Friday, February 24, 2012

MSP Fashion Week in Review: "Resurgent"

Text by Beth Hammarlund
Photos by Amy Gee

Last night, Lyndale boutique You and Me presented "Resurgent," their first runway show, at Amsterdam Bar & Hall in St. Paul. A collaborative venture between fashion designers Tim + Thom, Camille Fashions and jewelry designer Katy Schmaty, the store is part studio, part custom shopping experience.

The show opened with musical performances by Loveless Aphrodite and Tiger Vs. DJ Encounter then took to the stage, which had been decorated in twisted twigs and branches, creating a simple, yet enchanting backdrop.

The clothing was presented in three different segments. The first was marked by a flag on stage that flew the initials "KS." This segment focused on jewelry by Katy Schmaty, but it was unclear whether the clothing was by Tim + Thom, Camille Fashions, or both. You and Me's line is a collaboration of the designers, but it would have been helpful to have a presentation or a program that explained whether the entire collection was a collaboration among all of the designers, or if the different segments did indicate different designers.

The "KS" segment featured truly fantastic animalistic hairstyles, some of which literally wove in strands of Katy Schmaty's ornate jewelry. Sculpting horns and antlers out of models' manes is not a new idea, but to see it executed so well at a show in the Twin Cities was a treat. However, it felt incongruous to have models with such elaborately crafted hair and feminine jewelry wearing what was, in several cases, casual sportswear.

The second segment, marked with a flag bearing the image of a bird, included a pair of excellent fitting jeans with contrasting fabric across the knees. (The bird image from the flag was embroidered onto a back pocket, as well.) The looks were hit and miss, and there were a lot of them. I lost track of exactly how many looks were shown throughout the show, but it would have been in the designers' best interest to bring down the number. Quality should always outweigh quantity.

The second segment's closing look was a bit strange. A male model glided down the runway in well-made black duster, but the safety pin fastenings looked less punk rock than they did a last minute necessity. He also wore a black gas mask and had a samurai sword holstered on his back. Though the look was certainly arresting and impressive, it seemed strangely out of place. The styling of the show suggested a narrative, but I couldn't pinpoint when we had moved from strange forest girls to post-apocalyptic urban warfare.

The final segment, marked with a "T+T" flag (presumably for Tim + Thom), included more pieces that were fairly hit and miss, and could have used some editing. But there were certainly highlights. I adored a pair knee-length cable knit trousers in a marled gray. I would love to see a longer and less chunky version of that design, as well. Another high note came from an unexpected place. While standing onstage, a female model appeared to be wearing an ordinary oversized men's pinstripe suit coat. But as she walked down the runway, it became clear that the suit coat was in fact tailored into a cape. (Unfortunately, due to the dark backdrop of the stage and the color of the cape, photographs do not do the silhouette justice.) It was a unique idea and a pleasant surprise.

Veteran model Tearra closed the show in a long coat wearing what I first thought was a pair of long slim jeans. However, on her return walk, it became apparent that they were more like a pair of slender denim leg warmers that ran from thigh past the ankle. I didn't love the coat and the overall look was uneven, but it's refreshing to go to a fashion show and be treated to little surprises like this.

Throughout the show, a number of pieces appeared to be either unfinished or poorly finished. Hems and closures were a problem, and some of the designers lacked for taste. I couldn't help wishing that the designers had cut several of the looks, and used that time to refine the stronger pieces. There were good ideas there, but they got a little lost.

The models walked slowly and strangely on the runway. It wasn't a strut of a stomp, but more of a step-drag, step-drag. The choreography choice received mixed reviews from the crowd, but I thought it worked well with DJ Encounter's music and the atmosphere. There were some strong styling choices that still stick in my mind, as well. In particular, a mock ponytail fashioned out a raccoon tail piqued my interest.

Though the event was charming and ambitious, it was significantly less refined than what we've come to expect at high-profile MNfashion events. There were some hiccups in timing, a few wobbly models, and the collection would have benefitted from significant editing and finishing. There's plenty of room for improvement. That said, every show has to start somewhere, and if Resurgent becomes a recurring event in MNfashion Week, it has the potential to become a can't-miss event. The ideas are definitely there. What they need is a good polish.

View more "Resurgent" photos by Amy Gee HERE.

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