Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lookbook: Vanessa Zahid Jewelry + Gina Marie Vintage

Speaking of the Vanessa Zahid premiere runway show last weekend, I just stumbled upon the local jewelry designer's lovely F/W 2011 lookbook. Like the runway show, it's paired with clothing by another up-and-coming line, Gina Marie Vintage (which had its runway debut two weeks ago at "Envision: Artopia.") The gorgeous, ethereal photography and layout design were done by Amy Gee - another up-and-comer to keep your eye on.

L'étoile's Guide to Fall MNfashion Week 2011

Start planning your outfits now and be sure to squeeze in that manicure because the semi-annual fashion fête MNfashion Week kicks off this weekend. The scaled-down lineup this fall may be smaller in quantity, but thanks to some inventive new events - like Blacklist Vintage's "Vintage Did It First," "Little Black Dress," and l'étoile's "Bright Society" - it's clear MNfashion Week is here to stay. Also be sure to head over to their weekly Sales and Shopping Guide (which I also edit) to get the lowdown on more local sales and shopping for this week.

[Content shared with l'étoile magazine]


'Sip See Connect: The MNfashion Week Kick-off Party'
Kick off the stylish shenanigans of MNFashion Week with a swanky soiree at Loring Park's Bar Lurcat. Get your mingle on with other local fashion forwards, get the deets on what's going down over Fashion Week, and snap up half-priced well drinks and tap beer plus $4 glasses of wine. Bonus: Shell out 5 clams for an official MNFashion Week button that will supply you with extended happy hour deals at Bar Lurcat all week long. -Kate Iverson
When: 7-10 p.m., Sept. 29.
Where: Bar Lurcat, 1624 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis,


'Full Fashion Panic!'
Manga fever has once again gripped the Twin Cities as the annual Mechademia conference rolls back into town (a conference which celebrations Asian pop culture, especially manga and anime). MCAD once again hosts the "Full Fashion Panic!" runway event, which features fashions inspired by or inspiring to the manga culture. See looks that range from Lolita to steampunk to cosplay and back again in this out-of-this-world runway presentation. Tickets are $10. -Kate Iverson
When: 6:30 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. show.
Where: Minneapolis College of Art & Design, Auditorium 150, 2501 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis,


Mighty Swell's One-Year Anniversary Sale
Vintage occasional boutique Mighty Swell hosts its one-year anniversary sale just in time for fall MNfashion Week. Fall in love with the collective's array of affordable vintage clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry from all eras, as well as housewares, décor, small furniture and other tantalizing trinkets. For the anniversary sale, the shop is showcasing an extended lineup of eight different vendors, including menswear from Things I Found (at the Thrift Store). Vintage dresses start at $15; fur-trimmed coats at $25; and skirts, shirts, bottoms, blouses and accessories at $5. Be sure to grab a $5 mystery bag and enjoy donuts, coffee and melodies as you shop. -Stefani Arden
When: 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Oct. 1 & Noon-5 p.m., Oct 2.
Where: Mighty Swell, 3109 E. 42nd St., Minneapolis, 612-805-2040,


l'étoile presents 'Bright Society'
Join l'étoile during MNFashion Week at St. Paul's historic Alexander Ramsey House for "Bright Society," an afternoon fashion affair. Sip specialty drinks a la Prairie Vodka, nibble fancy bites, explore the famed estate, and peruse selections from the Historical Society's beautifully preserved collection of fashionable finery. Designers Max Lohrbach, Samantha Rei, Russell Bourrienne, Danielle Everine, and Laura Fulk will showcase one-of-a-kind creations, inspired by a garments from the Historical Society's collection. See an informal fashion presentation of the looks, accompanied by a discussion with the designers moderated by Robyne Robinson and words from the Historical Society's textile curator, Linda McShannock. Matthew Curney (of local Britney Spears cover band, Spearz) will entertain throughout the afternoon on the Ramsey House's antique 1875 Steinway piano, playing a smattering of pop hit renditions. -Kate Iverson
When: 2-5 p.m. Fashion presentation at 3 p.m.
Where: Alexander Ramsey House, 265 S. Exchange St., St. Paul,


