Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weekend What's What 4/29-5/5


Er, not THAT kind of nature; we're talkin' about the sort of nature that involves warm breeze and green leaves! This weekend we ring in the month of May, which in our opinion, is pretty much the best time of the year. Perfect temps, sunshine, and little to none of that hair-frizzing humidity we dread -- not to mention plenty of killer events! While MNFashion Week is done and over with (insert sad face) we look ahead to the warm weather art season and all the visual marvels it holds, some of which you'll get a taste of this very weekend. So, get out and enjoy spring in the beautiful Twin Cities!

p.s.-Happy 25th B-day to our fabulous culture editor, Juleana Enright!


photo by Stephen Stephens for l'étoile from 'Behind Closed Doors'


l'etoile releases our Spring 2010 fashion editorial: Kiss Me, Cake

Jahna Peloquin reviews the Christopher Straub fashion show

Jahna Peloquin updates our sales and shopping guide

The l'etoile team does a live fashion photo shoot at Imagination Mechanism

Lauren Gantner snaps event pix at Imagination Mechanism

Natalie Gallagher reviews Blacklist Vintage's 'Clothes off our Backs'

Natalie Gallagher reviews Shop Local at Picky Girl

Beth Hammarlund reviews Laura Fulk's 'To the Ends of the Universe'


Art in Bloom: Flowers After Hours: Hello Tokyo!

@ Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

5:30-9pm / Free

Optional Sake Tasting Class 6-6:30pm / $20

To kick off the Annual Art in Bloom exhibit, a sweet-smelling show that pairs floral designers with art, the MIA hosts an dynamic evening of flowers and fun. On top of perusing the sprawling exhibition of over 150 floral designs that correspond with pieces in the museum's collection, you'll also be treated to a hip, Japanese-inspired after hours soiree! If you’ve ever wondered what that whole “anime thing” was about, or if you are a certified manga enthusiast, this night is your night. Enjoy Tokyo street fashion, anime movie shorts, hanami (flower viewing), and J-pop dancing! The evening will be led by Frenchy Lunning, Fulbright scholar, MCAD professor and expert on Japanese pop culture.

Click HERE for the MIA site


Johnny Cupcakes Suitcake Tour: Back to Basics 2010

@ ROBOTlove
2648 Lyndale Ave S

7-9pm / Free

You may be asking “just who is this Johnny Cupcakes kid?” and “why should I care that he’s coming?” Well loves, listen up. Johnny Cupcakes is a rad entrepreneur dude who started his one-of-a-kind, chain-free line selling t-shirts packed in suitcases out of the back of his ‘89 Toyota Camry. From a humble beginning, his shirts are now crazy well-known and loved, not to mention carried in shops all over in the world - including Japanese and European boutiques. And tonight, the infamous man behind the cupcake n' crossbones design will be making a stop at our beloved ROBOTlove on his nationwide brand tour. J. Cupcake's pit stop in MPLS this evening is the only stop between Omaha and Chicago, so it’s a total must see for anyone who appreciates self-propelled design and super cool tees! Featuring six suitcases full of brand new, iconic t-shirts and specialty design items sold only on the Johnny Cupcakes tour. Meet the charlatan/t-shirt slinger himself, load up on tees and even enjoy yummy mini cupcakes compliments Cake Eater Bakery. Sounds delicious!
Click HERE for the Johnny Cupcakes site or HERE for the ROBOTlove site



@ Club Jager
923 Washington Ave N

10pm-2am / 21+ / Free

If you’ve ever been on Jager grounds, it’s obvious who wears the pants - red-headed spitfire, Angie Heitz. Move over Scott Baio cuz tonight, the proud lady in charge is taking over the decks to spin some awesome tracks for epic dance floor action. Why? Because she can. After all, she is the boss. DJ Teiko Westmar joins for a double-the-trouble evening of sexy hits, 2-4-1 drink specials and minglin’ on one of the best patios in the city. We can’t wait to hear the tasty tracks Angie has prepared!

Click HERE for the Facebook event


With Art-A-Whirl quickly approaching, May 14-16, we thought it proper to clue you in on some awesome artists who will be showing their work this year! Check back each week leading up to the Whirl for more artist spotlights, plus our big guide to Art-A-Whirl 2010 the week-of! This week's pick is painter Shawn McNulty.

