Wednesday, September 30, 2009


l'etoile is proud to announce a couple big dealios! This month we've scored some pretty sweet accolades from our pals at both Metro Magazine AND Minnesota Monthly Magazine. Both glossies put out their "Best of 2009" issues and l'etoile made 'em both! Fancy! We'd like to thank our fabulous staffers and readers who so passionately support arts and culture in the Twin Cities -- you guys make the scene! And keep your eyes peeled on l'etoile this year, as we plan to launch a new, more dynamic website before 2010 so we can cram in even more coverage of what makes our cities so special.

Peep the excerpts from both mags below. Thanks Metro and MnMo! l'etoile hearts you longtime!
From Metro Magazine's Best of 2009 issue:

Metro 100: l'etoile magazine

Such events are the medium through which boutiques and the local fashion scene collide, especially when they have the stamp of approval from professional party-throwers like (70) l’etoile, an online magazine with the biggest Rolodex in town. “Drawing attention to independent designers and boutiques is a win-win situation,” says l’etoile editor-in-chief Kate Iverson, who helps promote and produce roughly two events a month. “If the little guys can make enough money to grow and evolve, they’ll eventually be spending that money to take their business to the next level, which means buying more goods and services from the medium guys, who in turn buy from the big guys.”

From Minnesota Monthly's Best of 2009 issue:

Best Social Director: Kate Iverson

It's commonly believed that Kate Iverson has not slept in years. How else can you explain the fact that the indefatigable Iverson has helped produce or promote just about every cool arts and fashion event in the Twin Cities, from Art-A-Whirl to Project Runway showcases to Fall Fashion Week at International Market Square. All this while compiling a popular weekend guide to hip happenings as the editor of L'etoile magazine online. In everything she does, Iverson strives to open up an oft-exclusive scene to the rest of us. "I want people to be excited about the scene, to feel like they're a part of it," she says. "Events should encompass the cool vibe of the Twin Cities without being pretentious."

Le'TALK: l'étoile interviews 'Nobody' writer/director Rob Perez

by Kate Iverson

Screenplay writer Rob Perez arrived in the Twin Cities two years ago and set up camp in Josh Hartnett's Lake Minnetonka home to pen the indie comedy Nobody, and subesquently fell in love with his surroundings. So much so, that when it came time to scout locations to shoot the flick, Minneapolis/St.Paul was the obvious choice. Best known for writing the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights, which starred local boy-made-good Hartnett (who aptly enough is executive producer on Nobody), Perez set forth with co-writer Ryan Miller to design a thoughtful film about an artist on a mission of self-discovery, and Nobody was born. His first crack at writing and directing one of his own films proved fruitful -- Nobody opens with plenty of fanfare with a red carpet premiere at the State Theater on Thursday night.

The film stars Minnesota-bred actor Sam Rosen (now of NYC) as Lindeman, an art school student who struggles with his final project -- and hence the meaning of life. Through a series of comedic events and revelations, Lindeman eventually realizes that "he doesn't need to be somebody to be someone." Filmed at numerous recognizable Twin Cities locations such as the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and even featuring a scene at Porky's Drive-In, Nobody has plenty of local flavor (and plenty of familiar faces).

The red carpet premiere of Nobody happens this Thursday, October 1st at the State Theater. Tickets are available HERE. Nobody opens to the public with an exclusive engagement at Kerasote's Block E in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, October 2nd -- for more info click HERE.

We chatted with Perez this week about his new film and his appreciation for the Twin Cities....

Your new flick, Nobody, is opening October 1st with a fancy premiere party at the State Theater. How did this labor of love come to fruition and why did you choose to set the film in the Twin Cities?

The short version goes something like this: Nobody came about because I was tired of writing screenplays for a living and wanted to get back to what I set out to do in the first place - make movies. It involved taking a huge paycut and finding a new place to call home, but it was well worth it.

