Carrier Pigeon (via Vita.mn)
After serving on the committee of MNfashion for the past couple of years, Lauren Neal is now front and center with a new jewelry line. Carrier Pigeon, named for the idea that each piece carries a message, includes necklaces, earrings and rings cast and hand-cut from fine metals. Our favorite is the cast talon pendant, which manages to be both dainty and fierce. Next up, Neal plans to expand her line into men's jewelry, which will debut this spring at Voltage. Her women's line retails for $50-$300 and is available at carrierpigeon.etsy.com.
SixOneTwo and I MPLS t-shirts (via Vita.mn)
Minneapolitans, show your love for your hometown -- and your area code -- with T-shirts from hometown shirt and hoodie company Adentheos. Cooked up by brothers Aron and Daniel Lipkins in 2007 as a way to help people express their love for the City of Lakes, the men's and women's line of shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the phrases "SixOneTwo" and "I MPLS" have been popping up everywhere as of late, including Elsworth and Parc Boutique. Sorry, St. Paul -- we haven't spotted any SixFiveOne shirts on the market yet. (Editor's note: apparently Stella.blu at Grand & Lexington carries a SixFiveOne shirt)
Here's my St. Paul after-Christmas shopping guide and my guide NYE 2010 in the 651: The best parties, shows and shindigs via the651.com.
And my writing in l'etoile magazine:
Here's my exclusive new interview with Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman of Project Runway fame, Le'TALK: l'etoile interviews Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman, was re-linked at Blogging Project Runway. Thanks, BPR!
Here's my huge NYE guide: l'etoile New Year's Eve 2010 Guide
The l'etoile staff offers up our Christmas gift wishes: All I Want for Christmas. Here's mine:
I am fortunate enough to have many friends with nice cameras and decent camera-wielding skills, but there are many forgotten moments I wish could've been captured. A friend of mine just purchased the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Digital Camera, and I'm always left in awe of the results. Everyone looks beautiful and every moment, magical. And best of all, it's perfectly petite and flat - just the right size for my party clutch. Unfortunately, it's a bit out of my price range ($249.99) at the given moment, especially after a recent laptop purchase. Secret Santa or Mr. Moneybags, anyone?
My ongoing, comprehensive shopping guide, L'etoile's Guide to Winter Sales and Shopping, is updated at least once a week.
Here are my contributions to l'étoile's Best of 2009:
Best Fashion Show (Solo)
Laura Fulk: Suffocate
If there ever was a local fashion designer to combine her aesthetic with visual art, it’s Laura Fulk. Her conceptual fashions, often inspired by a feminist perspective, clearly incorporate the MCAD grad’s fine arts background, specifically in sculpture. Fortunately, Emma Berg and Kristoffer Knutson of mplsart.com noted this and joined with her to produce the best solo fashion show of the year at the Lab Theater. The black box-style theater was the perfect backdrop for Fulk’s ground-breaking Spring 2009 collection, which incorporated screened fabrics by artists Melissa Breitenfeldt and and Jay Langer, and sculptural collars (meant to represent the feeling of suffocation). With fierce models from Vision Model Management and styling designed by lead stylists Eclecticoiffeur, it was one of the most well-produced and original shows the Twin Cities has seen in some time.
Best Fashion Show (Group)
Voltage: Fashion Amplified
It almost doesn’t need to be said, but we’ll say it anyway. The belle of the local fashion ball every year, without contest, is Voltage: Fashion Amplified. The powers that be (meaning Voltage producer Anna Lee and her committee of fashion influencers) select ten local fashion designers to produce a line to grace the First Avenue Mainroom runway, while five of the hottest local bands rock out. Last year’s show-stopping finale featured one of our all-time favorite designers Max Lohrbach, styled by lead stylists Eclecticoiffeur and Zach Pearl, who smashed paintings (featuring illustrations by Lohrbach himself) over the models' heads for dramatic effect. (photo by Stacianne photography)
Best New Boutique (Women's)
The Twin Cities have been rocking it hard for the past couple years, and in 2009 we saw our deep pool of local art, music and design talent growing exponentially. The entrepreneurial folks behind long-standing gift shop Patina smartly decided to capitalize on this with their latest endeavor, Shoppe Local. Its well-tailored selection includes some of our fave local fashion including designers Calpurnia Peach and Amanda Christine; jewelry designers Ferociter and Natalie Lucas; and music from Solid Gold, Jeremy Messersmith and more; plus framed poster art and other gift-ready items. One-stop shopping, anyone?
