[Originally posted at Vita.mn online]
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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