoying live music, food, and wine. (400 St. Peter St., St. Paul. 651-224-2354.)
SATURDAY: RELEASE! Traxx + Kevin Kramp Party
This after-hours party for the new clothing line by knitwear designer Kevin Kramp doubles as a release party for DJ Traxx's new double LP "Faith." Though Kramp won't be showcasing his actual clothing at the party, the party gives reason to pay attention to the London designer who now called the Twin Cities home. His men's knitwear, which consists of brightly-colored avant-garde, oversized sweaters and low-crotch, tight-ankled knit pants, is some of the most innovative knitwear out there, recalling Missoni mixed with Henrik Vibskov. It's artwear at its most inspiring; let's hope we can see an actual show from Kramp soon. DJs Traxx, Etones, Naughty Wood and Albert Elmore DJ. (10 p.m.-4:30 a.m. $10. Gallery 13, 811 Lasalle Av., Mpls.) Here's a great interview with Kramp with more images of his work.
READ MORE AT VITA.MN
My style and nightlife blog for St. Paul STAYcation (soon to be renamed the much-hipper 651.com) highlights Hazel Matthys fashion show, BlackBlue's Grand Opening, and The Horrors at the Turf Club:
SATURDAY: The Horrors at Turf Club
It could be said that no band out there is quite as stylish as British quintet The Horrors. Hot off the success of its debut album, Strange House, the band quickly shot to success landing the front cover on the UK’s music mag NME, an appearance on the upcoming Gorillaz album, and a Mercury Prize nomination. The band is touring in support of its sophomore effort Primary Colours, full of polished indie-rock that belies its goth-y looks. The band also has a local connection: Rhys Webb is the son of British ex-pats Tim and Mo Webb, owners of local sunglasses company Glasses Webb. (9 p.m. $13. Turf Club, 1601 University Av. W., St. Paul. 651-647-0486.)
READ MORE AT ST. PAUL STAYCATION.COM