Art-A-Whirl weekend kicked off with a fashion show in the Thorp Building with a retrospective of local fashion veteran Kerry Riley's work. "The Death of Red Shoe" commemorated her successful clothing line Red Shoe Clothing Co., and also gave the designer a chance to publicly announce that she is relaunching her designs under the new label Needle & Black.
As is an issue with many retrospective-style shows, the presentation felt slightly disjointed as it veered between the dramatic and the casual, the wearable and the couture. However, the looks provided an engaging summary of the designer's history in The Twin Cities. Riley's unique leather harnesses punctuated the collection, while her infinitely wearable jersey dresses in stripes and solids highlighted the chic accessibility that the designer has made her signature.
Riley's breezy summer dresses can be easily dressed up or down, and as the models sauntered through the open-air venue, I couldn't help but imagine spending the summer biking around the lakes in a Kerry Riley dress, wedge-heeled sandals and a straw fedora.
Red Shoe's swan song culminated with an ethereal dress that fluttered in the breeze as the model floated down the aisle on a summery swing. The finale gown's cathedral-length train danced as it caught the air, a suitability dramatic closing for such a successful local line.
Ever the gracious host, Riley closed the show with a few words about the line and many thanks to her family and friends. I was reminded of something that I often take for granted in the cities: Though plenty of our talented local designers continue to have great success, through and through, they are a humble and kind-hearted bunch. It's our very own version of "Minnesota nice."
[All photos by Stacy Schwartz]