Review: Women United Flight of Fashion 2015

Greater Twin Cities United Way’s giving community, Women United, recently hosted its 6th annual Flight of Fashion event. Held at the Muse Event Center in North Loop, the event’s theme revolved around a historical retrospective of fashion to celebrate United Way’s centennial year, with a runway show styled and produced by the event’s host, Grant Whittaker, who was joined for each segment by notable women from the community (including Minnesota Monthly’s own food columnist, Sue Zelickson). Whittaker offered lively commentary following each runway segment, which were organized by decade: 1920s–’30s, 1940s–50s, 1960s–’70s, 1980s–’90s, and the 2000s. Culling from a mix of costume (Guthrie Theater’s costume shop), local boutiques (Grethen House,  Scarborough Fair Shop), and thrift stores (Ragstock), Whittaker mingled vintage with modern to showcase looks that were more inspired by the decades referenced than directly period. The message seemed to be how to wear vintage and make it look modern—and how to give today’s styles a timeless feel.

Unsurprisingly, the standout segments were some of the most ostentatious decades: the Roaring ’20s, the Swinging ’60s, and the Me Decade, the 1970s. A 1920s-era crimson silk gown from the Guthrie was paired with a new black mink from Ribnick Fur & Leather and long beaded necklaces by local designer Gretchen Ventura. Another standout look was a chartreuse 1920s gown that wouldn’t have been out of place in The Great Gatsby. A bridal gown by local designer Joy Teiken was given a throwback feel when paired with a Ribnick fur and cloche hat. It was classic Whittaker high-low styling: One look may include a $20,000 piece from Ribnick Fur; the next, a $5 1970s printed caftan from Ragstock.

A surprise finale segment featuring children decked out in all manner of colorful garb and wigs ended the evening on a buoyant note—as it well should have: All of the event’s proceeds go to the Women United program, which supports school success for children and financial stability for women. To learn more about Women United, visit

all photos: Craig Lassig

Additional looks from: House of 365, Maha Boutique, MINQ, Mona Williams, Primrose Park, Corset Styling & Fashion Boutique, Fashion Avenue, and Stephanie Lake Design.