For many years, Sean McNulty has been gracing the local art scene with his colorful abstract paintings. A signature style that plays on strong lines, distinctive blocking and an almost graphic designer-like attention to balance and color, McNulty quietly places among some of the most broadly appealing artists in the city. His techniques create a thoughtfully distressed look that one may liken to deteriorated metal signage or decaying wheat-pasted posters in an urban alley way. Influenced by artists such as Rothko, Rauschenberg and Basquiat, McNulty says, "My style explores the relationship between man-made structures and the natural world; the idea of recognizable shapes and structures living within irrational thoughts and emotions. I believe the most complex emotions can be evoked from the simplest of forms." Visit Shawn McNulty at the Thorp Building, studio #217, this Art-A-Whirl.

Click HERE for the Shawn McNulty Site Click HERE for more info on Art-A-Whirl


TC Daily Planet Birthday Party

@T's Place
2713 E. Lake St.


Guess who’s turning four! Now that they old enough to count to ten and dress themselves, TC Daily Planet is celebrating their Birthday with a bash that will be anything but “baby”. Stop by the African-Ethiopian Restaurant and party center, T’s Place, this Friday for festivities, happy hour deals and a tasty B-day cake. This is the perfect party to meet those TC Daily hotties, get in on some fresh gossip at the Planet and swig some delicious drinks. Plus, if you want to stick around for a tasty meal with the team, shoot boss-man Jeremy Iggers an email at to save you a spot at the table!

Click HERE for the Facebook Event


Iron & Candy

@ Altered Esthetics
1224 Quincy Street NE
Northeast Minneapolis

7pm-Midnight / Free

If you went to AE's annual fundraiser last year, you know what we're talkin' bout', Willis. This awesome soiree incorporates more local artists than you can handle, along with live music, a raffle with cool prizes from local businesses, refreshments, steampunk themed games and activities, caricatures courtesy of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy, a silent auction and more. Live tunes from Apartment 12J and Bad September round out the night starting at 10pm and there will be plenty of cool artist-types to rub shoulders with along the way. Definitely worth a stop on your Friday itinerary, plus, you'll be supporting local art at the ground level...and how cool is that?
Click HERE for this art event and more at


April Showers bring Bitch Flowers

@ Varsity Theater
1308 4th St. SE

8pm doors-2am / 21+ / $10

While the month April might be over, the spring season is alive, kickin’ and - might we add - extra bitchy at tonight’s 3rd annual, “April Showers bring Bitch Flowers.” Our fave drag queen, club scene primer and fashion diva, Bitch Flowers, hosts an evening at the Varsity full of dance, music and limited edition mementos, queen-style. Joining her Bitchiness will be fierce local glamour gals Krystal Kleer, Barbie Q, Camille Collins and Foxy Tan. Plus, a performance from dance troupe Soul 2 Sole Conversions, live music from Orion and tunes from DJ Sheik to lead the partygoers in an epic dance party later on. Expect cheeky banter, flamboyant colors, glitter and more sequins than you can bat a bedazzled eye at!
If you haven’t peeped it yet, check out our own Kate Iverson’s hilar interview with the sassy queen (aka Richard Anderson) at City Pages‘ Dressing Room blog. Click HERE for the Facebook event


Mallman Anniversary Shows

@ Kitty Cat Klub
315 14th Ave SE

Friday 10pm / $5 / 21+
Saturday 10pm / $5 / 21+

During the course of his decade-long journey since "Mr. Serious" recorded How I Lost My Life and Lived to Tell About It, Mallman has packed in a lot under his belt, so to speak. From two record breaking performances that spanned the course of several days, to being named best live performance by City Pages for his unrivaled ability to win over a room, Mallman has become an institution in the local music community. With antics akin to a Minneapolis version of Meatloaf, straddling those ivories and belting out arena-ready rock ballads like his life depends on it, these anniversary shows are something you just don't want to miss. With supporting acts Total Babe and Kill to Kill on Friday and Saturday with Moonstone Continuum and Claps.