'Vintage Did It First: Looks That Inspire Fall's Runway'
Blacklist Vintage has become the go-to vintage shop for stylish Twin Citizens since it opened its doors only a couple of short years ago. During their MNfashion Week event, "Vintage Did It First," owners Jennifer Sapiro and Vanessa Messersmith will show off vintage looks influenced current runway fashion. Between the champagne and the 10% discount, you'll probably head out of the store with a bit more than you intended. Fortunately, Blacklist Vintage's well-edited collection doesn't lend itself to buyer's remorse. Their sartorial and domestic treasures are always a purchase well-made. -Beth Hammarlund
When: 7-11 p.m., show at 8 p.m., Oct. 4.
Where: Blacklist Vintage, 25 E. 26th St., Minneapolis, 612-872-8552,


Sol Inspirations Fashion Networking Happy Hour
Get your mid-Fashion Week recharge in with the first happy hour from new networking group Minnesota Fashion Connect. Enjoy happy hour drink and food specials plus $1 off organic wines, hobnob with fashion industry professionals, and view and exhibition of locally-made fashions from eco-fashion organization Sol Inspirations. -Jahna Peloquin (Photo: Serah Sauser)
When: 4-6 p.m., Oct. 5.
Where: Red Stag Supperclub, 509 1st Ave. NE., Minneapolis,

Parc Boutique's Fall Preview
The casual, contemporary Northeast shop Parc celebrates MNfashion Week with a fall trunk and fashion show. The evening kicks off with a cocktail hour, when you can enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres from Solo By Bonicelli and drinks. It's followed by a runway and trunk show featuring the shop's latest fall collections, and local jewelry designer Karen Cavetano will be on hand to showcase her new collection composed of classic beads and intricately woven chains. And come ready to shop - the store is offering 15% off everything in the store during the event. -Stefani Arden
When: 5-7 p.m., Oct. 5.
Where: Parc Boutique, 320 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-353-4966,

Blasphemina's Closet Open House
You saw the Fall/Winter 2011 line "Atlantis Kumarinadu" from local neo-Victorian line Blasphemina's Closet during "Full Fashion Panic!" Now, get a look at the collection up-close-and-personal during this open house event. Designer Samantha Rei will have the entire collection on display and take custom orders. Inspired by lost continents, Belle Epoque, Art Nouveau, Oz, China and Korea, the line will be accompanied by hats designed by Megan Bishop of Apatico and jewelry from Bionic Unicorn by designer Kristin Berwald. -Jahna Peloquin (Photo: Fairshadow Photography)
When: 6:30-10 p.m., Oct. 5.
Where: Blasphemina's Closet Studio, 5701 Shingle Creek Pkwy., #530, Minneapolis,


'Little Black Dress'
Fashion trends come and go, but there's one thing that never goes out of style: the little black dress. Some of the top apparel designers of the Twin Cities - including Emma Berg, Maritza Ramirez, Danielle Everine, Ivan Idland, Raul Osorio, Max Lohrbach, Laura Fulk, and George Moskal - offer their take on this wardrobe staple with their very own LBDs at the local design showcase. After kicking things off with a cocktail hour, a runway segment will showcase the designs along with another non-LBD look from each designer. The event is free and guests must be 21-plus to attend. -Jahna Peloquin
When: 7-10 p.m., runway show at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 6.
Where: Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 6 W. 6th St., St. Paul,

Local Motion Pop-up Boutique & Fashion show
No one can resist the get-it-while-its-hot nature of the pop-up boutique. During Fall MNfashion Week, brick-and-mortar shop Local Motion will be bringing together one of the most diverse pop-up inventories to hit the Twin Cities yet. Local lines such as KOKOON, Maureen Fuhr, Ixion Jewerly and Urban Junket handbags will be featured, as well as many of Local Motion's favorite designers from New York, Los Angeles and overseas will be on the bill for this free event. Peruse the offerings, enjoy some desserts, and try on some clothes - but be sure to wash your hands between the desserts and the clothes. Sticky fingers are no one's friend. -Beth Hammarlund
When: 5-9 p.m. Runway show at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6.
Where: The Lexington, 1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul,

'Athenaeum: A Study in Fashion'
While Scoundrelle's Keep's custom corsets and neo-Victorian holds most of its appeal to the niche steampunk and gothic Lolita sets, steampunk-inspired fashion and design have started to receive more mainstream attention. Get a glimpse into geek subculture when local fashion designers Tara Reich and Heather Luca of Scoundrelle's Keep come together for a joint fashion show showcasing their latest fall collections. Spend the time between now and Thursday brushing up on your neo-Victorian and Class Lolita terminology. Steampunk: not just for geek conventions anymore. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. -Beth Hammarlund (Pictured: Scoundrelle's Keep)
When: 8 p.m. doors, 8:30 p.m. show, Oct. 6.
Where: James J. Reference Library, 80 W. 4th St., St. Paul,


