Text and photos by Tara Sloane
Drizzly and chilly isn’t exactly prime weather for strutting about in swimwear, but even that didn’t curb the sunny enthusiasm of last Thursday’s Vita.mn pool side fashion show. Hosted by Alexis "On the Sexes" McKinnis and the always witty Christian-Philippe Quilici, the show was divided into three sections: daywear, eveningwear, and – of course – swimwear.
Lead stylist (and l’etoile staffer) Jahna Peloquin paired pieces from local designers such as Tender Cuts, Danielle Everine and Jenny Carle (from local boutique Cliché) and designer items from local shop Bumbershute with the likes of Mall of America stores like Burberry and Betsey Johnson, plus Bloomingdale's and Macy's. Meanwhile stylist John Sand headed up the menswear fashions with looks by independent designers Raul Osorio and Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman, a former local and Project Runway contestant, as well as MOA stores and local shops Len Druskin, BlackBlue and martinpatrick3. The women’s footwear was all about strappy nude and beige heels and cage platforms (many of which were from Aldo), and exotic jewelry pieces from Rox by Robyne Robinson provided an added dash of pizazz and local color throughout the show.
The daywear collection was perfection - models wore a mix of airy bow collar blouses, pastel-colored jackets and skirts, and vintage-inspired straw hats – a look very much English garden party or Anne of Green Gables (the ladies even carried baskets of flowers, an adorable touch). The prairie-swept braids and dainty buttoned and polka-dotted jumper make this look particularly charming, a sentiment mirrored in the men’s flower-adorned pockets and lapels.
Next up was evening wear, which saw floral headbands and flirty, ruffled skirts on the ladies and fitted shorts, bowties, and even a cane for the guys. Contrasting the daywear to brilliant effect was the bold, cool-toned color palate apparent in both the men’s and women’s collections. Perhaps the most stunning was a floor-length, turquoise-and-white-print wrap dress by Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman – the way it fluttered was absolutely ethereal, almost enough to make us thankful for the stormy breeze (almost). Another standout included the metallic grey, quasi-retro print shorts paired with a simple tee, both also by Coleman, with the red flower tucked in the back pocket for an added pop of color.
The final collection – swimwear – also featured bold brights for the women, while the men rocked shorter, beachy-classic swim trunks, exclusively from local swimwear shop Nani Nalu. One-piece suits had a strong showing – I particularly enjoyed the ruched white one with a single strap, a cute twist on an ultra-feminine standard. And the simple boyish plaid provided a completely wearable option for guys who’d shy away from lounging by the pool in anything black and fitted.
Overall, a show definitely worth the shivers. Here’s hoping that the summer sun – and with it these fabulous looks – will come back to grace the Twin Cities with another stylish season. To see more photos from the show, click HERE.