BONUS: The first 75 people through the door each night will receive a free remastered copy of How I Lost My Life and Lived to Tell About It.
Click HERE for the Mark Mallman site


501 Club’s 1-Year Anniversary

@501 Club
501 Washington Ave S

10pm / 21+ / Free

It’s a big Birthday weekend! The 501 Club is throwing a doubly good party to celebrate their one-year anniversary. Luckily for us, the cool peeps at Radio K's “Off the Record” are sponsoring two days of titillating tunage. Make your way over to the club on Friday to catch the hard rhymes of local trio No Bird Sing, rockers Gospel Gossip and the catchy cuteness of Zoo Animal. Stop back for round two on Saturday with even more local music, including Red Pens, Double Bird and The Guystorm.

Click HERE for the 501 site



@ Bedlam Theater
1501 S. 6th St.

10pm / 18+ / $5 with RSVP, $7 without

It’s finally bike-riding season, so get on that saddle and ride down to the Bedlam to bomp your butts off! The Bedlam will be filled with movable music tonight, courtesy of Shannon Blowtorch and Wzz Winship in the Fireplace Lounge, and party-poppers the Moon Goons, Get Cryphy, and Monarchy in the Mainroom. You might need to refill on something from the Bedlam’s Late Night $5 or Less menu to keep your energy up, and now that the weather is nice, you can can even dance your way onto the Bedlam's rooftop patio! Viva la Bomp!

Sponsored by l'etoile!
Click HERE for the Facebook event


Welcome to the like totally unofficial video biography of Mary-Kate Olsen...starring actress, writer and comedian, Elaine Carroll! Elaine puts on the perfect blonde wig, scrunched lippy face and a dumbed down tone to take on the role of the Mary Kate we all never knew about — a totes demanding, calorie-counting star trying to survive her hard life in SoHo, y’know? Follow the hilarious minute-long segments of MK (complete with tons of amusing one liners!) as she splitsies from her twin, Ash, abuses her bodyguard and desperately tries to get her paws on some good Xanax. Plus, new episodes are posted every Monday AND Thursday!
Click HERE for the Very Mary Kate site

The first episode: Moving Out

Very Mary-Kate: Moving Out from Mary-Kate Olsen on Vimeo.


Bryn Mawr Festival of Garage Sales

@ Various Locations
Bryn Mawr

7:30am-5:30pm / Free

Every year, the households of Bryn Mawr gather together for a mass garage sale to beat all garage sales. This year's epic, neighborhood-wide sale includes hip ladies Disa Marie and Kelly Day's yard blowout sale over at 204 Newton Ave. S. (at Cedar Lake Rd.), there will be morning mimosas, vintage dresses, beer, household appliances and decor, hula hoops and of course, "sexiness." 44 Oliver Ave. S. will have a "day rave," moving sale, costumes galore (as seen on Hal Schuler aka Time Squid's Freaky Deeky TV show), a slip-n-slide, playhouse bar, DJs, dancing and light show and more. And those are just the cool ones we KNOW about. Imagine thousands of odd ball items at more garage sales than you can possibly hit in one day, and you've about summed it up. A can't miss annual event for bargain hunters!

Click HERE for more info


St. Paul Craftstravaganza

@ State Fair Grounds
Fine Art Building
1265 Snelling Avenue
St. Paul

9am-5pm / Free

Since 2005, the annual Craftstravaganza has deserved a spot on the calendar of any local arts-and-craft lover of the urban variety. This is definitely not your grandma's craft fair, with handmade art from over 75 of the hippest artsy types in town, including printmakers Adam Turman and Burlesque of North America, handmade jewelry from the likes of XO Jewelry, and screen-printed cards and original prints by Michelle Brusegaard. In addition to the craft sale, organizations like the Textile Center and Crafty Planet will be conducting workshops throughout the day. Get there early for free swag bags with samples of vendors’ work for the first 100 shoppers. And held one weekend before Mother's Day, it's the perfect time to buy up some charming gifts for the awesome moms in your life - or better yet, take her shopping!
Click HERE for the Craftstravaganza site

Print by Adam Turman


Kentucky Derby Viewing Party

@ Brit’s Pub
1110 Nicollet Avenue

4pm / 21+ / Free

If you plan on watching the Kentucky Derby this year, or if you are even vaguely interested in it, or, if you (like us) simply jump at any excuse to be a dandy, there is no better place to do it than at Brit’s Pub this Saturday. Don your most ostentatious hat and relax in front of the big-screen in the upstairs Clubhouse or in the sunshine outside with smaller screens and enjoy the race! Feel free to sip your mint julep as lazily and snobbishly as you care to. Drink and appetizer specials run throughout the day.