Co-writer Ryan Miller and I choose to set the story in the Twin Cities because the vibe of the film felt right here. The tone of Nobody is sweet and charming and this town has that feeling in spades. Coincidentally, Sam Rosen, my leading man is from here. Josh Hartnett, as everyone knows, is also from here. So as we started scouting locations, everything kept pointing us to the Twin Cities. Even after scouting a few other cities, there was no other place we could shoot the film but here.

Nobody and your first film, 40 Days and 40 Nights, seem to be very different in tone, though they both fall under the "romantic comedy" umbrella. How has your writing evolved and do you ever see yourself settling into a particular niche?

One small correction - Nobody is not a romantic comedy. It's just a comedy that may or may not have some romance in it. My writing has evolved immensely since 40 Days and 40 Nights. I was just a wee pup when that picture was made, but five years from now I expect I will be saying the exact same thing about myself as a writer now. As you know, writing is not something you master - it's one of those student-for-life kind of deals. I expect I've gotten more sure of foot, and more comfortable in my own shoes as I've gotten older. This helps with writing because a point of view is very much at the center of telling a story. At the heart of what kind of writer I am, I'd have to call myself a comedy writer. I love telling stories that make people laugh. Life's plenty hard and if I can give people a reason to smile or, even better, laugh, success!

Not only did you pen the screenplay, but Nobody is also your directorial debut. Wearing both hats pretty much puts you in the superhuman category -- have you slept at all since the project began? How hard was it to make the jump from writer to director?

What is this word 'sleep'? I've heard it used before. It sounds familiar...I remember during the middle of production I was averaging about four hours. I would go to bed around 3ish and often be up by 6. The worst part is your brain is going so hard that even though you're exhausted, it's difficult to slow it down to actually fall asleep. But what you lack in that sharpness that comes from being well-rested, you make up for in adrenaline. you show up on set, see the circus, the 100 or so people and trucks and equipment there to make this film and you instantly find the energy to do the job as best as you can.

Jumping from writer to director was less preparation than I had hoped. As a writer I know structure, character, and arcs, but I didn't know anything about where to put the camera, how to talk to actors, how to lead a crew, editing a film. So you learn as you go. I'm a pretty quick study, so even though directing was the steepest learning curve I've ever been on, I feel like everyday I got better and the fact that this film makes any sense at all (and it does) is a huge triumph of sorts.

We love that Nobody was filmed at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Were you able to incorporate any local artists into the film?

My crazy answer to your good question is: I didn't use any local artists in the film because I didnt use any art in the film - at all. One of the conceits in this film is that I never show any art. maybe an edge of a canvas or a very small part of a sculpture, but never-ever the whole thing. The story is about an artist (a sculptor) and his artist friends (fashion, photographer, performance, etc.) and yet we never see one whole piece of art the entire picture. I do that because this film is not about the art; it's about the artist and his journey. The finished product, the actual art he makes is a bit beside the point.

You wrote Nobody while living in Josh Hartnett's home on Lake Minnetonka. Now that the film has wrapped, do you plan on sticking around the Twin Cities? Have any juicy Hartnett gossip you can spill?

I've been here in the Twin Cities exactly two years and I plan on staying as long as this community will have me. I want to tell stories that make people laugh and smile and feel. If I can do that in this city again (I've now done it once) I will stay and try my hardest to make my next story a little bit better than this one.

Josh Hartnett gossip? Don't you have the tabloids for that? And, if so, I would recommend you believe everything you read in there.

What's next for Rob Perez?

When I first got to town in September of 2007 I was completely inspired by the theater community here and I wrote a play. The story is set here in the back room of a pub and I hope to put it up this winter at Keiran's Irish Pub.

What are your top five favorite things about the Twin Cities?

-Enjoying a Prairie Vodka martini while watching the sunset on Lake of the Isles
-Little kids wearing winter jackets that are so puffy their arms stick straight out
-Enjoying a beer at the Bryant Lake Bowl
-Sunday brunch at the Grand Cafe

The red carpet premiere of Nobody happens on Thursday, October 1st at the State Theater. To purchase tickets and for more info click HERE.

