Monday, January 31, 2011

Outfit post: Sarah M. Holm + Bionic Unicorn

I'm not big on doing outfit posts, but when I wear a local design I like to try and give as many shout-outs as possible.

For Saturday's "Avoid the Grey" fashion show put on by Cliche, I wanted to be decked out in the shop's local designers. I wore a black cotton dress by Sarah M. Holm from Cliche - a perfectly-done little black dress and can be worn in countless ways. You can't see the back in the photo, which consists of spiderweb-like criss-crossing black straps. (You can kind of see it in this photo.) And it's still available in a full size run!

[Photo by Claire Molepske for]

I added a belt with a vintage brooch to give it a little something extra. I'm also wearing a necklace by local designer Bionic Unicorn, also sold at Cliche, a vintage fox fur, and Calpurnia Peach tights (you can't see it, but they're screen-printed with my initials on the back).

[Me with Teri Anvid at Get Lucky. Photo by Christian Erickson]

Givenchy vs. Labrador vs. Schiaparelli + Dali

In her blog Art of Wore, METRO Magazine's Mary O'Regan pointed out an interesting similarity between a S/S '11 Givenchy couture piece and a jacket designed by Minneapolis-based brand Labrador in the spring of 2005. (The brand, which hasn't updated their website since 2007, appears to be defunct.) Fun fact: the image appeared in a 2005 print issue of l'├ętoile magazine, for which I am now fashion editor.

[Left: Labrador S/S '05. Right: Givenchy Couture S/S '11]

Local couturier Max Lohrbach, who has an insane knowledge of fashion history, pointed out that both designs may be referencing the Schiaparelli lobster dress designed by Salvador Dali in 1937:

...which itself referenced Dali's lobster phone:

Lady Gaga also infamously referenced Dali's lobster art with this bejeweled lobster hat.

All in all, it's interesting how fashion, design and art reference each other time after time, directly and indirectly.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Local inspiration: muses and lenses

The best in local street fashion, portrait and fashion photography from local muses and lenses, gathered via Twitter, Facebook and blog uploads from the past week.

Ellen Dahl Lawson captures Ignite model Tearra Rosario in all her glory at the MNfashion Week buyer event in a Sarah M. Holm swimsuit for The Minneapoline.

Musician/ad agency honcho Christian Erickson and gets a masked kiss from his wife, singer Janey Winterbauer.

Teri Anvid and Emma Berg get leggy at Friday's Walker After Hours, as captured by Kate Iverson.

Sarah Sauser shoots a model in a mask by stylist Hollie Mae, with hair and makeup by Kate Erickson.

Vision model Elle Williams is photographed by Jake Freeman with hair/makeup by Amber Brenke wearing a dress from June.

Amy Gee shoots some moody runway shots at Cliche's Avoid the Grey fashion show on Saturday.

Minnesota-born Ignite model Whitney Fransway (relocated to L.A.) was back in town to shoot with John Wallace and gets spirited away. (Click here for more images from the shoot.)

Sohail Akhavein does a darkly romantic self-portrait series of himself with John Sand.

Ignite model Kristina Lezepekova gets raw for Brooklyn photographer Carolyn Griffin. (Click here for more photos from the shoot.)

Can't get enough of Kristina. Here she is again, this time as photographed by Nuru Kimondo. (Click here for more images.)

Durio shot Minneapolis ex-pats, eyewear designers Coco & Breezy, on the streets of Brooklyn in this recently unearthed photo.

I couldn't pass up the chance to post this adorbz photo of Coco & Breezy behind masks by Brooklyn musician Jaimz Deen.

Photographer Emily Utne is looking pretty with her pooch.

Local fashion link roundup

[Designs by Sarah M. Holm, Terri Martin, Kathryn V., Rachel Blomgren, and Tim & Thom. Photos: Sara Glassman]

  • Sara Glassman previews new designers joining Voltage's ranks this year for Star Tribune.
  • City Pages previews Voltage 2011 and chats with show producer Anna Lee. They also preview other MNfashion Week shows.
  • Mary O'Regan previews METRO Magazine's spring men's fashion shoot, which will be shot by Eliesa Johnson and looks to feature some looks from local menswear shop BlackBlue.
  • In addition to her recent interview and photo montage on the Urban Outfitters blog, local knitwear designer Annie Larson got to select 15 of her favorite new items on the UO site.
  • Local stylist/blogger Jane Belfry does a lovely post on her new blog Couture et Cuisine highlighting stylish women of a certain age.
  • Coco & Breezy hang out with tranny pop star Jeffree Star and French designer Charles De Castelbajac.
  • METRO Magazine's Mary O'Regan recaps Cliche's "Avoid the Grey" fashion show for her blog Art of Wore.
  • Stacy Schwartz shoots "Avoid the Grey" for City Pages here and here.
  • Minneapolis 2night and Metromix also have photos from "Avoid the Grey."
  • "Avoid the Grey" jewelry designer Kristin Berwald of Bionic Unicorn and clothing designer Amanda Christine recap the show from a designer's perspective.

