Below is a full review of last week's fashion shows; read the abbreviated version in this week's issue of Vita.mn.
Last Tuesday saw the first-ever Voltage retail preview, in which Voltage’s 2010 roster of designers previewed a selection of their most retail-ready designs for Twin Cities buyers at the downtown studio of longtime model agency Vision. It was an ambitious move for Voltage, but the signature show - now in its sixth year - has never been short on ambition, becoming more professional and sophisticated every year without losing its rock ‘n roll edge. If the preview was truly a taste of what to come, including everything from avant-garde men’s knits by Kevin Kramp to more wearable but no less intriguing silk draped separates by George Moskal, Voltage 2010 should be one of the most memorable yet.
Click here for more photos by Stacy Schwartz for MNfashion
On Wednesday, the Fine Line was the scene of the annual Commingle fashion show, which had a decidedly different mood. A live hip hop band kicked off the night, and the following fashion show featured an underground, DIY edge. It was a striking contrast to the sleek studio presentation of the Voltage preview (which had Vision owner Teqen Zéa-Aida talking about “taking the fashion show back out of the nightclub”), the show seemed to harken back to local fashion’s early days (circa 2003) that preferred the avant-garde over the wearable. Though some of the fashions were embarrassingly dated and badly-sewn, it was a treat for the eyes to see well-constructed artwear from the likes of Elizabeth Chesney and SoHo Exchange. The evening's other designers included Wone, Untitled Projects, ArielSimone, and Mary Pass.
Click here to view more photos by Kevin Ophoven
The next day, Cliche’s annual Avoid the Grey show took place in the tiny black box theater of Old Arizona. Featuring a couple of designers seen in the Voltage preview earlier that week (Brianne Jones, Christine Carmichael), it appears that designers aren’t shying away from keeping a busy schedule. Though there’s always a couple of clunkers, the show was the best yet from the local boutique, featuring strong collections from longtime designers such as Red Shoe Clothing Co. while introducing us to a newcomer like Emily Bryngelson, whose wearable separates could easily be spotted at a dive bar in Minneapolis as in the pages of Nylon.