Nobody officially opens on Friday October 2nd with an exclusive engagement at Kerasotes Block E. Click HERE for info.

Visit the movie's official website at

l'étoile's Rob Callahan visits the Midwest Emmys

By Rob Callahan

We like to think of events here in Minnesota as subdued, calm and just a little bit awkward. I'd like to blame Garrison Keillor for the predominant worldview of my home state, but all he did was point out to the rest of the planet what we already knew about ourselves. Sure we're strong, good-looking and above average, but that whole hotdish thing is just all wrong. And the Minnesota Nice Lutherans? Forget it. Sometimes we just want to throw down and pat ourselves on the back in recognition of our own awesomeness, and just the time and place to do so is the Upper Midwest Emmys Award Ceremony, so on a nice Saturday evening I headed down to the Pantages Theater (and not to mention Seven Sushi, venue of the pre-party) to see which way this was going to go. Would it be awesome or awkward? As I went in and breathed deeply of the atmosphere, I began to sense deep down that this was going to go the way of awesome.

The guests and nominees mingling and milling about were a healthy mix of veterans and n00bs, but the up-and-coming new media types seemed to draw the most attention. Among the crowd I found Chuck Olson, the official tweeter for the Emmys, and we began a nice, casual conversation about the event and his involvement with it, which quickly devolved into our talking about whatever caught our attention. Our talk being too torrid and tangental for my humble talents to convey, I'll merely direct you to this brief clip of our interactions.

Soon, excited nominees began to file into the theater. I stopped a few on their way in for brief chats about their feelings. Among them, I stopped former FSN front man Ron Johnson, who's play-by-play prowess had helped to earn CTN Studios a nomination for Live/Unedited Sporting Event Coverage. He was both humbled and elated to have been a part of the larger group that created the show, and was attending the event for the first time. Among all of the nominees with whom I spoke a similar down-to-earth grasp of the occasion was prevalent. Everyone involved, from gophers to executive producers, was quick to acknowledge that their hard work was only part of the greater whole that brought their teams this far.

As the lights went down and the ceremony began, archetypal hip media personality Jason Matheson took the stage, soon thereafter joined by his equally-hip co-host Jeanette Trompeter, and together the two began the event. Jeanette gave brief instructions for first time winners (let the audience know who you are and what you do on the winning show, keep your speech succinct, stop for a picture before you leave the stage... that sort of thing) and then, one by one, the categories were announced and the winners' names were read.

Between awards, entertaining interludes were presented. The night opened with a video montage highlighting the work of fictional news anchor Ted Baxter, among others, and warmed up the crowd to the snappy jokes and one-liners that awaited them later on in the night. Also of note was the high-energy circus-themed dance routine by Soul to Soul Dance Conversion, resplendent in bright, primary colors and curly red wigs, in which dolled-up clowns and jesters alternated gyrations with acrobatics under the watchful eye of their voluptuous ringmaster. If you missed it, there's video:

The academy recognized the efforts of journalists covering last September's anarchic clash on the streets of Saint Paul with several awards, including Breaking News and Continuing Coverage. Accepting his award for reporting on KSTP, Mark Albert was graciously thankful on behalf of both himself and Jared Bergerson (photojournalist and co-nominee) for the win. “He and I braved that tear gas for four days in September,” Albert recalled, “and I know a lot of you did as well. Congratulations to us all for surviving.”

Those among us in the crowd who harbored some closeted, geekish sensibilities were excited to see Brendan Henehan accept the award for Public-Current-Community Affairs on behalf of himself, Cathy Wurzer and Eric Eskola. He, the producer and they, the hosts, were nominated for their work on TPT's Almanac. Now in its twenty-fifth year on the air, the show presents itself with the polish you'd expect from such an influential veteran production. The Twin Cities Public Television crowd, by the way, cheered louder and more uproariously than any other part of the audience as they let loose and showed their commercial TV counterparts that public broadcasting is as much about the party as it is the Masterpiece Theater.