In review: SooVAC's Get Lucky & Cliche's Avoid the Grey

This weekend was without a doubt the most jam-packed of 2011 thusfar, with heaping doses of art, music and fashion alike. (Check out what I did on Friday and Wednesday in my previous "Last Night" entries.)

First on my Saturday night agenda was the Soo Visual Arts Center's annual "Get Lucky" benefit, in which some of its longtime artists donated pieces of their work in a silent auction. My good friend Teri Anvid - a former fixture of the Minneapolis art scene and photographer who moved to Atlanta a couple of years ago - was serving on the welcoming committee for the event.

[Photo: Claire Molepske for]

As benefits are intrinsically great people-watching and chatty events. I chatted with Teri, Kate Iverson of Secrets of the City and l'etoile magazine, designer Emma Berg (my date for the night), and Kate's date for the night, Michael Thomsen - a fantastic artist who shows his amazingly detailed pieces (which lie somewhere between collage, sculpture, and painting) regularly at Rogue Buddha Gallery. As for Kate, she had donated a piece to the show - this supercool photograph:

I also caught up with MIA curator Christopher Atkins, who helms the museum's MAEP gallery (which showcases local artists); Mark and Alyssa Fox, the brother and sister duo behind Fox Tax; Christian Erickson, partner of interactive marketing agency Zeus Jones, which was hosting some of the festivities next door; Carolyn Payne, executive director of SooVAC (whose extremely talented husband Terrence Payne had also donated a piece to the show); and artists Sean Smuda, Rob McBroom, and Jennifer Davis, all of whom also had pieces in the show. Here's a smattering of some of my favorite pieces on display:

[Art by Liz Miller. Photo by Jahna Peloquin]

[Art by Terrence Payne. Photo by Jahna Peloquin]

[Art by Rob McBroom. Photo by Jahna Peloquin]

[Art by Jennifer Davis. Photo by Jahna Peloquin]

[Art by Greg Gossel. Photo by Jahna Peloquin]

[Art by Amelia Biewald. Photo by Jahna Peloquin]

Though it seemed like a smaller turnout than previous years (though this could be due to the fact that this was the first year the gallery was doing the benefit in their new, smaller space), it seemed to be a success - I got word that a number of the pieces sold for higher than their retail value, and bidding wars erupted over a number of pieces (including Biewald's piece, which sold for $750 to Emma Berg). It was also heartwarming to see longtime SooVAC artists that have gone onto increasing success, such as Greg Gossel (who regularly shows internationally and on the coasts) and Amelia Biewald (now based in New York) continue to participate in the show.

[Photo: Claire Molepske for]

[Emma Berg, Jaime Carrera and me. Photo: Claire Molepske for]

[Jack Randol & Jake Thompson. Photo: Claire Molepske for]

Click here for more Get Lucky photos by Claire Molepske for

By 9 p.m., it was time to head to the Avoid the Grey, the annual late winter fashion show put on by local boutique Cliche. It has always primarily showcased the shop's strong roster of local designers, and in recent years owners Josh and Delayna Sundberg have given the show fun themes and theatricality, always within the intimate confines of the Old Arizona Theater. Even though the demand for the show (and local fashion) grows with every passing year - this year, they even added a third show, which promptly sold out - Josh told me that though he wishes they would go to a larger venue, Delayna has insisted on keeping the show intimate and cozy. It's keeping with the homegrown, relaxed feel of the shop itself, after all.

As is the case, the 9:30 p.m. show started around 15 minutes late - showgoers were still getting drinks, after all. But the relaxed vibe gave us opportunity to chat with the crowd, including front row-mates Mary O'Regan of METRO Magazine and stylist Molly Roark; Cliche designers Ivan Idland and Kerry Riley (of Needle & Black); art director Chris Larson; knitwear designer Kevin Kramp; and photographer Sohail Akhavein.

[Needle & Black designer Kerry Riley gets her mug shot. Photo by Jahna Peloquin]

The show started off with a Elvis vs. the cops opening keeping with the "Jailhouse Rock" theme. It was a clumsily cheesy start to what turned out to be a fun theme throughout the rest of the show. During each themed segment, designers were shown with faux cuts and bruises on a screen behind the stage, holding mugshot-style boards. In a twist from previous years, each designer was asked to design three unique pieces specifically for one of six themes: floral, ’50s housewife, ’60s bohemian, ’70s glamour, polka dots and white-meets-neon - as worn by Ignite models.

Highlights of the show included Amanda Christine's all-white mini-collection - very much on the minimalism trend that's hot for spring. The cotton and pleather jacket and pant combo prompted Chris Larson to say he wanted the suit in all-white, a la Tilda Swinton, while Emma Berg favored the pleather-top dress. One of the city's most successful designers (she's selling her manufactured line at over 30 boutiques nationwide), it's clear that Amanda has her eye on trends and knows how to translate them into her extremely wearable and flattering aesthetic.