Click HERE for the Brit's site


Brock Davis

@ The California Gallery
2205 California St NE

6:30pm-10:30pm / Free

It's safe to say that innovative artist, Brock Davis, is not a man who fears commitment. In 2009, Davis - an artist and creative director at Carmichael Lynch - joined a Flickr group called Make Something Cool Every Day. Their objective, as they name suggests, was to create and submit one original piece of artwork every day for a whole year. Though thousands joined, at the end of the year Davis was the sole artist left. Talk about follow through! His art has been viewed millions of times by followers across the globe and his MSCE portfolio is one of the top 3 sites ever peeped on Behance Network! His talents as an art director have earned him the international advertising award, Cannes Lion, as well as features in prestigious art and literary journals and a spot designing for a piece in the New York Times Mag. Needless to say, Davis rocks our socks off! Tonight, don’t miss a chance to view the premiere of Davis’ prolific MSCE project in its entirety at the California Building Gallery, put on by the art-minded peeps of Creative Electric Studios. Meet the artist and be inspired to get creative!

Click HERE for this art event and more at



@ Tarnish & Gold Gallery
1511 Marshall Street NE

7pm-Midnight / $7 cover, $5 if you bike!

Check out local art with a mission and a voice! Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is sponsoring a juried art exhibition that explores the question, “What is the problem with palm oil?” regarding the negative effects of big agribusiness. The winning submission will be featured on a billboard or public installation, designed to raise public awareness of the environmentally unethical use of palm oil sourced by Twin Cities giants General Mills and Cargill Incorporated. Don’t let the subject matter fool you — this event is sure to be anything but a downer, with live music starting at 8pm from Kill the Vultures, Bouncer Fighter, and Phantom Tails. Rockin' and environmentally sound with a heaping helping of awesome art? Sounds right up our alley! Not to mention, this is the first time you'll be able to get a gander at the new Tarnish & Gold gallery, which will be making its official debut over Art-A-Whirl Weekend.
Click HERE for this art event and more at

Art by Matt Wells



@ 1419
1419 Washington Ave S

8pm-Midnight / Free

Tonight’s art n’ music mixer has only one rule - fun! Well, that’s an easy one. Join local artists Tim Krause, Miles Mendenhall, Sam Molstad, Joe Moore, Tzvi Izaksonsas and Lee Delegrad for the opening of tonight’s simply and whimsically monikered exhibit. Stick around for live sets from French pop surf rockers, Wild Ghosts; electronic noise makers, Coral Legs; synthy 2-steppers, Farms; dreamy ambient beats from Vacation Dad and housey remixes by Famuel. Peep awesome art, shake a tail feather and party on down. And don't forget to fun it up!
Click HERE for this art event and more at


@ A Dodgy Warehouse
(You’ll find out somehow the day of the event!)

10pm-6am / $10

Who doesn’t love millions of DJ’s all crammed into a sketchy warehouse spinning until the sun rises? In continuation of this B-Day intensive weekend, Intellephunk is bringing out eight hours of just that to celebrate a group of their friends’ birthdays. This Saturday, Intellephunk has gathered a group of 25+ Midwestern music makers to blow your mind including local party starts like TML main man Soviet Panda, The Night Stalker, Naughty Wood, Jobot, Aaron Bliss, DVS1, Centrific, Dustin Zahn, Christian James and oodles more, plus out-of-town beat-bringers The Goat and DJ Lectric. This Saturday definitely seems like the perfect reason to come together, does it not?

Click HERE for the Facebook event


Weird videos on Youtube are pretty synonymous with the site and viral video campaigns are as common as iPhones lately, but this campaign is so cryptic, impressive and anonymous that it has the attention of a nation - or at least the music blogging world. Late last year, several notorious music blogs were sent mysterious high-budget “teaser” clips featuring synthy, experimental electronic music with distorted and unintelligible female vocals from an elusive project cleverly known as “iamamiwhoami.” To date, there are eight videos ranging from less than a minute to over 6 minutes long all featuring a blonde female covered in ash, mud and sometimes wrapped in plastic - yes, entirely in plastic - to hide her identity. In each video, there are certain cryptic similarities - animal illustrations, numbers that when added spell out words, birth depictions, an eerie amount of cats, amazing cinematography and disturbing, yet beautiful vision. Music journalists at Pitchfork and MTV have speculated a list of artists possible responsible for the videos including Christina Aguilera, Goldfrapp, Lykke Li, Trent Reznor, Karin Dreijer Andersson (The Knife, Fever Ray) and Swedish singer Jonna Lee - who looks uncannily like the mystery blonde - but all artists are denying any involvement. Only time will tell who truly is behind the viral video stunt. Don’t you just love a good mystery?

