[Originally posted at Vita.mn online]
(Update: My review got linked in go-to Project Runway blog, Blogging Project Runway! Thanks girls!)
by Jahna Peloquin
It was only last August at that former Project Runway contestant Christopher Straub, with fellow designer Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman, celebrated the premiere of the reality show at the Saint Paul Hotel. Eight months later at the same venue, the designer appears to have come full circle with his debut runway collection.
It was the first time since the airing of the show we've seen clothing designs from Straub, having chosen to focus on his accessories line. Set against the old-world decadence of the historic hotel, his collection carried a modern mass appeal coupled with the distinctive flavor for which the designer was known during his time on Runway - feminine, ruffled confections accented with tough leather and stud details.
His aesthetic was decidedly hit-or-miss throughout the show. Straub's missteps came when leaning too heavily on his aesthetic; though wearable and well-made, many looks were predictable and nothing you couldn't find in a department store.
But on the "hit" end, there were some truly inspired pieces: a black textured vinyl skirt accented with silver studs that, thanks to a softly structured silhouette, managed to combine femininity and edge, as did a floor-length navy blue dress paired with a show-stopping, sculpted black vinyl corset.
Straub also seems just as adept in his menswear, which included everything from denim jeans to sporty leather jackets; at only two looks, it was a shame he didn't focus more on menswear. And of course, he played to his strengths by incorporating his tough-meets-pretty handbags and belts throughout the show. A monochromatic look that paired electric blue skinny leather pants with a jacket of folded ruffles elicted oohs and ahhs from the audience, as did a finale gown that appeared to be made of green metallic foil.
Special guest and self-proclaimed "world's first supermodel" Janice Dickinson nearly stole the show with her off-kilter introduction in which she called the designer "Christian Straub" and quipped, "I'm so old they have to lift me onto the runway." The biggest cheers, however, were for the designer himself, whose everyguy charm and approachable aesthetic have made him a bona fide local celeb.
[All photos by Stacy Schwartz]