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Review: Fusion+Fashion 2015


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A look by MSR Architecture Firm at the 2015 Fusion+Fashion show

Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Now in its 10th year, IIDA Northland's annual Fusion+Fashion show lit up Muse Event Center in November. Taking inspiration from Project Runway's non-traditional materials challenges, the event is a friendly competition among members of the local design industry that challenges interior designers to create garments out of materials typically used in interior design—mosaic tiles, upholstery, and paint chip samples. Teams from 23 design firms and studios, plus a handful of area design students, competed in nine categories including "Most Unique Material," "Best Stage Presence," and "Most Wearable" for top nods, as selected by a panel of judges including local beauty expert Julie Swenson, interior designer Kara Wheeler (ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), and fashion designer Tara LaTour.

Entries ran the gamut from post-apocalyptic Mad Max, to 21st-century Judy Jetson, to haute-couture ice queen, and beyond.

Best in Show: LIV•Aveda Salon & Spa

Look: LIV•Aveda Salon & Spa / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

The lone salon competing against a slew of design firms, this Mankato Aveda salon took "Best in Show" honors. While their look inspired by famed British designer Alexander McQueen wasn't the most unconventional of looks—the cut-paper and tinfoil were clearly sewn onto a professionally made, fabric gown in a traditional silhouette—it was impeccably made. Their smart use of branding and props—a silver bottle of Aveda Air Control hairspray in each hand—gave them the winning edge. (My pick: Studio Bauen)

Best in Show - 1st Runner Up: Studio Bauen

Look: Studio Bauen / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: Studio Bauen / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

St. Paul design firm Studio Bauen offered the most haute-couture moment of the evening with their design, inspired by the patterns found in nature—specifically, a honeycomb-like dress that wouldn't have been out of place in the whimsical wardrobe of Effie Trinket. They placed second, though because of the more unconventional materials they used (and the unconventional silhouette they created), I would have argued for them to have landed in first place over LIV Salon's comparatively more conventional look. The intricate wood headpiece was also impressive in its own right. (My pick: BKV Group)

Best in Show - 2nd Runner Up: University of Wisconsin–Stout

Look: UW–Stout / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Two interior design students from UW–Stout, Emily Gross and Madi Goodrich, landed in third place, thanks in large part to their use of LED-lit materials. It made for a futuristic, stylish look, befitting of a 21st-century Judy Jetson. (My pick: Boys and Girls Clubs of Central MN)

People's Choice: LIV•Aveda Salon & Spa

Best Interpretation of Muse: Studio Grey

Look: Studio Grey / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

One of the requirements of the Fusion+Fashion show is taking inspiration from a muse of choice. Studio Grey, an interior architectural and design firm based in Northeast, took Minneapolis creative director Liz Gardner as inspiration—as well as the phrase "don't shrink yourself," which Gardner once said in an interview. It's hard to say exactly how this inspiration took shape in a pair of looks beyond the identical-twin models' physicality—who, like Gardner, were tall and thin with long blonde hair. Other than that, it appeared to be fairly conventional clothing, apart from the sheer plastic rain jacket filled with inspirational messages. (My pick: BKV Group)

Best Stage Presence: Dunwoody College of Technology

Look: Dunwoody College of Technology / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Students from the Dunwoody College of Technology smartly used local burlesque star Queenie Von Curves as both their model and muse in a look that matched her signature, rainbow-colored locks. When you have a professional entertainer as your model, you can't go wrong when it comes to stage presence. And sure, the look is a little all over teh place, but at least they incorporated some unconventional materials into it, such as the white netting train and accordion-pleated cardboard bust.

Best Hair and Makeup: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture

Look: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

While it got a well-deserved nod for best hair and makeup, it would have been good to see this look score higher. I figured it was a shoe-in for Best in Show, thanks to the impressively constructed feather headdress and paper skirt. In fact, the eyebrows and lipstick look a bit off, and the hair is not all that noteworthy—it's the crown that does it. (My pick: UW–Stout)

Most Unique Building Material: USGBC-MN

Look: USGBC-MN / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

My response to this look winning for Most Unique Building Material is hmmm...really? I suppose the swirl of sheet metal seemed like a good idea on paper, but in reality, it flopped every time the model took a step, threatening to take her off the stage altogether at times. And the rest of the look was a big nothing—a sheet of fabric strapped onto a basic white dress. (My pick: Studio Bauen)

Most Wearable: RSP Architects

Look: RSP Architects / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

I can't really take issue with RSP's look winning Most Wearable. The skirt was actually quite cute for those who lean toward the rockabilly/Bettie Page look (though the bodice was terribly fitted. These are interior designers, after all, not fashion designers). But isn't this an unconventional materials challenge?

Most Avant Garde: Atmosphere Commercial Interiors

Look: Atmosphere Commercial Interiors / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

This colorful, cut-paper look with a hoop skirt deserves its nod for Most Avant Garde for its use of unconventional materials, and it was clearly well-made. The silver headpiece—perhaps a decor piece of some kind?—and matching silver pumps were a nice touch. (My pick: Studio Bauen)

Some more honorable mentions of my own:

Boys and Girls Clubs of Central MN, which included a beautifully made, moss-like gown covered by a gilded cage:

Look: Boys and Girls Clubs of Central MN / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Like, seriously, how did that not place? And also, serious props go out to BKV Group, which also didn't place, despite their stunning mosaic cape and cut-felt skirt:

Look: BKV Group / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: BKV Group / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

BKV Group would have been my pick for Best Interpretation of Muse; they chose Antoni Gaudí, the best-known architect of the Catalan modernism movement, along with the Art Nouveau Modernism and Gothic Revival movements as their point of inspiration, and it was apparent in the baroque, architectural structures pieces the look.

And I would've added the category of Best Showmanship and given it to either Dunwoody's Queenie von Curves rainbow look, or LIV•Aveda's hairspraying ice queen look.

More looks from the 2015 Fusion+Fashion show:

Look: bdh+young interiors | architecture / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: NewStudio Architecture / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: Cuningham Group / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: SUMN Student Team / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: Intereum, Inc. / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: The Demo Group / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: Hendricksen design / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: St. Catherine University / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: Perkins+Will / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: nelson / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Look: ESG Architects / Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Image: Joe Krummel Photography + Design

Hosts Falen Lambert (KDWB's Morning Show) and Natalie Nyhus (WCCO's Saturday Mornings show) with models

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