Our intrepid intern, Morgan Mercer, attended Twelve, the U of M fashion show this past weekend. Check out her review and video! —Katie
A full house eagerly waited the unveiling of eleven collections from this year’s graduating University of Minnesota designers. In my experience, senior shows can be a mixed bag. I approached with caution, but was blown away as a phenomenal senior show developed before my eyes. The range of styles was incredible and the cohesiveness of most collections was impressive. I walked away feeling inspired. This was not a graduation requirement the seniors begrudgingly worked hours to fulfill, but a professional undertaking—a show that gave us hope for Minnesota’s future in local and national design.
Watch our video of the show and read about how each designer fared. —Morgan
Inspiration: Coastal breezes and warm, sunny embraces
- Swimwear that transitions to vacation day wear
- Bright color pops
Our take: The real magic started with her swimwear and the gorgeous sheer overlays she used to transition them to fun day wear.
Inspiration: Street wear fused with high fashion to redefine professional wear
- Neons done right
- Sweetheart necklines and cute crop tops
Our take: We can’t see anyone getting away with cropped tops or sheer midriffs in the office, but we loved the neutral/neon combination.
Inspiration: Vintage photographs and silhouettes from the 1950s and ’80s
- Each look made solely of recycled vintage clothing
- Gloves and shirt details on back
Our take: We liked the Pan Am/hillbilly chic vibe and the idea of reusing clothes from the past (it gave Kachelmacher great textures to work with). But the billowiness of some tops had us crossing our fingers, hoping we weren’t front row to another Janet Jackson-inspired wardrobe malfunction.
Inspiration: Luscious Las Vegas gardens
- Sheer fabrics/draping on the back
- Hand-dyed linen and silk prints she designed
Our take: The silk prints Hillman designed were unique, but overall the collection felt safe.
Inspiration: Modern-day Marie Antoinette with a touch of the sea
- First brocade dress
- Light pink pants
Our take: After seeing her first look (bold, fun, and flirty) we had high hopes, but the rest of the collection didn’t match. The others looks couldn’t compete with the flattering fit of the first dress.
Inspiration: Contemporary elegance and impressions of the past
- Laser cut swirl designs
- Opening dress
Our take: We loved the innovation in using the laser cuts as cap sleeves, but the dress forms felt hit or miss. The silhouettes of the first/last dresses were great, but the others seemed less high fashion and fell flat.
Inspiration: Busy female executives who need garments to transform and fit their needs
- Transformational garments—sleeves that fold down and color accents that emerge
- Color-blocking that slims the body
Our take: The changeable details—like the dress with fold down cap sleeves—made typical work wear more interesting.
Inspiration: A scuba diver and his crazy underwater adventures (like meeting a stingray)
- The stingray suit
- Body-hugging construction and mix of fabrics
Our take: We’re stealing her stuff. For ourselves, and the men in our lives. Function, meet fashion. What a perfect combination.
Inspiration: The men’s business suit meets the progressive movement of fashion
- Sheer white gauziness
- Fresh, unorthodox ideas
Our take: Light and airy, her collection felt goddess-like at times. She exaggerated proportions, scale and restricted her models’ movement, turning the typical men’s suit on its head. Our biggest question—can her innovative ideas become functional and transition to ready-to-wear?
Inspiration: Gothic architecture and Parisian cathedrals
- Construction—a great pair of pants
- Oxblood (deep maroon)—a color taking over fall runways of established designers (according to the Wall Street Journal)
Our take: You can’t deny the beauty and care Hillmann gives to construction. The distinct architecture and line to each piece added nice detail, but also made some looks feel stiff.
Laura Van Riper
- Ethereal loveliness (see first look)
- Two-piece (bodice, high-waisted skirt), ruffle extravaganza wedding dress
Our take: We adored the young playfulness of the first look, and the gorgeous execution of the ruffled wedding gown. But where does that bridesmaids dress with the ugly flower add-on fit in this otherwise stunning collection?