Click HERE for more videos from iamamiwhoami


May Day Parade

Parade starts at 26th Street and Bloomington Ave.
to 34th Street and Bloomington Ave. ending at Powderhorn Park

1pm / Free

Sunday is May Day! Why not end your awesome weekend with a day of flowery festivities? Get on down to Bloomington Ave at 1 pm to watch the big May Day parade with the rest of the city. The streets will be lined with tons of hand crafted floats, pretty costumes, crazy music, and thousands of onlookers. The theatrical walk will culminate at Powderhorn Park with a huge festival of music and performance! Join the party at 3:30 sharp for the annual Tree of Life ceremony or stop by anytime for your fill of music, food, poetry, canoe rides, dancing and more! May Day only comes once a year, so don’t miss out!
Click HERE for the May Day site


JagerCon: Sci-Fi Tuesdays

@ Clubhouse Jager
923 Washington Avenue N.

Every Tuesday
10 p.m. / 21+ / Free

Join hosts Kate Iverson (l'étoile magazine, Secrets of the City) and Beth Hammarlund (l'étoile magazine, A Tiny Machine) every Tuesday Night for JagerCon! JagerCon is a weekly sci-fi party featuring screenings of classic nerdy movies and television shows -- topped off with 2-4-1 cocktails all night served by Star Captain Paul!

Mingle with like-minded sci-fi geeks, discuss D&D strategies, and use that Captain Picard impression you've been perfecting to pick up chicks at the bar. Snort-laugh the night away while bragging about your MMORPG addiction and enjoy a cozy, nerd-friendly environment.


MAY 4: Moon
MAY 11: Ghostbusters
MAY 18: Pontypool
MAY 25: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
JUN 1: The Neverending Story


l'etoile night at the Guthrie + Patio After Party

@ Guthrie Theater
818 2nd Ave S.

7:30pm / $15 per ticket

Join us for an evening of theater and fun on Wednesday, May 5th at the Guthrie! For just $15 enjoy a performance of David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly at 7:30 p.m. then head to the Sea Change patio for a post show cocktail party with complimentary hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and music by DJ Matt Perkins. You do not need to attend the performance to come to the party, but with $15 tix, how can you go wrong? To purchase your tickets call the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224 and ask for the L'ETOILE special. Offer not available online, on previously purchased tickets or with other offers. Not valid on Area 1 seating.

Click HERE for the Guthrie site

photo by Michal Daniel



Excuse us while we gush. l'étoile's own advertising manager, Brian Gioielli is one of the finalists for the annual One Man Minneapolis contest! The competition identifies the one man in the Twin Cities who represents the best of the best from the perspectives of community involvement, personality, intelligence and fitness. Well, if you ask us, Brian embodies all of these! Our boy not only volunteers his time for l'étoile, but also does a ton of charity work including being the Vice President on the St. Paul Festival Association board, 12 Bars of Christmas charity event co-organizer, and YMCA volunteer. He's also hilarious, adorable, and one of the most kind-hearted and fun dudes we've ever met.

The best part? If Brian wins, he gets to donate $2500 to his choice of charity, and has even committed $1000 of his personal winnings to l'etoile, so we can put together outfits to donate to another great non-profit, Dress for Success! Isn't he sweet? Vote for Brian every day starting this Friday at!!!!

Editor in Chief: Kate Iverson // Contributors: Juleana Enright, Lauren Gantner, Natalie Gallagher, Kate Iverson, Robyn Lewis, Rob Callahan, Beth Hammarlund, Jahna Peloquin

Kiss Me, Cake: l'étoile Spring editorial 2010

l'étoile magazine's spring fashion editorial, "Kiss Me, Cake" is a sweet mashup of high style and delectable pastry! Basing their designs off of sumptuous gowns and fresh springtime garments, three Twin Cities cake decorators created sugary "hats" that matched the decadence of each dress. Shot by l'étoile editor Kate Iverson, with creative direction by Beth Hammarlund, art direction by Chris Larson, fashion styling by Jahna Peloquin, and hair/makeup by Kate Erickson.

