Tuesday, October 6, 2009

MNfashion Week Recap #5: 9/26

Saturday, September 26: SCENEaSOTA, Invigorate, & Worn to be Wild

by Jahna Peloquin

It’s Saturday night, and everything seems to be coming full circle. Spirits are high as the who’s who in the local fashion community gather in the Ignite Modeling studio for the second annual SCENEaSOTA fashion show.

[A look by Renate Adjei / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

The first five designers included returning SCENEaSOTA designers Renate Adjei, Carmichael Claith and Jenny Carle, and newcomers Ashley Busch and Kathryn V. Without the touch of stylist Angie Hanson, everything would’ve have come across as fairly basic. At best, the clothing was wearable and well-made, particularly from Renate Adjei and Carmichael Claith, who showed some interesting details and mostly-nice-looking fabrics. Adjei added a twist to her usually feminine shapes in soft fabrics by incorporating African-print fabrics from her native Ghana and stiffer fabrics for more structured silhouettes.

[A look by Carmichael Claith / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

For her part, Carmichael showed increasingly sophisticated silhouettes from the last time we saw her at Voltage this past spring; her plaid hooded capelet was quite adorable, and she added some interesting twists in proportion on some of the skirts and tops. But overall, this group of designers seemed unable to inject much personality into the clothing, seeming to prefer saleability over pushing it design-wise. But from my spot on the runway I could see more than a few puckering seams and straggling threads from the other designers, and cheap-looking fabric abounded. If Michael Kors or Nina Garcia would’ve seen that on the “Project Runway” stage, they would get have gotten themselves a tongue-lashing!

[A look by Emma Berg / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

Fittingly, the finale of the show came courtesy of Emma Berg. Her collection of dresses and separates in innovative silhouettes and textured fabrics was truly covetable, and for the more fearless, actually wearable. Berg seems to have a knack for taking a classic silhouette – her red satin cocktail dress, for instance – and skewering it by having a missing sleeve here, an off-center gather there. It’s of course not shocking to see how Berg’s fine art background has influenced her work. This, I thought, is truly fashion - in providing new silhouettes and twists on classic shapes in clothing, Berg is the rare designer that transforms the simple craft of clothing design into something more of an art form. (View all SCENEaSOTA photos HERE courtesy Digital Crush.)

[An Elsworth look at Invigorate / Image by Alec Lindsey]

Berg took her bow, and I bowed out to try and make it to the Lab Theater in time to catch some of the “Invigorate” fashion show put on by local men’s boutique Elsworth. I arrived unfortunately too late to grab my assigned seat, but I there in time to catch some fall men’s trends. According to the dashing men of Elsworth, including owner Keith Dorsett and shop boy/stylist Jordin Filas, layering and texture seem to be key, and this season stark blacks and greys are accented by deep color and touches of haberdashery. If you think a bowtie only works on geek-chic hipsters, think again – the runway showed that a man’s man can look confident and retro-sexy in that old-time throwback way. Spotted in the front row: Teqen Aida-Zea, co-owner of Vision Models; and MNfashion board members Sara Tonko (in an immaculate Max LohrbachDesign Collective) and Jessica Palkowitsch. dress from

[Solid Gold+Anthem Heart t-shirts / Image by Kevin O'Meara]

Next up I headed to the official SCENEaSOTA after party and MNfashion event, “Worn to Be Wild: Anthem Heart Studio Series” held at local t-shirt screen-printer Anthem Heart’s Northeast studio. Anthem Heart co-owner Ken Hannigan was joined on the printer by Matt Locher of Solid Gold, where they mashed-up the signature Solid Gold t-shirt design with an Anthem Heart flair.

[Sara Tonko in Max Lohrbach with friend at Anthem Heart Studio / Image by Stacy Schwartz for MNfashion]

With a rotating crew of nimble-fingered DJs (including l'étoile's own Juleana Enright aka Dues ex Machina), cheap drinks, and an eclectic crowd of party guests, it was truly an old-school warehouse-style party that went on into the wee hours of the night. A fitting end to MNfashion Week, if there could ever be one. (If you missed this party, and your chance to snag a limited-edition screen-printed t-shirt, Anthem Heart’s next studio series is happening Oct. 24, in which they’ll be releasing a brand-new version of their iconic “Minneapolis” shirt.) (View more party photos HERE.)

[The view at the Anthem Heart party / Image by Hannah Chang Schroeder]

Check out my previous recaps of MNFashion Week HERE, HERE , HERE and HERE. And a mini one from Kate HERE.

See MNFashion Week photos by our staff photog, Stephen Stephens HERE.

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