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Fashion Week MN in Review | Envision Fall 2015: That '70s Show


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Sarah Furnaé's fall 2015 collection at Envision

Isaiah Stofferahn

Eighteen seasons in, semi-annual fashion show Envision has become the destination to see collections from the Twin Cities' top fashion designers. This fall's edition was arguably the most consistent to date. Established local designers, such as Russell Bourrienne, Caroline Hayden, and Kjurek, showed some of their strongest collections to date, while a crop of new names to the local fashion industry proved themselves to be ones to watch. Fine craftsmanship, innovative styling, and genuine fashion moments were on display throughout the event, which was held against the swanky backdrop of Orchestra Hall. The event also doubled as a punctuation mark to cap off the inaugural edition of Fashion Week Minnesota, which presented a week of events highlighting and celebrating the best in local fashion.

One of fall's biggest trends is the 1970s and all that comes along with it—bell sleeves and bell bottoms, fringe, crochet, vests, tie-dye, and Victorian-inspired high collars, plus shades of avocado green, burnt sienna, and harvest gold. For the fall edition of Envision, local designers picked up on the trend and reinterpreted it in their own styles.

ACG

For her Envision debut, Minneapolis designer Anna Chambers-Goldberg presented her first full fashion collection that incorporated her love of hand-dying and lovingly upcycled materials. Chambers-Goldberg's background in photography, printmaking, and painting were apparent in her hand-dyed fabrics and unconventional silhouettes. From a fashion perspective, she was most successful when she kept things simple, as in a taupe deep-V-neck jumpsuit and a frayed-denim dress—both wearable and on-trend yet tactile and unique. But an oversized tie-dyed dress paired with boots and bundled up with a scarf came off appearing heavy and drab instead of cool and breezy. (The natural-looking hair and makeup didn't help). And while an off-the-shoulder ruffled top was fun, it would have been more chic paired with a pair of skinny pants or something more streamlined to keep the proportions in check. With some editing and a little styling oomph, though, it's clear the ACG label is destined to become a go-to for simple and clean pieces with an artful twist.

Isaiah Stofferahn

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Isaiah Stofferahn

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Isaiah Stofferahn

Kjurek

Perhaps the line that has appeared on the Envision runway more than anyone else—if not for every single Envision show—Kjurek continued on its luxe-hippie vibe. This time, designers Kimberly Jurek and Jen Chilstrom's tie-dye treatment gave a rock 'n roll vibe to a slinky gown, and the print in a faux-fur chubby coat brilliantly had the appearance of being dip-dyed. Elsewhere, a (faux) leather top with a cape of leather fringe gave a goth-punk-club-kid boost to a dyed handkerchief dress, while a handkerchief wool poncho lended a luxe feel to a pair of embroidered bell bottoms. 

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Isaiah Stofferahn

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Isaiah Stofferahn

Isaiah Stofferahn

Cliché

The one non-designer collection shown at Envision over the past few years has come from Uptown boutique Cliché. Co-owner Delayna Sundberg always manages to bring a unique point of view and fun styling to the runway. For its fall showcase, the store took inspiration from the film The Piano, pairing stiff black paper bonnets (created by local artist Daniel Jaffe) and ominous black balloons with looks that combined black lace and white Victorian collars. Can we say that bonnets are officially a thing for fall?

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Tessa Louise

A few seasons into her Envision tenure, Tessa Louise designer Tessa Druley is starting to hit her stride, showing increasingly polished work each season. Her strengths lie in tailoring and wearability—everyone seated next to me at the show was oohing and ahhing over her chubby faux-fur jacket with oversized pockets (pictured below). Her execution was the most apparent in her pants, both a slit-knee bell bottom and a pleated-waist gaucho, and she gave a unique spin to a draped dress by pairing it with a leather holster. Don't get me wrong—her designs aren't exactly breaking the mold when it comes to fashion, but they're wearable and well-done with some unique design elements, a smart choice for a designer who wants her clothing to sell.

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Joeleen Torvick

Relatively new to the local fashion scene, Torvick studied abroad in London at the London College of Fashion, and worked as an understudy for David Rodriguez in New York before starting her line in 2010. For her Envision debut, the designer made a solid showing, incorporating architectural lines with feminine flounces. Her strongest pieces were her black, white, and grey pieces, which benefited from the starkness of the angular lines. I was less fond of looks that combined a salmon-pink print with jutting black lines and an ochre orange—it was too many things going on at once. As they say, sometimes less is more.

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Sarah Furnaé

Closing out the night was newcomer Sarah Furnaé, who started out strong with a forest-green sheer cropped peplum top and well-made pair of printed cigarette pants. The rest of the collection focused on over-the-top party dresses that seemed more destined for the stage—Lady Gaga, I'm looking at you—than the streets. While I admire the idea of a dress fully made out of feathers and a gown with pannier hips, white lace paired with rhinestone nipples paired with pannier waists was two design elements too many for one dress. Also, there was something off in proportions throughout the collection, with waists awkwardly hitting the models right under their breasts, and most of the pieces seemed unfinished. Despite my criticisms with the collection, it was a fun collection for the runway, and Miss Furnaé has some interesting ideas and plenty of potential. Now if she can take those ideas and edit and refine them, we could be looking at a designer with a bright future ahead. 

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Read more collection reviews from Envision Fall 2015 at more local fashion week coverage, visit mnmo.com/lifestyle. ACG, Kjurek, Tessa Louise, and Joeleen Torvick along with accessories retailer Hotrocity will be selling selections from their fall 2015 collections from 5–7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Showroom, 615 W. Lake St., Mpls., showroommpls.com

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