In case my getting excited about Almanac didn't out me as a nerd, consider the Advanced Media Arts-Entertainment award, which went to UofM's Science of Watchmen, in which Professor James Kakalios recalls having been tapped to consult on the Watchmen film, and explains the various ways in which we can easily come to understand the powers of Dr. Manhatten through quantum mechanics.

A lot of truly talented and creative people were honored throughout the night, far more than I can summarize here (and why would I, when it's already there,) so for me the standouts were the fringe elements: The college stations, the cable access guys, reporters who fell unwittingly into the fray so their viewers wouldn't have to, the ones who brought us the personal story of a hero who might otherwise have gone unsung, and the webcasters, podcasters and bloggers working under constraints that would make a shoestring budget seem luxurious.

And my sentiments seemed to echo those of the greater gathering. We all honor the achievements of the broadcasting veterans who served as way-paving role models for the rest of us. Without the ground they've broken, there would be nowhere for the next generation to build, but our attention is focused now on the generation in question. In what ways will they further redefine the way we consume and interact with our news and entertainment, and how soon will it happen? Time and technology will tell, as will the next round of emmys, which I encourage you all to follow, be it on television, your laptop or your phone.

Fashion Week Pix Now Up!

Photos by Stephen Stephens of Digital Crush Photography for l'etoile. Click each banner to be directed to the album or simply visit

Eat Street Style at Head to Toe Salon 9/25

by Kate Iverson

The Eat Street Style fashion show at Head to Toe Salon last Friday night was a colorful, snazzy sampling of vintage looks from Nicollet Ave boutiques Blacklist Vintage, Lost and Found and Head to Toe. l'etoile was lucky enough to tag onto the event as a sponsor, and Beth, Juleana, Stephen and I had come early to help Vanessa and Jen from Blacklist get their choreography down and shoot some fun pics of the models in their stylin' gear.

The fact that all three boutiques used real customers as their models added a fun, down-to-earth element to the show. Blacklist owner Vanessa Messersmith joked "I would actually love it if one of them fell; these are real people who are definitely not professional models!" The models, who ranged in shapes and sizes, were all great sports, waiting patiently as the boutique owners and the Head to Toe hair stylists primped them for the runway -- which was actually a stage in the front of the shop.

Not sure what to expect as far as attendance, by 7:30pm I was happy to see the small space packed to the gills with well-heeled peeps, the majority of whom were new faces. Red wine and beer flowed and sushi donated from nearby Azia Restaurant was noshed while attendees waited for the show to start. Blacklist owner Vanessa Messersmith introduced the show, which featured two rounds of looks from each boutique -- one casual round and one evening wear round.

One of the most dazzling looks featured model Paul, a charismatic drag queen whose shaved-to-the skin hair (or lack thereof) and dramatic makeup made a striking statement when paired with a slinky black and gold sequined evening gown from Blacklist Vintage.

The finale look featured a hardwear-heavy steampunk look from Blacklist embellished with goggles, lots of wire, a Tomb Raider-esque gun belt and a tattered black parasol, worn by a lithe black model/customer who totally rocked the look.

The event moved over to Azia's Caterpillar Lounge for champagne toasting, potsticker eating and good conversation with the models, boutique owners and other such local luminaries including songsmith Jeremy Messersmith, designer Laura Fulk, local theater actors Dylan Fresco and Julia Fairbanks Thompson, and many more.

