by Jahna Peloquin
For her fifth anniversary, designer Kimberly Jurek - a bedrock of the current local fashion scene - celebrated with a name change (from kjurek couture to K.Jurek) and a more fully realized collection than ever before.
At first, it seemed against common sense to have a fashion show in a basement studio deep below the surface of Lyndale Avenue on a July evening. But the Arctic Studio space proved a smart choice, transporting the guest to another world - specifically, Fall 2010. The dimly-lit space felt more ultra-hip lounge than the more typical glossed-over hotel ballroom, all the more true to Jurek's laid back (yet chic) style.
The evening started off with an intriguing music-and-dance segment provided by singers and dancers of the traditional Puerto Rican "Bomba" and "Plena" style, headed up by longtime Jurek model Tearra Rosario. Rosario and her honey-voiced crew shimmied, shook and pulled their Jurek-designed skirts up over their heads as bongo drummers played along. It was a fittingly exotic start to the show.
From the first model who made her way out onto the square-shaped runway, it was clear that Jurek was making a bold move with her latest collection. Though it was still very true to Jurek's multi-cultural, relaxed vibe, the clothing was somewhat of a departure for the designer. For one, there were more separates than ever - tough, street-smart vests were layered over sheer, feminine blouses, while patterned mini skirts were given texture with brightly colored leggings, and sheer genie pants ballooned beneath wrap-style dresses. Fur trim (it was hard to tell whether it was faux or real) also added texture.
Still, there were some old Jurek favorites - a patio dress that exuberantly breezed across the runway here, a shawl-collared jacket there, and of course, Jurek's trademark kimono silhouette.
The bold African prints paired with feminine details gave the whole presentation a very Parisian-chic, urban-ready style. The intricately-wrapped headscarves and bold, anime-inspired eye makeup were particularly inspired. Kudos to Andrea Oseland (with assistance from Delayna Sundberg) on the styling of the show. Oseland also provided some of her bold, tribal jewelry from her Cocoquette line, as did Twisted Groove. The look was topped off with leather, fringed hobo bags (with real horsebit handles, as my seatmate, designer and horse expert Kerry Riley informed me) from Jurek's new line with Amanda Christine.
For the record, it should be noted that there were a few blaring construction issues on display. The seams on a teal legging were literally coming apart in various places, and some dresses and skirts would've benefited from a blind hem or wider hem.
But regardless, it was a standard-bearing show from a local, independent designer. It showed Jurek improving saleability in her garments without playing it safe, mixing bright colors and prints with staple black. And teamed with the space and the song-and-dance intro (not to mention some fab Ignite models working it on the runway), it was a truly complete event. In her most expansive collection to date, Jurek offered eclecticism at its best.
All photos by Isaias Zamarripa