Text by Juleana Enright
Photos by Ellen Dahl Lawson of the Minneapoline
& Christian Erickson
Fashion-forwards and stylish Minneapolians didn't let the heat index spoil their rooftop soiree last Wednesday evening. The guests of Flourish gathered atop Crown Plaza's chic and serene skygarden, dressed to impress, wielding Vitaminwater ZERO-fused cocktails and primed to enjoy a creative fashion competition between a handful of the cities' most innovative and talented designers. Seven eclectic designers were each given a bottle of a new flavor of Vitaminwater ZERO for inspiration and then pared against one another in a Project Runway-esque challenge to create a high-fashion look that represented a unique, conceptual interpretation of their flavor.
Emceed, styled and co-produced by l'etoile's own Fashion Editor and freelance fashion stylist, Jahna Peloquin, Flourish delivered a visually sassy runway fashion show judged by local fashion experts, MNfashion Executive Director, Anna Lee; METRO Magazine's Fashion Editor, Mary O'Regan; and Aveda Institute guest coordinator, Keisha Harris. The show featured fashion designers, Laura Fulk, Kerry Riley (Needle & Black), Calpurnia Peach, Max Lohrbach, Emma Berg, Ivan Idland and Danielle Everine and jewelry from ROX by Robyne Robinson.
After sending their looks down the runway for inspection, the dress, model and designer then returned to the stage for a quick Q&A with Peloquin to chat about their design aesthetic.
For her flavor “Revitalize,” made with naturally sweetened Green Tea, Danielle Everine showcased a well-wrought pant/vest combo of feathers, velvet and burlap. Her outfit, which she dubbed as “renegade-loner-call girl,” was influenced by the old West and the styles of Chinese immigrant railroad workers.
Ivan Idland's translation of the lemonade flavor, “Squeezed,” was delightfully unsublte: yellow-charged balloon shorts with dirndl detailing he described as an upside down basket of lemons. Adding a corset to the shorts gave the look the impression of being squeezed. He joked that he wanted to make his model look like she was on the verge of passing out from constriction. Mission accomplished, Idland. Although, thankfully, no models were actually hurt in the making of this piece.
Max Lohrbach's flavor was the orange-flavored, “Rise.” The designer – who was MIA at Flourish due to a wedding – took the audience (via Idland) through his design, element by element, starting with the gathered rille which represented the vitamins and minerals loaded inside the bottle. The splash of orange color represented the “Rise” flavor, and the vinyl overlay represented the “semi-eternity of plastic bottling,” a clever yet muted dig.
Calpurnia Peach fitting had “Recoup,” the peach mango flavor, and CP half, Luci Kandler expanded on the elements in their “light and juicy” design describing the digitalized print as a fuzzy-peach-esque texture with hand done beading – a first in Calpurnia Peach's fashion annex.
For Emma Berg's “Mega C” flavor, Berg created a purple and white striped, asymmetrical couture dress, that was both flirty and whismical. Her design vision was inspired by Édouard Manet's “Luncheon on the Grass” painting and Vivienne Westwood's '95 collection – very cool reference points.
In true Fulk boldness, Laura Fulk's black gown paired with a goth-y cape with burgundy insets– inspired by the “XXX” flavor – was a fierce mix of dark enigma and literaltry. She described her model's look as one “not to be tampered with” and as she demonstrated to guests how the cape opened into a giant “X” train, she asked if she had gone too far. Never Ms. Fulk, never.
But in the end, it was Kerry Riley's interpretation of the “Go-Go” mixed berry flavor that bowled over judges with a piece they felt was beautifully constructed, ready-to-wear, and interestingly incorporated the branding with a red patent leather belt that spelled out “Go-Go.” The burgundy, mixed berry hued dress sported a ruffled train, a deep plunging neckline, a beaded inset and mesh-covered red patent buttons. Riley described it as “flamingo on the go.” Sounds good to us!