Okay, so first night out last night as the official Style Editor of Minnesota Monthly. What better venue than the Ready or Hot Planned Parenthood fashion show and dance party at Aria? I’ll admit I spent more than a reasonable amount of time piecing together my Coming Out outfit. As I stood in the drink line—I don’t actually drink drink; just water I pretend is a cocktail—a handsome, well-dressed man walked up next to me and took in my carefully curated ensemble: my favorite black Balmain skinny jeans, my vintage Chanel jacket (and by vintage I mean I bought it new on the sale rack at the Oval Room 20 years ago), a pink silk Oscar de la Renta blouse with ruffles spilling recklessly down the front, a Lanvin faux pearl and black ribbon necklace I bought at Maxfield Bleu in L.A. 15 years ago, and, perched on my left shoulder, the pièce de résistance—an exquisite black crystal and silver spider pin.
“Hey,” he said. “I love your glasses.”
This is why I need to start drink drinking.
TC Style contributor Fatima Olive with Minnesota Monthly Style Editor, Karen Schneider
Photo courtesy of Planned Parenhood
Clothes, or more accurately, outfits, are like kids. You spend endless amounts of time and energy (not to mention money) crafting them into something perfect, a just-so reflection of who you are and what you value in life, and then you send them out into the world and discover they have a life of their own—and what you wanted or intended has nothing to do with it. I mean, seriously, my glasses? I hate wearing glasses. I only do it because I got old and noticed one day while getting groceries at Lunds that I couldn’t read the signs above the aisles. But waddaya gonna do? Like always, the universe wins.
The good news is I still had a great night. The outfits on the runway (the pieces we were supposed to be paying attention to anyway) were gorgeous and inspirational and, as host Grant Whittaker said, “fashion-forward.” They were full of spit and vinegar and explosions of color and pattern that didn’t go together and still looked perfect together. The single most beautiful piece was a flowy, fluttery, cream, yellow, and pale pink gown handcrafted by local designer Joy Noelle.
It looked like it was make of silk; it was actually made of condoms.
Talk about a Statement Piece.
Condom Dress by JoyNoelle
Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood
Dress and condom shawl by Lindsey Hopkins
Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood CEO Sarah Stoesz made sure the crowd kept in mind the evening’s underlying mission: to bring awareness (and funding) to the work Planned Parenthood does in the Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota areas providing healthcare to nearly 70,000 women and men a year (whether they have insurance or not), performing cancer screenings to more than 25,000 women, distributing contraception to nearly 350,000 people, and educating more than 35,000 clients about reproductive health care—in other words, talking about sex. As Stoesz said, “Who doesn’t want a safe place to talk about sex?”
Always passionate, articulate, and funny, Stoesz was also beautifully on trend in a Patrick Cohen dress from Grethen House and a one-of-a-kind Stephanie Lake necklace. All the real-life models who strutted—literally—down the runway in bold, exciting and easily wearable works from local shops drew cheers from a rowdy crowd. But the hit of the night was without a doubt 91-year-old author Joan Kennedy, who looked stunning in a black gown by Laundry from Minq and a purple fur stole from Mona Williams slung diagonally across her shoulder. She was elegant, edgy and having the time of her life.
Now that’s aspirational fashion.