Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Le'Talk: Life after the "Runway": A Q&A with Danielle Everine & Christopher Straub

by Jahna Peloquin, l'étoile Fashion Editor

Calling all Project Runway fans: Two of the design competition's local contestants are showing their latest collections in two separate fashion shows this weekend: Danielle Everine on Friday, and Christopher Straub on Sunday.

After having made her mark in the local scene with last fall's MNfashion-produced runway show "Pale Rider" and making two appearances in Voltage: Fashion Amplified, Danielle Everine made it onto the profile-raising Project Runway, making her one of the most recognizable names in Twin Cities fashion. The busy designer gives us a peek at what's next for her with an intimate, in-store fashion show this Friday at Cliché featuring her abbreviated fall 2011 collection inspired by the sea, "Call Me Ishmael."

[Danielle Everine. Photo: Sara Kiesling]

l'étoile: For the show, you're collaborating with illustrator Lisa Luck on custom screenprints (who we worked with on a paper dolls-inspired spread last April). How did you and Lisa get hooked up?

Danielle: Lisa is an incredible illustrator. She drew the beautiful imagery for the Pale Rider lookbook and promotional material. We had been hoping to work on another project together. When I started to design this collection, she immediately came to mind.

We love your nautical, seafaring theme. What got your inspired? Have you been reading Moby Dick?

Danielle: I learned to sail on a 24-foot keel boat over the summer. David (Everine's boyfriend) races a sailboat with a few friends on Lake Minnetonka. I had to overcome my fear of falling in the water and get over my seasickness. We would go out only for a few hours at a time, which was always sufficient for me. I started to think about those travelers from yore that were at sea for months or years at a time. Their travels were rugged yet romantic. I revisited some whaling and sailing texts only to be more inspired by the structures and symbols of the boats.

[Poster art for the show by Lisa Luck]

How did coming out the Project Runway experience affect your latest creations?

Danielle: PR was a whirlwind, hectic experience that was not necessarily conducive to my spirited approach to design. With this collection, I have returned to my literary inspired way of thinking that defines me as a designer. I have once again embraced the adventurous freedom that comes along with living in Minnesota.

In the show, you'll be featuring your first line of handbags. Do you see yourself spanning out toward doing more accessories than just clothing?

Danielle: I found a new love for accessories! Leather and other rugged textiles are always on my mind, but can sometimes be difficult to wear as apparel pieces. Handbags and belts can be a stylish and utilitarian way to finalize an outfit. Plus, I am able to work with the materials I love.

[Fall 2011 sketches by Everine]

Meanwhile, season six's Christopher Straub has become something of a local darling, consistently showing up on Twin Cities talk shows, talking trends and offering his Project Runway-honed critiques. He's also in the midst of an upcoming collaboration with major retailer maurices, launching at the end of this month, not to mention his own namesake collection. He'll be showing his Spring/Summer 2012 looks this Sunday at a runway show at the Westin Edina hotel at Galleria. Straub gives us a look at what to expect.

[Christopher Straub. Photo: Bethany Young]

l'étoile: For the show, you're featuring some of your own custom prints. Did your experience on Project Runway inspire you to continue creating your own, versus buying already-printed fabric?

Christopher: The Create-A-Print challenges didn't begin until the season after mine so I didn't get to go through the process on the show. I had to source my own fabric printers and figure it out for myself. Now that I've done several collections with my own prints I cannot go back to buying pre-made ones at the fabric store.

[A Spring/Summer 2012 look by Straub. Photo: Social 360]

We first saw hints of a tougher edge in your Sol Inspirations pieces, which had almost an Alexander McQueen feel to them, and it looks like your collection is a continuation of this. Have you purposefully decided to move away from the ultra-feminine, be-petaled aesthetic you've become known for?

Christopher: I've decided to create a visual difference between my "runway-only" collections and my "ready-to-wear" collections. The runway pieces have more structure and architecture while the ready-to-wear stays true to the aesthetic that viewers of Project Runway are familiar with. I love creating digital prints...they are becoming increasing more popular thanks to such design houses as McQueen, Balenciaga, and Stella McCartney.

[A Spring/Summer 2012 look by Straub. Photo: Social 360]

What can we expect with your upcoming line for maurices?

I'm happy to say that my exclusive collection for maurices is going to mark my return to the textural petals look that I'm known for. Also, the price point is exceptional with pieces starting at just $12.

You've become something of a go-to local style expert. How did you get to be so good behind a camera?

Prior to Project Runway I was a fashion stylist, so that part of the business comes naturally. I've styled all over the country and have, also, worked in Paris a couple times styling photo shoots and commercials for a luxury fashion line.

Event details:
Danielle Everine presents "Call Me Ishmael":
Tickets: Free
When: 7-9 p.m. Friday, November 11.
Where: Cliché, 2403 Lyndale Avenue S, Minneapolis, 612-870-0420,

Christopher Straub Spring/Summer 2012 Collection:
Tickets: $50-100 VIP, $25 general admission.
When: Doors open at 3:15 p.m. for VIP ticket holders and 3:45 p.m. for general admission, 4 p.m. fashion show, Sunday, November 13.
Where: The Westin Edina Galleria, 3201 Galleria, Edina, 952-567-5000,

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