Text by Beth Hammarlund
Photos by Stephen Stephens
Last Friday, the raw, sparse surroundings of the Grainbelt Bottling Building were transformed into MNfashion Week central, thanks to an expertly-lit, angled runway, a chic soundtrack, and Twin Cities fashion insiders as far as the eye could see. For its first official runway production, the MNfashion team presented "Pale Rider," a joint show from two of the most promising local designers, Danielle Everine and Raul Osorio. Though varied and unique in their own rights, the duo jointly explored the masculine and the feminine - and East versus West - in looks that ranged from commercially viable to aggressive high fashion.
Up first, Everine's collection boasted a wealth of separates. Though the full looks were wearable, the coats, vests, blouses, ponchos, skirts and trousers will be sure to generate consumer interest as individual items. She opened her collection with a sheer floaty shirtdress in a pale paisley - a look that was both unconventional and accessible. The dress would satisfy tomboys and girly girls alike, paired with either vintage T-strap heels or broken-in cowboy boots.
A cropped drop-crotch pant in a slim cut and a fringed side seam led the transition to a modern take on traditional western wear. In this part of the collection, fur and leather details accented flirty, feminine looks and tailored women's suiting.
The finale look, a show-stopping quilted suit with exaggerated shoulders and wide-leg trousers accessorized with a fur ushanka-style hat, echoed both Julie Christie and Katharine Hepburn. The result made the impending Minnesota winter seem positively appealing.
Everine took her bow wearing a relaxed blouse and wide-legged trousers that epitomized the tone she captures in her designs. Though her collections feature plenty of structured pieces, her greatest strength lies in easy womenswear, pieces that effortlessly cultivate a mood. Since she seems to be taking plenty of inspiration from the late '70s, it would be interesting to see what the designer would produce after repeated viewings of 9 to 5. She certainly has the ability to capture the essence of Jane, Lily and Dolly.
Raul Osorio, known for his impeccable menswear, presented an equally successful dive into womenswear. Romantic lace blouses were paired with neatly cut shorts and skirts, upholding the evening's trend of sellable separates. A clever black bolero jacket and matching high-waisted skirt would satisfy a wide range of consumers without requiring the designer to compromise his trademark aesthetic.
An antique gold lace shirtdress with cascading ruffles was one of the evening's stand-out pieces. Interestingly, instead of pairing the piece with a coordinating slipdress, the styling team layered the dress over a pair of black biker shorts. Although it wasn't immediately noticeable, the choice referenced current ambitious runway trends.
The finale piece, a high-collared pink lace gown with tiered ruffles echoed American designers such as Ralph Lauren, renowned for his ability to reference the Old West in contemporary gowns. Osorio's interpretation was stunning.
Osorio seems to possess an innate understanding of silhouette. He can take a little black dress and turn it into a statement piece without sacrificing versatility. His challenge lies in his trousers. One look which paired tight white high-waisted pants with a bustier top was particularly unforgiving. Though beautifully made, the cuts and fabrics can be difficult to wear. It would be interesting to see him play with a wider variety of cuts in the future.
The styling team was spot-on throughout, pairing clean dewy makeup with loose upsweeps and fishtail braids. Brooches, hats and gloves were in abundance, and ponyhair made its requisite autumnal appearance. The designers' well-rounded collections masterfully balanced consumable pieces and statement looks, presenting plenty of wish list items for Twin Cities shoppers.