[Looks by Amanda Christine. Photos by Jahna Peloquin]

The ever-busy Danielle Everine (who's currently gearing up for Voltage '11 while balancing a new design position with Target) showed some sheer, filmy pieces that hinted at her all-sheer upcoming spring collection. Everine can be counted on to always deliver a solid, well-crafted line that has a strong, signature aesthetic, and this showing was no exception.

[Looks by Danielle Everine. Photos by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]

Another extremely busy designer, Kathryn Sterner, showed some lovely floral mixed-print pieces for her line Kathryn V., including a belly-baring floral mixed-print dress that would be right at home at Anthropologie. Sterner has shown herself to be one-to-watch since her rough-around-the-edges debut at Cliche a year ago. Look for her at her February 18 University of Minnesota senior show (yes, she's still a student) and Voltage '11.

[Looks by Kathryn V. Bottom photo by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche; middle & top photos by Jahna Peloquin

Sarah M. Holm's been making herself into one-to-watch with her increasingly sophisticated, tailored yet no less edgy designs. Her polka-dot, retro-styled two-piece swimsuit was a show favorite. Look for Holm up next in Voltage '11.

[Look by Sarah M. Holm. Photos by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]

Maritza Ramirez showed a typically girlish collection of a structured dress, pencil skirt and cape she told me was made from upholstery fabric. Adorable and well-constructed as it was, though, the fit was off on her shiny silver dress.

[Look by Maritza Ramirez. Photo by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]

Renate Adjei, a longtime Cliche designer who hasn't shown in some time, made us remember what we were missing with her perfectly tailored, feminine dresses in lush fabrics.

Kimberly Jurek of K.Jurek, with Cliche from the very beginning, showed three floral-print, easy-breezy spring dresses. One thing is clear: Jurek knows what sells for her and knows her aesethetic and her customer.

[Look by K.Jurek. Photo by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]

Niki English, freshly returned from an internship with Zac Posen in NYC, translated her signature dark, edgy look for her line Niki Couture to white - a super-chic body-con white dress with sheer panels was a standout. I'm looking forward to seeing her collection at the U of M senior show.

[Looks by Niki Couture. Photos by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]

Longtime Cliche designer Ivan Idland offered a surprisingly different style with his looks: a fitted jacket with blousy, high-waisted shorts; a fun, ruffle-skirted dress; and a slinky, printed drop-waist mini-dress. Perhaps Idland is thinking more of saleability and wearability over his typical vintagey silhouettes, but I'm intrigued to see what the designer does for his Voltage '11 collection.

[Looks by Ivan Idland. Photos by Jahna Peloquin]

Some mixed bag showings included Christine Carmichael of Carmichael Claith, who managed to make only three pieces lack cohesion - but her champagne-colored lace dress was at once highly wearable, saleable, and chic. I'm hoping she moves in this direction rather than her poofy, overly girlish style.

New Cliche designer Steevie.B showed promise with a couple of cute, wearable looks - a wonderfully constructed cropped teal linen jacket was a standout piece, as was a fun printed '60s-style swing dress. But her hoop-skirted mini dress looked like a craft project gone bad. Still, she established herself as one to watch.

Kerry Riley of Needle & Black showed a uncharacterically disconnected collection of pieces, including a casual knit top with leggings, and a baby blue girlish skirt with black bodice. No way was this Riley, I thought to myself. But a black sheer lace tailored dress shown with a red patent bow belt was true Riley - at once tailored, sexy and sweet. Perhaps she was trying to break out of her aesthetic but Riley should stick to her strengths - this is why we know and love her.

[Look by Needle & Black. Photo by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]

Jenny Carle, who's been a strong seller for Cliche, has seemed to increasingly show sophisticated and chic looks. But this wasn't the case last night. Everything from the styling (which was not the distinctly girly look Carle is known for) to the fabric and construction seemed subpar coming from the experienced designer - and the three pieces shown appeared to be from three different collections. I don't get it. I hope she brings back her pretty dresses later this spring. But I did love the fun plastic jewelry shown with her collection by Bionic Unicorn.

[Look by Jenny Carle. Photo by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]

Tender Cuts by Emily Bryngelson (who shipped in her pieces from New York, where she's now living) had been one of my up-and-coming favorites after seeing her debut at Cliche just a year ago. But this collection faltered a bit for me - the jacket-shorts combo looked rather home-sewed and basic, though her ivory lace-print dress was pretty. I have come to expect more detail and thought from Bryngelson - I hope this was a rare misstep for the young designer.

[Looks by Tender Cuts. Photos by Jahna Peloquin]

Cliche is known for bringing in fresh-faced designers that (as Kathryn Sterner and Niki English once were) are a bit rough around the edges when it comes to both construction and defining their aesthetic. Elena Mercurio, Dawson, Rachel Delange, Ashley Busch, Sydney Ilten and ArielSimone (in her Cliche debut) fell into this category, blending into their surroundings too well except for the occasional hanging threads and bunching at the seams. But has been the case in the past, keep your eyes on these designers - the Sundbergs may have yet to work their magic with them.

[Look by Elena Mercurio. Photo by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]

[Look by ArielSimone. Photo by Marty and Shirley Andreasen for Cliche]