Layered beneath the intoxication of tiramisu rum, the sticky-sweet sapor of icing and devil's food richness, venerable vixens and dazzling dolls adorned with delicate ribbons, bows and sugar flowers beckon like sirens to the sweet of tooth. The promise of love and confection awaits, so look ahead to Kiss Me, Cake. -Rob Callahan

Click to enlarge and view spread

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MNfashion Week in review: Christopher Straub premier collection

text by Jahna Peloquin
Photos by Stephen Stephens for Digital Crush Photography

It was a gorgeous spring evening this past Sunday in St. Paul as Christopher Straub, fan favorite of Project Runway's sixth season and Shakopee native, debuted his first full collection. Ever. That's right - the designer who won so many hearts with his earnest hopefulness and optimism, and a penchant for feminine, wearable designs, had never before created an entire ready-to-wear collection that would grace the catwalk.

[Satin shift dress with organza petal details by Christopher Straub]

The results? It was all very Christopher, to say the least. His signature petals, ruffles and folded organza detailing were all there, as were his tried-and-true one-shouldered, empire-waist silhouettes. That's all well and good -- and wearable -- but a bit predictable at this point.

[Leather petal dress by Christopher Straub]

It was on the strength of his design portfolio, a small collection of adorable dresses with a slightly tough, modern edge, that helped score him a coveted slot on the reality show (along with one-time Minneapolis designer Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman). Straub went on to place fourth, nearly making it to Bryant Park. In the beginning, Tom and Lorenzo of go-to Project Runway blog Project Rungay gave him high marks, saying it was "some of the best pre-show work we've seen yet. This stuff could be hung right on a rack in a boutique, ready to go."

[Sheer cotton dress by Christopher Straub]

And if nothing else, Straub's greatest strength continues to be the off-the-rack wearability of his garments. After all, it's hard to say no to a cute dress. And this is much of what the packed audience of fervant Straub fans and local fashion kingpins were treated to against the decadent, old-world glamour of the historic Saint Paul Hotel -- where incidentally, he celebrated (with Coleman) at the l'étoile-produced premiere party for Project Runway just last August.

[One-shouldered empire-waist dress by Christopher Straub]

Perhaps it's a nod to his born-and-raised, aw-shucks Midwestern roots that he appears to market to those outside of the world of high fashion. His designs don't necessarily take bravery to pull off - these are dresses for the girl who likes to dress up on weekends, out of the suburbs. And there ain't nothing wrong with making fashion accessible, say we. Besides, it's a way for a fledgling designer to make a living in what is a very tough business.

[Layered chiffon jacket and leather pants by Christopher Straub]

However, it would be refreshing to see Straub push his aesthetic a bit more in the future. His most forward designs of the night did just that, tempering his soft, petal and ruffle-drenched aesthetic with a tough edge.

[A faux-leather & knit look by Christopher Straub]

It was the new elements he incorporated into the collection that really worked: knits, jackets, leather-work, and pants (!), including one particularly hot pair made of electric blue leather.

[A faux-leather studded skirt by Christopher Straub]

The leather-like studded mini skirt was another favorite of the night, the swingy shape complimented Straub's aesthetic easily. Also particularly refreshing were the two well-styled menswear looks that hit the runway. One thing's for sure: the boy can cut a mean leather jacket.

[Men's leather jacket and denim jeans by Christopher Straub]

Another point of criticism not to be taken lightly: presentation. Presentation can turn a collection from bland and dull to exciting and fresh, at least to the eye of the audience. While the lighting and production were top-notch, the models were sub-par and the styling was uninspired. When included, his belts and handbags were integral to the show, but some jewelry, gloves, and hot shoes would've amped up things considerably.

[The metal foil leaf-cut finale dress by Christopher Straub]

All that being said, Straub debuted a well-produced show of wearable, sellable clothing, putting an exciting and ambitious cap on what has turned out to be the biggest and best MNfashion Week to date.

