Monday, February 6, 2012

In review: Cliche's Avoid the Grey

Cliché hosted its annual fashion show "Avoid the Grey" on Saturday night at the Grainbelt Bottling House, and this year the local boutique decided to change things up. The "show" was more of an art installation, with models dressed in one avant-garde look by local designers housed inside peephole-laden boxes designed by local artists. While I love me a good old-fashioned runway show, it was a great concept - fashion as art. With the recent slew of overly-lengthy runway shows that seem to be more about quantity than quality, it was refreshing to see so much thought having gone into a show. Less was more, in this case. A minor criticism: it was difficult to get a good gauge of what was happening in the boxes with only the small peepholes to peer through. But nonetheless, the interactive feel of the event served only to make fashion more accessible and less intimidating.

Here are the individual looks, out of the box. Let's assess:

Kerry Riley of Needle & Black translated her love for patent leather into a skintight Latex look complete with her signature holster, this time rendered in stripes, which offers a great graphic element to the otherwise fairly basic design. The gold cuffs were a nice addition.

Rachel Blomgren is one of my favorite up-and-comers in the local fashion scene. She has a great way of merging a punky, West Bank aesthetic with genuinely impressive knitting skills and a great eye for color and pattern. I want those leggings NOW. The headpiece (or rather, "hand" piece) and doll head necklace are deliciously wacky. (Necklace by Lela Baumann of Chrysopoeia.)

Kimberly Jurek's contribution to the evening was a silk skirt inspired by traditional bomba skirts, which are designed for a traditional Puerto Rican folkloric dance. She updated it with the pops of neon, though with the addition of the fringed jacket, it looks more like a costume than true fashion. (Accessories by KR Designs by Kristi Relopez.)

As for Kathryn "V" Sterner's look, this is just plain weird. Apparently the "hoof hand" gloves are inspired by a lyric from a Devandra Banhart song, and the dress is made out of wallpaper - no wonder it looks so stiff. The makeup and the head wreath are making me think of Jesus Christ, and that's not good. (Head wreath by Cocoquette by Andrea Oseland.)

What a fun look from Sarah M. Holm. Love the juxtaposition of the soft floral and bow motifs with the "gun bustier" and black cage skirt. And it's perfectly constructed. It's no surprise coming from a designer known for injecting high-concept ideas into her work while still making it fashion (i.e., not a costume). (Bullet jewelry by Timmilynn Johnson of Sweet T.)

This was an intriguing offering from Danielle Everine. It's clearly in line with her latest work shown at the "Sashay Shantay" fashion-geared Art Shanty over the past couple of weeks - sort of an Arctic seafaring snow queen, with equal parts fashion and function. The black and shades of blue work gorgeously together. My one complaint is that it's overstyled - she really didn't need the antler necklaces (which are by up-and-coming accessories line KR Designs. And I do really like the antler necklaces on their own; I featured them in last week's issue of

Yikes. This look by Carmichael Claith just looks ridiculous. It's clear she was going for some outsized proportions, but those pants make the model look like The Adventures of Frog & Toad.

Double yikes for this look by ArielSimone. Yellow lace with cutouts and rhinestones can never be a good idea. It's pretty draggy. (Accessories by Jen Scheffler of Realia by Jen.)

Killah look from Amanda Christine. That jacket is perfectly cut, and this is far edgier than we typically see from the typically more subdued designer (who is among the city's more commercially successful designers). The sheer red hose are a great touch. (Accessories by Timmilynn Johnson of Sweet T.)

Up-and-coming designer Gina Marie Landes of Gina Marie Vintage sticks pretty true to her subdued palette, chiffon fabrics and easy-fitting silhouettes in her boho/Grecian goddess look. (Accessories by Larissa Loden of Lefthand Originals.)

And to get a taste of the actual event, here's some video:

All photos by Marty Andreason except Kimberly Jurek's look photo by Sara Glassman.

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