'Hair Salon Night: The Looks of Madonna'
Beloved local boutique Cliché pops off their second annual Salon Night, inspired by none other than the Material Girl herself. See a smattering of wild Madonna-esque hairstyles from talented stylists from Sweeny Todd's, Audacia's Styling, Trés Jolie Salon, along with makeup artists Tifini Friend and Amber Phillips. Not to mention, all merch in the shop is 20% off, so even if you're "Borderline" broke, you can still shop guilt-free. -Kate Iverson
When: 7-9 p.m.
Where: Cliché, 2403 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis,

'Fresh Traditions V'
The annual Fresh Traditions fashion show is back and ready to entice with a delightful display of fashions from Twin Cities Hmong designers. See new collections from designers Ashley Yang, Dokiang Thao, Marlena Thao, Sai Chang, and Kao Lee Thao. Even better? Proceeds from the event go to benefit CHAT (Center for Hmong Arts and Talent) which helps "nurture and sustain vibrant Hmong arts in the community." Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For VIP seating e-mail -Kate Iverson
When: 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. show.
Where: McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. SE., Minneapolis,


Bombshell's Fall Fashion Luncheon
Head to St. Paul for a feisty Fall luncheon with a side of tasty fashion. Presented by Bombshell boutique, Italian plus size line Elena Miro (pictured) will debut their latest collection alongside other curvy girl-focused designer lines. Enjoy a runway presentation and lunch with the ladies at beloved Cathedral Hill eatery, W.A. Frost. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the shop or by calling 651-330-2605. -Kate Iverson
When: 2 p.m.
Where: W.A. Frost Restaurant, 374 Selby Ave., St. Paul,

Inspire by Gaochen & Nonmala Trunk Show
b. (a resale shop) hosts an evening of retro-infused looks and classic, feminine jewelry from local line Inspired by Gaochen and Nonmala. Taking inspiration from home and garden, scrap booking, painting, beading, embellishing, and other crafty endeavors, the collection will be sure to put you in creative spirits. While you're there, sip complimentary bubbly and check out b. (a resale shop)'s hip selection of vintage and contemporary threads for guys and girls. -Stefani Arden (Photo: Chris McDuffie)
When: 4-6 p.m., Oct. 8.
Where: b. (a re-sale shop), 5456 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, 612-824-1292,

Edited by Jahna Peloquin
Contributions from Kate Iverson, Beth Hammarlund, Stefani Arden and Jahna Peloquin

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Local fashion editor Stephanie Davila to Conde Nast's

Local fashion editor Stephanie Davila just announced some big news: she's just accepted a position as the new Fashion Editor for at Conde Nast. She had moved back to Minneapolis to work for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine as its Scene + Heard Editor (in between freelancing for WWD and People) after spending time in New York working as Senior Editor at In Style Weddings. Congrats, Stephanie!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Alec Soth collaborates with Rodarte for new art and fashion book

Minneapolis fine art photographer Alec Soth has found his way into a collaboration with international fashion darlings Rodarte. Along with photographer Catherine Opie, he's released a limited edition book with Rodarte's sister designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy (entitled, simply, Rodarte, Catherine Opie, Alec Soth)

[Left photo by Catherine Opie; right photo by Alec Soth]

The New York Observer reported that Opie shot Rodarte clothing on models, while Soth, conversely, offers photographs inspired by California sites that have inspired the sisters' work. Not a single piece of Rodarte clothing appears in his images. It serves as an example of how the boundaries between fashion and art have increasingly blurred in recent years. The book is currently available for just over $50 at Amazon. has more photos from the book.

This isn't Soth's first foray into fashion - he first offered his outsider take on fashion via Paris, Minnesota, a book-size tome that is part of the ongoing "Fashion Magazine" series put out by book publisher Magnum. I wrote about the book's 2007 release for

Raina Hein covers Mpls.St.Paul Weddings, Twin Magazine

Since she appeared on America's Next Top Model cycle 14 and came in second, Minnesota native model Raina Hein has been the face of Dubai-based specialty store Symphony's campaign, appeared in Bon Iver's video for "Calgary," and found a nationwide fanbase. But she still is paying lip service to her hometown. Here she is on the cover of the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of Mpls.St.Paul Weddings, on newstands now. Here's the cover image and a couple images from the spread:

Here's a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot:

You can also see Raina on the cover of the latest issue of Twin Magazine, which is apparently a new publication put out by the FAB: Fashion and Business group at the University of Minnesota. It also includes an interview with the model. View the full issue

Preview: Kevin Kramp in SID Magazine

London-based menswear publication SID Magazine has revealed a preview image from the forthcoming Fall/Winter 2011 issue, and it features a sweater by local designer Kevin Kramp (who is currently showing his latest line at Milan Fashion Week). Looking forward to seeing the full spread.