Christopher Straub accessories are available at View more photos at

Jahna Peloquin is the Fashion Editor for l'étoile magazine, Lead Stylist for Voltage: Fashion Amplified, and a freelance fashion writer and stylist.

Monday, April 26, 2010

MNfashion Week in review: Imagination Mechanism

l'etoile staffer Lauren Gantner snapped a slew of pix at our Imagination Mechanism event at the Eitel Building. Here's a sampling, but for even more, visit Lauren's Flickr page HERE.

For more pictures from Imagination Mechanism on flickr, click HERE.

MNfashion Week in review: Clothes Off Our Backs

by Natalie Gallagher

On Wednesday night, Blacklist Vintage's "Clothes Off Our Backs" event marked the halfway point of MNfashion Week with all the right attributes: creative retro fashions, an eclectic live DJ set, and - of course - wine abundant. Doubling as the grand re-opening of one of Minneapolis’ most-beloved vintage shops, the event brought in the most stylish and retro-loving among us.

[Hannah von der Hoff in Blacklist Vintage; Photo by Stacy Schwartz]

Live models posed atop pedestals throughout the evening in ingenious ensembles that only vintage experts and Blacklist owners Jennifer Sapiro and Vanessa Messersmith could have conjured - as worn by local fashionistas such as musician Hannah von der Hoff, fashion designer Raul Osorio, and Blacklist resident designer Monica Ulrich, and other regular customers of the shop. Looks ranged from a high school band jacket to a sweet yellow '40s swimsuit that was given a sporty edge when paired with a blazer. All the looks were available for sale.

[Model in Blacklist Vintage; Photo by Stacy Schwartz]

After the show, the packed shop was boisterous with attendees pawing greedily through the generous racks of colorful tweeds, plaids, and sweet retro prints and trying on the extensive hat collection to a soundtrack by DJ Double Trouble, spinning everything from Sharon Jones to Nirvana. We also spied an impressive wig collection, Charlie’s Angels and Smurf lunchboxes, Mr. T posters, tons of vinyls and even a vintage record player.

[Monica Ulrich in Blacklist Vintage; Photo by Stacy Schwartz]

Not to be overlooked was the corner devoted to a collection of prints by local artist Zach Pearl, which will be sold on an ongoing basis at the store. In a clever twist, the shop grand re-opening also served as a launch of Sew Simple, Blacklist's new in-store alterations shop. And the custom-built fitting room mid-century modern-styled pods were a perfect addition to the store's aesthetic.

[Raul Osorio in Blacklist Vintage; Photo by Stacy Schwartz]

Sapiro and Messersmith clearly know what they’re doing. Since their opening in fall 2008, Blacklist Vintage continues to be a treasure trove of tasteful eclecticism, with something for everyone, from the budget fashionista to the vintage connoisseur. The new, bigger and better location just a block up 26th from Nicollet is sure to be a smash hit!

[Model in Blacklist Vintage; Photo by Stacy Schwartz]

Blacklist Vintage is located at 25 E. 26th St., Minneapolis, 612-872-8552,
Hours of operation are noon-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

MNfashion Week in review: Shop Local at Picky Girl

by Natalie Gallagher
All photos provided by Picky Girl

It was a cozy Thursday evening at Picky Girl on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue, as locally designed lines Calpurnia Peach, Nelle handbags, Rapport handbags, and Post- accessories debuted their spring collections. uests enjoyed wine and cupcakes (fitting for the confections on display) and had the opportunity to chat with the designers about their inspirations for this season.

[Calpurnia Peach designer Luci Kandler showing off a design]

Local design darlings Luci Kandler and Ashley Wokasch of Calpurnia Peach spoke lovingly about their latest line, done up in bright orange and yellow sherbet colors and original lacey prints. The ladies have six different styles from their spring line available at Picky Girl for purchase, including an elegantly relaxed red and gray frock to an attention-grabbing tiered cocktail dress. (Additional styles from the collection are available in Minneapolis at Design Collective.)

[Nelle floral accessories]

Nelle handbags is offering a stellar selection of accessories, including a fabric “Single Bud” flower belt (brought back from the holiday collection by popular demand) and some exquisite clutches in rich, silky jewel tones that are sure to be a coveted item for many a glamour girl. As guests ogled over her color palette, Nelle designer Laura Nelli cheerfully discussed her upcoming projects, which includes preparing custom orders and readying for the always-busy bridal season.

