Fashion Week MN in Review: Silhouette

Last weekend, Fashion Week MN got an early start with Silhouette, a first annual benefit fashion show produced by Minneapolis-based HopeWorks Foundation to raise funds for a new self-sustaining, solar powered children’s home in Haiti. For the occasion, the organization tapped some top-notch local talent: fashion designers Christopher Straub and Caroline Hayden, who both brought their A games for a good cause. Founded in 2005 by Tim and Michelle Lively, HopeWorks is working to generate awareness and raise funding for humanitarian efforts in Haiti.

Straub started things off with ten looks from his fall/winter 2015 collection (the other half of which will be shown at Curated Style on October 9 at the Mall of America as part of its upcoming Fall Art + Style Series). The collection showcased the Shakopee designer at his best yet: Silhouettes were fresh and up-to-date, with cool-girl styling like a t-shirt-cut top paired with a ball gown skirt. Elsewhere, he showed off his tailoring skills with a pair of perfectly tailored satin pants (something that is not easy to pull off) in the color of the moment—taupe.

The rich color scheme of teal, midnight blue, gold, and taupe was another plus, and ornate jewelry by local designer Stephanie Lake added to the luxe feel of the collection. Straub’s signature petal-work took a new twist with a larger, floatier shape he said was inspired by a fish fossil—and was deployed best in a teal crop-top and pencil skirt look, a teal drop-waist, t-shirt-cut dress, and a long-sleeved top in midnight blue. That detail proved less effective in both a shapeless, pale-gold blouse with droopy-looking petals running down the sleeves, and a finale dress in which the petals gave it the appearance of being bottom-heavy and stiff. And while I appreciate Straub’s penchant for creating original prints, I felt the brown-and-taupe print featured throughout the collection clashed with the rich colors elsewhere in the collection. Still, it was a solid, chic effort from one of Minnesota’s brightest fashion stars.

all photos by Josh Stokes

Despite hailing from Crookston, Minnesota, designer Caroline Hayden designs clothing that is a far cry from middle America—it’s sophisticated, luxurious, well-made, and slightly unusual. For her ten-look capsule collection made exclusively for the Silhouette benefit, she went on a minimal trek, showing a mix of flowing dresses and elegant two-piece sets that were remarkable in their restraint and quiet beauty. Rendered in her signature silk-georgette—she has told me she loves the way it moves—and a metallic-painted tweed, the collection incorporated subtle oval and square shapes. (And I loved the unexpected pairing of such feminine pieces with menswear-style, silver brogues.) To create such simple pieces demonstrates a great deal of confidence for the designer, has cemented her reputation as one of the state’s top designers.

HopeWorks co-founder Michelle Lively and host Lindsey Herzog of Ruby Girl

Looks by Tess Ross

Designers Caroline Hayden and Christopher Straub goof around backstage before the show

Designers Caroline Hayden and Christopher Straub pose backstage with their collections

Hair and makeup: HAUS Salon

Runway production: Ignite Models Inc.