MNfashion Week Recap #3: 9/24

Thursday, September 24: adorn, FAME, and Project Runway

By Jahna Peloquin

[Karma / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

It’s rare that I make it to an event early. Typically, I tend to arrive fashionably late, and such events have a tendency to start late. So when I headed out to Adorn, a sort of fashion crawl along St. Paul’s chic Grand Avenue as part of MNfashion Week around 8 p.m., I was shocked to find out Picky Girl was closing early – an hour before the set time. But then it hit me – of course! This was St. Paul we were talking about: People here arrive early and leave early, while us Minneapolitans are the ones that are late – that’ll teach me! So tag-teaming with l’etoile staff photographer Stephens Stephens, we headed to Grand Avenue boutique Karma, in the hopes it was still kicking.

[Jahna, center, with Allie Haver and Allison Dent of Lola Red PR / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

And it was. Peeps were spilling out onto the street, including Alexis Walsko of Lola Red PR (and the fiery co-host of the “Shop Girls” radio show on FM107.1) and the rest of the fab Lola Red crew. When I told her I missed the Picky Girl event, where design duo Calpurnia Peach were doing custom screen-printing on tights, she showed me her own pair that bore the letters “L” and “R.” (If you missed them, they’ll be printing more tights at this Thursday’s Metro 100 Party at Rogue Buddha.)

[Robyne Robinson with ROX jewelry at Karma / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

Once inside, we ran into local news anchor and jewelry designer Robyne Robinson, who was hosting a ROX trunk show featuring her decadent line of gems. Store owner Jada Breuer offered me a glass of wine and I checked out the other new fall offerings from local designers, including silk cowl-neck dresses by kjurek couture and handknit sweaters by Knit ‘N Jules.

["Envision" at FAME / Image provided by Ignite]

Then it was onto this month’s edition of FAME, which doubled as a meet-and-greet and trunk show for the designers of last week’s Envision runway show. (Check out my recap of the show here. There I had the opportunity to look at the designs up close, and customers had the chance to try on the goods before they went to their respective shops (Cliché, Drama and Local Motion). Ignite models donned some of the fashions, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found out local designer Renate Adjei, known for her ultra-feminine designs and floral fabrics, was behind the African-print, structured dress worn by Ignite model Jerilyn.

[Models in looks from "Envision" at FAME / Image provided by Ignite]

After chatting briefly with Josh and Delayna Sundberg of Cliché, I headed out to catch the second half of Project Runway at Hell’s Kitchen. PR contestants Christopher Straub, Katherine Gerdes, MNfashion director Anna Lee, and fashion writer Sara Glassman were in the house for the weekly l’etoile-sponsored viewing party. Unfortunately, we left teary-eyed when it came to pass that it was former Minneapolis hometown hero Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman that got the aufing. Fortunately, we still have Christopher to root for, and his killer design got him a second-place finish in the challenge.

(B-T-dubs, l’etoile’s “Project Runway” screenings are held weekly at Hell’s Kitchen, kicking off with fashion trivia with Beth and Kate of l’etoile at 8 p.m., with screening from 9-11 p.m. Check out the
facebook invite for more info.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MNFashion Week Recap #2: 9/23

By Jahna Peloquin, fashion editor

With many of
MNfashion Week’s biggest events happening mid-week this fall, here’s your pre-weekend recap by l’etoile's fashion editor.

Wednesday, September 23: “Charmed Life” and “Couture Noir”

[Laura Fulk's vignette at "Charmed Life" / Image by Marcus Metropolis / interior by Jeffrey Valley]

It just so happened that two of MNfashion Week’s biggest events, “Charmed Life” and “
Couture Noir,” overlapped on a Wednesday night of all nights. The events couldn’t have been more different, but I couldn’t stand to miss either. I donned my black asymmetrical dress from Laura Fulk’s “Suffocate” collection, a nod to the designer who would be participating in “Charmed Life” that evening and the elegant Gothicism of “Couture Noir.” I added a vintage feather headpiece and vintage black lace pumps and off I went.

