Photo courtesy FGI-MSP/Molly Smith
For our first foray into Fashion Week MN, we dipped our toes into a few events: the Minnstafashion preview to its gigantic kick off at the W Minneapolis — The Foshay, the Art of Leather at Queen Anna boutique, FGI’s Fall: Into Luxury runway show, and S’Habiller Avec Amour: To Dress with Love at the Workshop. When I was at S’habiller Avec Amour, I briefly talked with one person who said this was her third show in the last 24 hours and that she bought designer pants off a model earlier that day. If you ever have Fashion Week MN goals, this would pretty much be it.
We know we didn’t cover even a quarter of the 24-plus events of the week, but here are our thoughts on the ones we did:
From above right, clockwise: Minnesota Monthly editors wearing Bano eeMee jackets and designer Aleem Aref, a model wearing Bano eeMee, custom jacket options, Aleem Aref.
Photos courtesy Katie Ballalatak
The Art of Leather (Sept. 27)
Canadian leather designer Aleem Arif of Bano eeMee was visiting Queen Anna House of Fashion with fall selections and an opportunity for a custom leather jack consultation. While he had all of the swatches and style options there, for most people, it was a pleasant cocktail hour with delicious bites, sips, and a soft-spoken man whose creativity, strong values, and welcoming personality made him lovely to talk to.
Queen Anna’s owner Nicole Jennings has worked with Arif since her shop opened as part of spring 2017’s Fashion Week MN, and he is still the only person she goes to for leather apparel. From the get go, she fell in love with his sustainable and ethical practices, and after talking with him about how he uses biodegradable, traditional ways to tan his leather and supports two artisans for three days of work with every jacket, it’s not difficult to see why.
What struck me the most about his jackets, at least for the women’s part of his line, was how light the leather felt. A fun surprise, too, were the colorful linings in his jackets. In one, he had a print of Canadian geese against jewel tones to give a callout to Canada; in another, he chose a pattern of honeybees to remind people of their increasing endangerment. Arif told me he chose leather because if you take care of a jacket, it can stay with you for decades and it changes with you. Just like your own self, it takes on new, love-worn characteristics on the bones of its original beauty.
Fall Into Luxury (Sept. 27)
Minneapolis’s historic Van Dusen Mansion provided the perfect blend of ornate elegance for the Fall: Into Luxury fashion show on Thursday, September 27. Presented by Fashion Group International of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the glamorous event took guests on a visual tour of luxurious evening attire, showcasing over-the-top men’s formal wear as well as cocktail dresses and gowns completed with glittering jewelry and extravagant flower crowns. Styled by local stylist Richard Anderson, the runway presented the signature line from Minneapolis designer Joy Teiken of Joynoelle as well as looks from June, Milana Stile, Via’s Vintage, Heimie’s Haberdashery, MartinPatrick3, and more.
Below, editors Anna Bjorlin and Katie Ballalatak highlight a few of their favorite looks from the night.
PHOTOS COURTESY FGI-MSP/MOLLY SMITH
Top: The gentlemen of the evening smoldered in their own finery with ensembles full of rich shades and plenty of texture by Heimie’s Haberdashery, MartinPatrick3, and emerging designer Quinlan Milne-Rojek.
Left: Although we’re deep into fall fashion, the spring/summer trend of layered transparency in still in play. When paired with a flowing, diaphanous cape-coat to provide a little extra coverage, this delicate organza and tulle dress (part of Joy Teiken’s space-inspired 2018 collection) creates a dreamy, ethereal effect that’s as out-of-this-world as the designer originally meant it to be.
Center: Love it or hate it, the velvet trend is back again, and bigger than ever, with big fashion names like Alexander Wang and Oscar de la Renta featuring the luxuriously textured fabric in their own New York Fashion Week evening looks. Fall: Into Luxury did not miss the memo with this elegant ensemble: The rich burgundy-plum shade of the dress (from Via’s Vintage) is fitting for the cooler months, and the simplicity of the silhouette is offset perfectly with the over-the-top flower crown.
Right: While the concept of florals for spring isn’t exactly groundbreaking (according to the stylish and always-savage Miranda Priestly), florals for fall–and in Minnesota–is a rare phenomenon. This gown, courtesy of June, creates a stylish statement with its delicate lace overlay and soft, rosy shades. The gorgeous flower crown, with hanging white blooms and plenty of gold-leafed greenery, is the finishing touch that lends itself to a truly goddess-like appearance. No jewelry or further accessories needed!
Left: The full skirt and white blouse combo from Dugo (paired with a belt to add a pop of color) was by far the most casual look on the Fall: Into Luxury runway—but also the easiest to duplicate for everyday wear. Accessorized with a statement necklace from Milana Stile, this look is classy, flattering, and endlessly versatile on and off the runway.
Center: The first thought that comes to mind with this look might be Christmas (peep the elegant green gloves). Or maybe autumn. (We definitely referred to the model as “the beautiful leaf necklace girl” the next time she walked down the runway). But the vintage dress and gloves from Via’s Vintage paired with the crystal encrusted leaf necklace and stunning flower crown from Milana Stile is definitely a match made in heaven. Flower crowns have graced the runway all year (plus Beyoncé’s cover on the September 2018 Vogue issue) and it looks like they’re here to stay for just a little while longer.
Right: Fall fashion for 2018 is bringing textures and layers to the forefront, although few will be as stunning as this dress and draping coat duo from Joynoelle and statement necklace from Stephanie Lake Design. The elegant open back of the dress contrasted nicely with the statement necklace and added cuffs to the neck and the shoulders. And, the ribbon coat refined the look, making it one of the most memorable pieces on the runway.
Photos courtesy Shelly Mosmanz, bottom middle photo by William Clark
S’Habiller Avec Amour: To Dress with Love (Sept. 29)
In the original press release for S’Habiller Avec Amour, I saw the words “baroque,” “salon,” and “opera” and automatically (and naively) pictured a room with macaroons and pastels, floral prints and powdered wigs. Instead, I got a maximalist runway filled with a mix of vintage and dystopian moods, event lighting, and a dance party. The opera during the runway was there, provided by Sarah Jackson, but the melody soon gave way to a voiceover celebrating aging and industrial rumblings.
The event was directed and hosted by American portrait artist and photographer Shelly Mosman, and it drew on a number of local sources, including clothing designers Shenandoah Bauer and Carter Averbeck of Omforme, milliner Celina Kane, jeweler Jennifer Merchant Design, and vintage boutiques such as Golden Pearl Vintage.
The outfits ranged from vintage glam to incandescent robes to furred (and stylized) mountain men, and the models were of all ages—some rolled along suitcases as they made their journey along. Pattern went on texture went on pattern, and open silk lounge suits could be followed up by oversized knit sweaters or Bohemian dresses. While some people loved the playful interaction of these saturated textures, I loved the ones that were edited down a bit, like the woman who wore the all-black outfit with the fringe hat and cane, evoking Gothic romanticism, rigidity, and even some magic (to me) during her arm-in-arm walk with a child. On the flip side, an oversized, translucent plastic bow pinned to the back of a bold, absurdist full skirt and fuchsia blouse was whimsical and fun.
Full Fashion Panic (canceled)
We were intending on rounding out the week with the last event of the season, Full Fashion Panic at MCAD, but it was canceled due to designer illnesses. Curator (and Project Runway alum) Samantha Rei says that there will be a photo shoot of the collections at a later date, but for now, you will have to make due with looking up locals Anyse Mellott and Tonya Yardwood, Puvithel Rajan, and Yan Yan on your own.