Our Notes: Spring 2019 Fashion Week MN

Our editor went to three of the 15 events that made up the week
The first runway of spring 2019 Fashion Week MN: A Night of Lexurie Season 2 by Alexis Brazil
Two looks from the first runway of spring 2019 Fashion Week MN: A Night of Lexurie Season 2 by Alexis Brazil

Ella Sophia Photography

The events I went to for spring Fashion Week MN had smaller crowds because they were in smaller venues. Really, though, this only impressed upon me the idea of a fashion community, not a show—the idea that these events are not only for individual success but for connecting.

From above left, clockwise: Some of Ali Honda's looks, then a number of Alexis Brazil's.
From above left, clockwise: A photo of Hodan Ali’s looks, then a number of Alexis Brazil’s.

Ella Sophia Photography

A Night of Lexurie Season 2 (April 28)

Alexis Brazil’s A Night of Lexurie Season 2 had some shining model presences and uncluttered designs. The location choice and set up was prime—everyone had a great view—which when combined with DJ KReeves’ playlist, made the wait for the show OK. On the upside (and as a surprise), in addition to a song and a dance, there were two designer collections showing: one by Hodan Ali inspired by Hawaii, and the other, of course, by Alexis Brazil, called Meraki—a Greek word for leaving a piece of yourself in your work.

The pieces in Ali’s collection were awash with clay tones and shades of goldenrod and yellows and accented by an over-sized, natural-looking Hawaiian floral print on a slate seaglass color. For the most part, her pieces spoke high-end streetwear—my favorite was the paired print khakis and blazer with a mustard tube top—with three more formal dresses.

As for Brazil’s collection, the first few pieces of the collection seemed to adhere to the idea of elevated and couture streetwear, like her rainbow rich jumpsuit and ivory floral coat dress, but some pieces in the middle and near the end felt distinctly more evening. The gold-embroidered lace leotard with feather fringe and floor-length train, the ruffled and Victorian-inspired gauzy dress, and the blush-colored mermaid gown specifically come to mind. With a vibrant red color and other garments in burnt sienna orange or olive green, Brazil didn’t shy away from color when she felt inspired, and for that, I commend her in creating simple looks where the person can be what people see, accented by the outfit, not the other way around.

A Note on Beauty: While I commend Lexis’ desire to live a more inclusive and diverse beauty in her model choices, I am also excited for the day where designers don’t have to announce it. They can just do it because that’s how our perception of beauty has evolved; It just is these things we want it to be.


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You’re a Gem (May 3)

I must confess, I have never really looked into the Ice Cream Museum, the purported inspiration for jewelry maker Larissa Loden’s You’re a Gem Museum. Looking at various web images and articles after my visit, I can see the resemblance. My main impression was this: I wanted to take it and make it into a cafe. Like, that might sound weird, but I loved the upbeat vibes, the bright colors, the different sections depending on your mood; I could see myself going there again and again with friends, ordering off an obviously trendy menu and chatting away.

Anyway, I digress for the nuts and bolts of it: Loden and others in the artist community (Araya Jensen, Ashley Mary Art, Celina Kane, Girl Friday, Kevin Kramp, and Pink Linen) created installations inspired by gemstones used in Loden’s work. Like a good museum, each installation had a sign saying how the gem inspired the work. It’s 100 percent an Instagram junkie’s heaven. My favorite features of it were the sunshine-colored ball pit (which was pleasingly long and wadeable), Kane’s simple but effective rows of opalescent fringe, and Kramp’s geode-inspired room. For an introvert like myself, it was wonderfully cozy with blues, purples, and metallics streaking through the shadow pigments. (For Game of Thrones lovers, it also evokes the image of dragon stone, just a bit.)

Unlike other Fashion Week MN events, this experience is going on through the 19th (swing by during Art-a-Whirl). Although the free refreshments and Leonetti Confetti and Selfie & Co. were opening night party perks, everyone who visits gets a complimentary tote bag, pin, and rock candy.

A few looks from Houston White's King Kunta collection
A few looks from Houston White’s King Kunta collection

Lianna Matt McLernon

HWMR: King Kunta (May 4)

HWMR’s fashion show for its new King Kunta line was short, but it was nothing if not well received. The event took place at the HWMR barbershop, which prides itself on being a place of Black Excellence and community. Caution tape delineated where the models were going to walk, and as we waited for the show to start, phones were out constantly to record the moment and the crowd.

The show started off with a sound clip from Roots, where you hear Kunta Kinte refuse to give up his name. Then it kicked off into a show playlist that fit the room perfectly.

With some more flowing, softer looks by one of his interns and a strong streetwear aesthetic throughout, the collection kept to a palette of yellow, red, black, and pale pink. The King Kunta image of a great ape made up eye-catching back panels on jackets, but designer Houston White’s Black Excellence message and branding was sprinkled throughout as well, which, at least to me in retrospect, kept up the message that in everything you do, that is still a part of you.

The bold looks were augmented by excellent styling with gold and silver pieces interwoven throughout the hair of the men and women suggesting, if not crowns, natural born royalty. The models without this treatment had coordinating head scarves, a do rag, or in one case, a fierce golden face chain that commanded attention and deference, not coquetry.

At the end of the show, White spoke a little about what has happened in his personal life from last year’s Fashion Week event to this one. His words and his overflowing gratitude spoke a little of his own dreams, an ever-growing and supportive community (many of whom he mentioned by name), and his excitement for the future. Whether or not you were familiar with HWMR before, his earnest eloquence made you want to know just what exactly was happening at this self-proclaimed “mecca for black men.”