Photographer: Reno Ranger
Fashion editor: Fredo Montes
Model: Julien (Red Models)
Grooming: Sonja Roberts
Fashion Assistant: Alicia Corpening

Photo recap: Vanessa Zahid debuts jewelry collection at Gallery 13

Last weekend, Vanessa Zahid launched her new jewelry line at Gallery 13 in downtown Minneapolis. The former model's debut collection featured vintage-inspired, ethereal gems on models looking like Grecian goddesses in clothing by new local line Gina Marie Vintage.

[Photo: Alena Demidova]

[Photo: Amy Gee]

[Photo: Amy Gee]

[Photo: Amy Gee]

[Photo: Amy Gee]

Friday, September 23, 2011

Q&A: Roe Wolfe co-owner Romeny Chan

by Jahna Peloquin

Two of the Twin Cities better-known makeup artists, Romeny Chan and Ashley Kilcher, have joined forces on a new endeavor: Roe Wolfe. The boutique, which opened its doors last week in Mendota Heights, sells a well-edited mix of women's clothing, accessories, cosmetics and fragrances from on-the-cusp luxury brands like Aryn K., Matiko Footwear, and BECCA Cosmetics. We chatted with Chan about how the two went from makeup artists to store owners, their collaboration with internationally-renowned knitwear designer Kevin Kramp, and why they opened up shop in the 'burbs.

l'étoile: You and Ashley are both longtime Twin Cities makeup artists. Is this the end of your work in makeup artistry?

Romeny Chan: The end? Oh, no! We see this as being a catalyst to our career. Not only are we expanding our realm of expertise in the industry, we are branching into a whole new audience. In fact, our staff is composed of two other make-up artists. We have brought in the full Becca Cosmetics line so we are now working as a team offering services to not only our everyday customers but as free-lancers. We have a lot of plans for Roe Wolfe and staff. We see a lot of partnerships ahead.

What inspired your foray into retail?

Ashley and I have been freelancing for the last eight years or so, and often times side by side. We have always entertained the idea of a partnership but it wasn't until last spring that we approached the idea of a different business endeavor all together. As it turns out, we both have always wanted a boutique. Since we both have styled in the past and a mutual love for high-end contemporary fashion. It was a perfect combination of image consulting - make-up and styling. It is a bit ambitious, but we didn't want to stop there. We are big supporters of local artisans, so it only made sense that much of the decor are hand made and can be bought right off the floor. I also have an olfactory obsession, hence the atelier lines of fragrances.

Why Mendota Heights? We don't typically see this level of fashion in the 'burbs.

Our first thoughts were to bring this kind of boutique to St Paul. That was when Mendota Heights caught our attention. With it only being 20 minutes away from Minneapolis, it's perfectly tucked in-between Hudson and St Paul. Our location is perfect stop for those traveling to the cities for high-end shopping. I wouldn't say the caliber of service and clothing we are offering is far off from what some suburbs want or need. There is a strong intent and ambition on our part to provide this astute area a luxurious experience they are craving.

Tell us about your space.

RW is about 700 square feet with weathered floors and antlers all decorated about. We have bowls and pottery all made by local artisans, fixtures are also custom made by an artisan that specializes in making furniture out of old window frames! So, you can imagine, the rustic ambiance we provide, but with a very polished and contemporary feel.

What kind of price points can customers expect?

Our price points (currently for our soft opening) are $60 to $150+ tops and we carry denim lines that are $150+. We have already ordered for Holiday and Spring with lines such as Love Sam and Winter Kate! On that note, our average price point will be $100+ once the core collections hit the floor.

Kevin Kramp had yet to be sold in any Twin Cities stores until you started carrying him. How did you go about getting in touch with Kevin to sell his line?

