Spring Fashion Week in Minnesota kicked off last Friday with Envision, a semi-annual runway show featuring collections by some of the best fashion designers in the state. The show, which is produced by local modeling agency Ignite, began as a showcase for the agency’s models more than a decade ago. Since then, it has evolved into the Twin Cities’ best place to see locally designed fashion every spring and fall. The ambitious show featured seven-piece spring collections from a whopping nine designers (and one boutique, Cliché, which always serves up some stellar runway styling) in a fast-paced runway show. The fashions on display represented perhaps the most solid collection the event has ever presented. With a few exceptions, pieces were impeccably crafted, well styled, and chic-as-hell.
A minor quibble: This spring, the show made the jump from its longtime home at Orchestra Hall—a venue that served the show exceedingly well—to Machine Shop, a historic new event space in the St. Anthony Main area of Minneapolis. As can be the case when a well-oiled machine moves to a new venue, there were a few minor challenges: Unlike Orchestra Hall, sightlines were not great for those stuck in general admission, and due to the new layout, it was harder to get a good look at what the models were wearing, even for those in the front row. (I’d suggest models make a second runway trip to give the audience a second look.) It was also a bummer to lose the VIP room curated by Public Functionary at Orchestra Hall, although the hip gallery gets credit for booking neo-funk band Zuluzuluu, which performed a solid set during the show’s intermission.
[Updated to add: Envision’s producer Allison Vaillancourt clarifies that the upstairs of Machine Shop where Zuluzuluu performed served the Public Functionary VIP room essentially. “We just fused all of their additions into the event space in general rather than having a separate room,” she says, adding that the band, runway DJ Sarah White, the video artist, and the photo booth were a combined effort between Ignite Models Inc. and Public Functionary this year.]
Due to the breadth of the show, I’m writing this review in three parts, in order from beginning to end. Read Part 2 (George Moskal, Idle Child, and ACG) and Part 3 (Sarah Furnaé, Form over Function, and Emily Trevor). All images by Jay Larson
This season, local brand Kindred Folk—made up of designers Kimberly Jurek and Jen Chilstrom—combined its sustainable style with local art. The duo joined forces with Minneapolis-based painter Mary Olson for a collection that featured original painted fabrics, silk screening, and hand dying in bright spring colors paired with bold stripes and hydrangea-inspired accessories. The collection was something of a departure for the brand, which typically skews toward edgier, boho, rock ‘n’ roll-inspired looks. I simply love this new direction for them—it was a refreshing twist on the brand’s long-established aesthetic and a fresh way to start the show.
I also loved the bold teal and yellow eye makeup worn by the models, courtesy of makeup artist Andrea Holton.
Reinier Vigoa made his local runway debut at Envision last fall. While it was a promising debut, it wasn’t without its flaws. But with his latest collection, the designer really seemed to come into his own. There was a real sense of confidence and direction in the line—the construction was flawless, the looks were timeless yet on-trend (I loved his unique take on the cold-shoulder trend), and the color story was fresh. The Caribbean-born designer’s aesthetic is strongly influenced from his time living in Miami, and it shows, particularly in his use of lightweight fabrics, subtly sensual slits and cutouts, and an urban-meets-nautical vibe.
Designer Kyra Lawrow-Svedvik was also a new face at last fall’s Envision show, and got some attention for her ’70s-inspired shaggy faux-fur jackets made from vintage high-end teddy bear fabric. Her spring collection takes inspiration from lemonade, and the optimistic adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” There were a number of gorgeous pieces from the line, including a floral cropped jacket, lemon-yellow swing dress, a floral-print blue dress, and silky electric-blue jumpsuit, that showed the designer’s fantastic eye for fabrics, details, and construction. But the collection didn’t come together as a whole to me; it seemed like the seven-piece line was pieced together from three different collections. While a little editing will go a long way, overall, I’m impressed with the designer’s design eye and her craftsmanship.
While it’s not technically showcasing local looks, Cliché remains a staple of the Envision shows, thanks to its always-inventive styling. This time, the Uptown shop took a slightly more subdued approach than usual—with no towering headpieces to be found—but still offered up a strong point of view: 1950s rockabilly babe meets 1970s hippie, with a dash of classic nautical. The color story (shades of blue, pink, red, and black) was fresh, and the accessories were too-die-for (especially the biker caps and boots covered with pointy studs and lightning bolts).
Where to buy:
Kindred Folk: Available @ Showroom, 615 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, 612-345-7391, kindredfolkmpls.com
Reinier Vigoa: Available by request @ reiniervigoa.com
Kyra Deva: Available beginning May 8 @ kyradeva.com
Cliché: 2403 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-870-0420, clichempls.com