Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In review: Envision: Artopia Fall 2010

[Originally posted at Vita.mn online]

[Looks from Cliche]

Over the past few years, the Ignite Models-produced "Envision: Artopia" shows have become one of the most consistent (and well-attended) staples of MNfashion Week. As usual, it was packed with a who's who of the Twin Cities' independent fashion industry - and at 15 designers and five boutiques plus a live hair styling segment, it was the longest-running show to date. Though a bit light on the "Artopia" aspect (the lone efforts being a live painting by Jesse Draxler and Christopher Park and limp visuals from Anthem Heart), the show offered a wide cross-section of what's happening in local fashion in a clean, smoothly-run production, modeled on a solid roster of Ignite models.

As usual, Amanda Christine and Kimberly Jurek of K.Jurek presented highly wearable, retail-ready pieces (though a bit unimaginatively styled).

[Looks by Kimberly Jurek for K.Jurek & Amanda Christine]

So was the case with YQY by Vivian, whose lovely spring collection featuring coral prints would've been greatly helped by some (any) styling. Russell Bourrienne showed an exquisite collection of his signature men's outerwear in luxurious wool plaids with unique details (like overlapping buttons on an otherwise classic peacoat).

[Looks by YQY by Vivian & Russell Bourrienne]

Tender Cuts and Kathryn V. showed on-trend, well-styled separates fit for a chic Brooklyn boutique or the pages of Nylon. Local boutique Cliche also showed imagination with paper crown and paper necklace accessorizing.

[Looks by Kathryn V. & Tender Cuts]

But for the most part, the show was largely hit-or-miss - both Jenny Carle and Calpurnia Peach succeeded with when they stuck to their girlish looks and faltered when they went outside of their comfort zones.

[Looks by Calpurnia Peach & Jenny Carle]

Same went for Christopher Straub, who previewed his Spring 2011 at the close of the show. A hydrangea-print trapeze dress hinted at a different direction for Straub, and his signature "petal" work on a shrug and mini dress were both adorable, but the fabrications and fit were off elsewhere.

[Looks by Christopher Straub]

Newcomer Allilamodie showed some intriguing (if not exactly on-trend) knitwear, while PFT Couture brought the drama but proportions were off and fabrics were unsophisticated.

[Looks by Allilamodie & PFT Couture]

But despite the largely impressive roster of talent involved, the unstyled look of the show gave it a hurried, unfinished feel, as if it was too much spread too thin. It's clear the producers have a great product on their hands and know how to put on a show; here's hoping next spring, they'll rein in their ambitions, whittle down the lineup (and altogether eliminate the live hair styling segment), and fine tune what's working.

All photos by Josh Stokes


  1. Imagine the amount of effort involved in having the hand knit element in every single fashion that went down the runway! That was the case with Allilamodie. When you add it up, the sheer amount of time put into the hand knits is far beyond what most others can do. Kudos to Allilamodie, she is a shining star in Minnesota fashion!

  2. If only this writer knew fashion as well as her designer friends.

  3. How does someone who dresses like a Betty Crocker Stepford Wife get to judge a fashion show and comment on it is beyond me. Don't you have to be fashionable to talk about fashion?

  4. Though I didn't make it to the show and didn't see the looks beyond pictures, I appreciate this review. Local fashion needs criticism as well as praise!

  5. They need to change their "ENVISION" name and stop trying to copy an already established VISION management group's model http://visionmodels.com/ These guys have been working hard at it for many years.

  6. FYI- There isn't anything creative or "imaginative" about Cliche's styling, the paper crowns idea is straight out of Vivienne Westwood's Autumn/Winter collection, but of course you would know that if you knew anything about fashion. And as for the overall styling of the show, you have to keep in mind, the designers themselves have a lot of say on how their collection is styled, and sometimes it may be that they want minimal styling. Just because it's not "retro vintage" like everything you style, doesn't mean it sucks. Maybe you need to think out of the box a little-- just sayin'. PS- it's TORY BURCH, not TORY BIRCH.

  7. Betty Crocker, hah, hardly! the poor dear, not only did she have to ask one of her dinner party guests to come over early simply to show her where the oven was(she had lined it with vintage paper and stored off-season cashmeres and jewelry in it!)but her souffle was so flat, she served it as a "savory pudding", on plates... with spoons!

  8. You went from Stepford wife to cave woman with hairy chest at PALE RIDER. You are devolving. lol