Ashley first worked with Kevin Kramp on Voltage 2010 when she was leading as key artist. From there, their professional careers continued to cross paths as she worked alongside him on other fashion shows. Weeks before Roe Wolfe opened her doors, the seed was planted that we wanted to carry his pieces. When I met him we discussed design and textiles. The conversation immersed itself in how well crafted pieces are a translation of harmony between color, texture and form. Roe Wolfe is honored to be exclusively showcasing Kramp's pieces. We've come up with a luxurious line that represents us yet doesn't compromise his intuition and vision as the designer. Both Kevin Kramp and I were able to work out a very unique collection for the RW that will grace our floors for Holiday. Though limited (we are bringing around six large circle scarves, with a price point at $225+), it will give RW customers a taste of designer luxe, right from Mpls. We are very excited about this and so supportive of Kevin.

Roe Wolfe is located at 750 Main Street in Mendota Heights, 651-330-4434. Check out Roe Wolfe on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. Look for an online shop to come.

Photo recap: Coco and Breezy S/S 2012 at New York Fashion Week

Since their move to New York two short years ago, Minnesota-native twins Coco & Breezy have become darlings of the hip-hop and R&B set, showed up in the pages of Essence and PAPER magazines, and found their way onto the faces of Nicki Minaj and Beyonce. The twins - real names Corianna and Brianna Dotson - showed their Spring 2012 collection, "Rainy Days," at a private estate during New York Fashion Week earlier this month. I dig how they styled the collection with clear vinyl, black-edge umbrellas and lip colors coordinated to match the glasses. Paired with professional models and simple but chic black outfits, the show looks to be the twins' most sophisticated to date.

[Photos by 24 blogazine and luxelove]

And here's the just-released video showcasing their 2012 "Rainy Days" Collection, which the twins produced and directed:

RAINY DAYS x Coco && Breezy - S/S 2012 from Coco and breezy on Vimeo.

Follow the girls on their Tumblr, snap up their new sunglasses at, and read new interviews with the twins in Black Enterprise, Essence, CBS Minnesota, and Global Grind.

Kevin Kramp doing Milan Fashion Week

A rising star in the international fashion design world, Minnesota-based knitwear designer Kevin Kramp has announced he's returning to Milan Fashion Week next week. He's one of six emerging designers participating in WHITE Milan, an international exhibition of contemporary fashion. Among the WHITE Milan events running September 23 to 26, Kramp will be showing his Spring 2012 collection at the "Six Talents for WHITE" showcase in the sixteenth century Portinari Chapel inside the Sant'Eustorgio Basilica. In addition to his usual collection of innovative, oversized specialty men's knitwear in plush yarns, he'll be showcasing new mesh and nylon pieces as well as debuting his highly-anticipated line of women's knitwear. For more info on WHITE, visit

[Photo provided by the designer]

Thursday, September 22, 2011

ALL + ETC Moving Sale

Local knitwear designer Annie Larson and her boyfriend, graphic designer/artist Eric Carlson, are moving to New York next month. So you know between the two of them, there's bound to be a stellar garage sale. This Sunday, the two are unloading before they trek out east, and the sale will include everything from the duo's own creations to studio equipment to household items.

Full item listing: "Upright "ORGAN" piano, 2000 VW Passat, black Ikea 5x5 shelf, Yamaha alto saxophone, full size female mannequin, hide-a-bed couch, clothing, furniture, music, kitchen wear, art supplies, books, electronics, nik-naks, chotchkies, comforts, visuals, treats, presents, yarnies, dongles, doodles, bobbers, & whatnots."

Sunday, September 25. 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
512 E. 24th St. Minneapolis

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Photo recap: Christopher Straub and Patrick Kemal Pryor at "Fashioned"

I spent Saturday night at the MCAD 125 year gala celebration, which unfortunately meant that I missed "Fashioned," an exhibition of visual and textile artists at the Northrup King Building. Among those showing were Project Runway's Christopher Straub, who collaborated with painter Patrick Kemal Pryor on a line of architectural dresses. Pryor's imaginative painted "prints" provided the perfect counterpoint to Straub's structured mini dresses and gown, all of which were perfectly wearable yet striking and intriguingly designed, and the color and patterns definitely work in his favor. Dare I say this may be Straub's best work to date.

Photos by One Offs Yippee and Christopher Straub

Mondo hangs out with Christopher Straub in Minneapolis

I unfortunately had to miss Project Runway season eight finalist Mondo Guerra's Twin Cities appearance at Macy's Rosedale on Saturday, but here's some fun pix of him hanging out with Minnesota homeboy and season six contestant Christopher Straub while he was in town. Mondo reported via Twitter that he hung out at the Walker Art Center (which I recommended during my interview with him for l'etoile) and LUSH Food Bar while he was in town.

Photos via cocoocox and Christopher Straub