Instead of the usual fall/winter Northern Vogue (which, in 2018, featured a lineup of almost half a dozen designers and 12 student designers), this year’s iteration was a black tie gala for the Foundation for Philippine Medical Missions. The presenters were officially W Minneapolis — Foshay and By Niche, but unofficially, they were Matthew Galaviz Reed and Lindsey Higgins. During the beginning of the dinner program, it’s clear that the crowd of about 200 was well acquainted with the two, and that rapport, as well as the relationship the two have with each other, kept everything feeling casual.
“We’ve been philanthropically minded from the beginning, and we always want to find a creative way to give back rather than writing a check at the end of the year,” Higgins says. “These charities in particular”—Northern Vogue has donated to Dress for Success in the past—“are ones that have low overhead and can really give every dollar that’s made to the people that are going to be benefitted.”
The event featured collections by Kristi Vosbeck and Abbie Ross as well as a local celebrity portion with looks styled by MartinPatrick 3 (Robert Elder), Ribnick Outwear, and TJE Fashions. Dinner was served by the Foshay’s in-house restaurant, which is owned by Manny’s Steakhouse. Additional entertainment was provided by pop violinist David Gerald Sutton and frontman Will Caesar of Some Shitty Cover Band—he (and the audience) really got into his cover of “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC. From a planning perspective, I can’t help but imagine that the scariest change was the price tag. The lowest ticket for the gala cost $225, but an after party option was kept accessible at $25.
While Higgins doesn’t know for sure what form Northern Vogue will take when it comes back for its spring/summer event, it will have the same stamp of professionalism and kindness that Higgins can’t get enough of.
“I always appreciate no matter how the event ebbs and flows that there’s a positivity and a creative spirit. There’s a really synergistic energy backstage and on stage that really fuels the whole brand,” Higgins says. To get a glimpse of what might be to come in six months (or to see what you missed this weekend), here are five notes:
Get your swag bags.
In the Northern Vogue Gala swag bags were: gift cards and discounts to Flirt Boutique, Kieran’s Kitchen Northeast, Pure Lux MedSpa, the Glow Lounge, the Salt Salon Spa Cafe, and Stephanie Lake jewelry; samples and trinkets from Queenie & Pearl, Excelsior Candle Co., F*ck Fifty, Sigma, and 2 Gingers; the Scout Guide (of course); a facial mask, shampoo, conditioner, and makeup sponge from W Foshay’s partners; and, my favorite, a macaroon from Cocoa & Fig. The swag bags were, in fact, swag.
Kristi Vosbeck’s designs are still glamorous.
The most stunning looks by Kristi Vosbeck were the two blue merle gray dresses with the glimmering beading all throughout the front. Favoring geometric patterns over soft curves or nature-inspired details, the dresses were elegant but strong. The other look that caught my eye was the silver snake-skin top and pants combination. While simple, it set off the beauty of the model and made her whole being the focal point, not just the outfit.
Abbie Ross has a more focused point of view.
The last time I saw Abbie Ross was during her debut as a student designer during Northern Vogue’s 2018 spring/summer show. Then, her mantra was “Fight like a woman.” This time, for her Phoenix ‘96 collection, it’s “Wear boxing gloves with lace.” Athletic wear, leather straps, lace, and the roundness of the boxing glove ran throughout her collection. Some of her looks baffled me, like the model with the winter coat worn as a skirt. Others evoked some of the aesthetic of her earlier collections, and many blurred gender signals. Some played with sexual fixations, such as a completely nude lace top, assless chaps, and a cutting leotard hemline that must have required a Brazilian wax. My favorite look brought me back to the original piece of hers I fell in love with, this time with a crimson skirt and a long sleeve shirt meant to show off broad shoulders and power.
MartinPatrick 3 has a new hype man?
Will Caesar was wearing one of the silent auction packages by Martinpatrick 3, and his blunt and endearingly pushy callouts for them made me grin. My favorite? “Get this look from MartinPatrick 3. The three stands for how much you’ll glow up. If you’re a four, you’ll be a seven; if you’re a seven, you’ll be a 10.”
It pays off to party.
Guests at the after party were treated to a guerilla fashion show featuring 11 designers who each showcased one of their outfits. A number of the designers were from St. Kate’s, but others included local names like Hi Hi Creative and Ashley of Gilded Roots. Each of the designers self-produced the look, finding the model and styling the hair and makeup on their own. “It was a last minute thing,” Higgens says. “We realized we wanted to give a little ode, a nod to the former Northern Vogue, which was like really streetwear and really raw and of the people.”
While some looks were decidedly less streetwear, the extra fashion show added a nice touch later in the evening. Maybe it’s foolish, but I wish it had been on the program instead of a guerrilla fashion show so the designers could get more program recognition and people could plan to stay.
Dec. 2 Update: While the final numbers aren’t in, Higgins estimates that the gala raised at least $10,000 for the Foundation for Philippine Medical Missions—more than a quarter of the nonprofit’s annual budget. Higgins says, “Since it was such a different event than seasons past, it was essentially a re-launch [of Northern Vogue]. We expect next gala seasons should be exponentially more lucrative for the benefitting charity, and to that end, have already received verbal commits from sponsors involved this year in double and triple amounts from this season. Regardless, we hope that the event raised awareness for a deserving organization.”