Stephanie Shimp opened the door to welcome the gang who descended on her home on a bitterly cold January day for her Minnesota Monthly photo shoot wearing pink skinny jeans, sequined ballet flats and the bring-it-on grin of a true adventurer. The co-founder of the Blue Plate Restaurant Company, featured in the March issue of MnMo, exuded the kind of warmth and confidence that allows her to embrace risk in everything she does—from throwing together quirky combinations of the leather, lace, leopard print and Librarian prim looks she loves to opening Blue Plate’s eighth restaurant, the Freehouse (in the North Loop), on December 16, in what they thought would be a pre-holiday lull.
Photo by Karen S. Schneider
“Opening a restaurant is like having a three-week-old baby,” said Stephanie, 43 (a single mother of two kids in elementary school). “You haven’t figured everything out yet. We hoped to be under the radar, but that didn’t happen. We were swamped. It was fun,” she said. “Or maybe it was just crazy.”
She wasted no time in pouring over the array of bright, bold spring fashion that stylist Claire Neviaser of BStyle had pulled from retailers across the Twin Cities. She especially loved the Helene Berman yellow jacquard bomber jacket from Nordstrom. “It’s very Chanel,” she said. “But cooler because of the fabric.”
She was also thrilled by the Dior shocking blue pumps from Nordstrom. “Can I keep these?” she joked.
The addition of a classic button-down print shirt from Banana Republic, a rich magenta Calabria pencil skirt from Anthropologie and her own pile of pearls (and trademark arty glasses) expressed Stephanie’s Librarian chic style perfectly.
And then came makeup. Stephanie was fascinated by the vast spread of powders, creams and colors that hair and makeup artist Shannon Darsow laid out. Stephanie had a single request: “I like a red lip.”
Photo by Karen S. Schneider
Shannon opted for a bright tint (“For spring, I like more purple and pink undertones than orange or brown,” Shannon explained) and added a natural flush to Stephanie’s cheeks with pink blush (“It works better on her coloring than coral”) and an extra dap of lighter foundation around her lips (“It stops the lipstick from bleeding and keeps it out of wrinkles on older women”). Her goal, Shannon said, was to “highlight her naturally gorgeous skin, play up important features like her brows and embrace her personality: fresh and vibrant with a pop of color.”
Stephanie welcomed Shannon’s advice. “I’m essentially a low-maintenance person when it comes to beauty. No one ever taught me what to do. I try not to leave the house without a little mascara and lipstick. And I put on tinted moisturizer everyday. Well, most days. I can get lazy. I stretch my haircuts out longer than I should. And I never, ever color it. I do get it blown out every once in a while. I tried it myself once but I’m not very good at it. It’s always so wild, some days curly, some days frizzy, some days flat. I like the change and the unexpected choices it gives me every day.”