[Michele Henry & Wesley Uthus of Rapport Handbags]

Katie McShane and Lois Eliason, the always-fabulous, energetic gals of Post-, proudly displayed totes and clutches from their P3 line, which feature a pressed image of the peace symbol on Italian leather. The ladies also showed pieces from their Bramante line of decadent handbags, including one superlatively constructed from Italian-imported ostrich, which made us nearly melt into a puddle of desire.

Be sure to stop into Picky Girl to check out the new items. But be forewarned - drooling may ensue.

Picky Girl is located at 949 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-698-4107, Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

MNfashion Week in review: Laura Fulk's 'To the Ends of the Universe'

by Beth Hammarlund
photos by Lauren Gantner

Laura Fulk has made a name for herself in the Twin Cities and beyond by taking traditionally feminine sartorial elements and subverting them, creating modern looks that are both aesthetically pleasing and intellectually challenging. She toys with images of 1950s housewives, suffragettes, and pioneer women, while remaining effortlessly true to her contemporary design sensibility.

In "To the Ends of the Universe," her second solo runway show since last spring's "Suffocate," Fulk presented her Autumn/Winter 2010 collection amidst the modern architecture of the McNamara Alumni Center. As was to be expected, the presentation was one of the most polished and professional of MNFashion Week, thanks to Fulk's business partner and the show's producer Ray Shan.

The collection itself contained a healthy balance of dresses and separates that ranged from office appropriate to cocktail ready. Plenty of the dresses featured conservative cuts with high collars and knee-length skirts, though many included daring slits that allowed peeks of the contrast lining within. Very little skin was shown, but the strong shoulders and chain details gave the collection a hard edge.

One of Fulk's unique abilities is to create pieces that are conservative in cut, but tweak the design in such a way that something about the overall look feels slightly wrong and unsettling. The coats and dresses were surprisingly conservative, but by incorporating a moody palette, consistent asymmetry, and deconstructed details, Fulk conceptualized a collection that was half Park Avenue princess and half American Psycho.

During a model's first pass, a simple black number appeared to be a slightly updated version of a basic kimono dress. But as the model marched back down the aisle that served as the runway, a beautifully constructed row of pleats was revealed across the back. The delicate pleating was seen throughout the collection, a hallmark of how far Fulk has come with her tailoring.

Fulk also played with separates and knits in this collection far more than her previous show. Sweaters with bulbous over-sized sleeves were unconventional, but wearable. Blouses and trousers were true to the designer's vision, while being perfectly appropriate for both the office and happy hour. Though Fulk's major strength still lies in her dresses and coats, it will be exciting for consumers to have more Fulk pieces that they can mix and match into their own wardrobes this fall.

Considering that she has such a singular vision, Fulk is a designer who regularly reaches out to others artists to collaborate. This collection featured prints created by MCAD alumnae Melissa Breitenfelt and Laura Weber. The prints referenced delicate nebulas as well as colors that reached dark oceanic depths., The greens and blues were a pleasing compliment to the science fiction-inspired elements that Fulk often touches upon in her work.

The closing looks echoed a theatrical element used at Fulk's last show at The Lab Theater. Two models walked the runway dressed as mirror images of one another, a rare point of symmetry in a show overflowing with imbalance. Though one model's look echoed the cool shades of the previous looks, the other model wore a dress accented with fiery touches of yellow and red, keeping the collection connected to the designer's outer space inspiration. Both dresses featured scattered LED lights, a favorite of technologically-savvy designers such as Hussein Chalayan. The blue pricks of light also adorned the train of the finale gown, along with a thread painting of hand-dyed raw wools and organic silks. According to the designer, the thread painting was a technique she experimented with in her earlier work. Its use in this collection was a glorious re-birth.

Many of Fulk's signature design elements such as funnel collars, contrast lining, asymmetry, and elegant deconstruction punctuated the collection. Though the designer has developed one of the most recognizable design aesthetics in the Twin Cities, it would be compelling to see her operate further outside of her comfort zone. When establishing one's voice as a designer, it's dangerously easy for signatures to become crutches. But if there's one local designer who constantly pushes herself forward, it's Laura Fulk.