Best New Boutique (Men's)
When our pal Steve Kang opened BlackBlue this past fall in St. Paul, we have to admit we were taken by surprise. After all, it was the first retail venture for Kang and his partner in crime, Claudette Gacuti, and the economic conditions were somewhat sketchy. But the design-oriented duo successfully lent their keen eyes toward the much-neglected category of men’s fashion in the Twin Cities, and their smartly-edited selection has stylish men flocking to Selby and Dale for shoes from UK brand F-Troupe and home-grown Minnetonka Moccasins and Red Wing shoes, shirts by Fred Perry and Penguin, plus a just-added selection of vintage shirts, sweaters and ties. Ladies, don’t fret - Kang tells us they plan to start adding in women’s clothing in 2010.
Jeremy & Vanessa Messersmith
There are a lot of awesome couples around here, so it was pretty hard narrow it down to just one. But singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith and his chic wife Vanessa practically define the term “power couple.” Jeremy has been known to sell out the First Avenue Mainroom and has crafted two exquisite albums that landed on the best-of-the-year lists of the city’s most respected music critics; he's also scored a covet spot on the official list for SXSW 2010. Meanwhile, his wife Vanessa opened Blacklist Vintage with her business partner Jennifer Sapiro in fall 2008, right when the recession hit. Somehow, they’ve managed to turn it into a success story, thanks to their hand-picked selection of vintage men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. And of course it doesn’t hurt that Jeremy and Vanessa are two of the most stylish and sweet people it town!
Best New Fashion Designer
As much as we love our regular gaggle of local fashion designers, we especially love it when a new fashion designer pops up on our radar and impresses the pants off us. And this year, boy were our pants - er, hats - off to men’s knitwear designer Kevin Kramp, who has mesmerized us with his uniquely oversized, nomadic warrior-inspired knits. The native Minnesotan returned this year after spending several years studying apparel design in London, where he earned a degree from Central St. Martins College of Art and Design and worked with some big names, including Victoria Beckham. His designs are sold in boutiques in London and Paris, he has about a dozen different Italian yarn sponsors, has been published in international publications from Vienna, Italy, New York, France, and Sweden, and he recently won a Jerome Foundation project grant for Fiber Artists from the Textile Center. Whew! Let’s just say we’re lucky to have him. Look for a major Twin Cities debut from Kramp on the Voltage 2010 runway.
Biggest Breakout (Guys)
Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman & Christopher Straub
Suffice to say, it’s been quite the year for local fashion. Two of our very own - Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman and Christopher Straub - did Minnesota proud when they appeared on the sixth season of Project Runway and placed second and first, respectively, during the premiere episode. While Christopher made it nearly all the way to Bryant Park, Ra’mon wasn’t too shabby himself, making a fan of Nina Garcia on the way. Since the show, both have gone on to find additional success. Christopher’s accessories line was recently picked up by ShopNBC, and he’s become a regular fixture at just about every noteworthy fashion event in town. As for Ra’mon, he showed at New York Fashion Week, and 2010 looks to be an even bigger year for our longtime pal and collaborator. He couldn't give us full disclosure, but he did reveal to us that he'll be “involved with two other reality-based programs in 2010," one of which is of The Real Housewives franchise, as well as news that his namesake ra'mon-lawrence line will be carried at a “major U.S.retailer." CLICK HERE for a brand-new, exclusive létoile interview with Ra’mon!
Biggest Breakout (Girls)
Coco & Breezy
Ooh, dem girls. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, 19-year-old identical twins Coco & Breezy hit the national fashion scene in a big way in 2009 after launching a line of bold, studded eyewear under the moniker Gemela Amor (Twin Love) and moving to New York. The Minnesota natives first made their mark on the on the Voltage runway in 2008 and caught our eye with their signature in-your-face style. Now they’ve taken NYC by storm, getting their sunglasses featured in Essence, Source, and W Magazine’s Editor Blog, and photographed on the likes of Kelly Osbourne and Ashanti. We see very good things for these two in 2010.