By the time I arrived to “Charmed Life” at the International Market Square at 7:20, the event co-produced by l’etoile with
METRO Magazine, was in full swing. With the open bar ending at 7:30, I made a beeline for the bar to grab a couple glasses of wine before checking out the stylized interior/fashion vignettes created by interior decorator Jeffery Valley in the middle of the atrium. Two-fisting it, I immediately ran into local songsmith Jeremy Messersmith, who was there supporting his wife Vanessa (co-owner of Blacklist Vintage, one of the night’s vendors), Laura Fulk, and Xavi Sostre, one of the stylists competing in that evening’s style-off I would later sit in to judge. “I love your dress!” Xavi exclaimed, not realizing it was a Le Fulk original. Laura’s vignette, decorated in a contemporary theme by Valley, included some clever leather cuffs ($10), knit hats with lace trim ($25) and faux fur cropped vests ($45), a retail-ready way to own a piece of the usually-avant-garde designer. (She’s not planning to sell them anywhere post-show, but you can contact her at if you missed out.)

[Max Lohrbach's vignette at "Charmed Life" / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush / interior by Jeffrey Valley]

Before I knew it, I was being struck from behind with some kind of stick – it was Max Lohrbach, nearly unrecognizable at first with his brand-new super-short haircut. I hadn’t seen Max since he was last in town for the Poolside Fashion Show, and I had to see his adorable vignette. It was composed of a lifesize paperdoll lady and child, which he illustrated himself. “It’s kind of dark,” Max smirked. “The picture the little girl is holding is of her dead father.” I immediately coveted the ivory silk dresscoat, but decided not to muss up the parlor-esque display by trying it on and called dibs on it. He also was selling his one-of-a-kind “hair hats,” originally created for Voltage 2009. And sell he did – two of them ended up in the hands of a couple of fab ladies, with some sales help from one of my favorite stylists in the city (and Max’s newest fan), Richard Anderson. The hats are currently available at Design Collective, if you’re interested.

[Blacklist Vintage's booth at "Charmed Life" / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

At some point, I knew I had to step in to judge the evening’s stylist challenge so I went to hunt down Kate Iverson, editor of l'etoile magazine, who co-presented the event with METRO, running into Ellen Dahl of and The Minneapoline, looking chic as always, and City Pages’ blonde style mavens, Emily Utne (a fab photog in her own right) and writer Stacey Tuthill. I spotted Kate with Emma Berg of (in an adorable Max Lohrbach sheer coat dress) near Blacklist’s booth, which was fabulously decked out with the vintage shop’s delectable selection of hats, pretty as little cakes. A couple steps to the left, Robyne Robinson’s booth of her ROX jewels was swarming with shoppers, and next to her, “Project Runway” darling Christopher Straub hawked his popular leather accessories, in which his hard-meets-soft aesthetic was evident. Everywhere I turned, sales seemed brisk and excitement was in the air.

[Jahna, left, at the judging table at "Charmed Life" / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

It was time for the competing stylists to get to their challenge. The trio were quite the venerable crew: Xavi Sostre, who has worked with me recently on
Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman’s Fashion Week show; Molly Roark, a visionary known for her fabulous work in l’etoile magazine when it was in print back in 2007; and Zach Pearl, a longtime stylist to Laura Fulk who styled for Voltage 2009. As they styled their models, I sat down with the rest of the judging panel, which included Mary O’Regan of METRO, MNfashion board member Jessica Palkowitsch, Christopher Straub, and a very chic blonde woman – whom I eventually realized was none other than famed model Cheryl Tiegs. (Apparently, Miss Tiegs was there as a spokesperson for the new Cambria showroom at IMS.)

[Molly Roark with her winning look at "Charmed Life" / Image by Stephen Stephens/Digital Crush]

First up, Xavi presented his look, his assigned them “bohemian chic.” It was very chic and wearable, but not really outside of the box. Next up was Zach Pearl’s “first lady” theme, which he edited to mean “first lady of the 21st century,” pairing oversized pearls, a fuchsia boucle coat, and layered vintage hats. It was brilliant in theory, with every detail purposeful, but the wearability factor was low. Finally, we had Molly Roark’s “holiday chic” look, a feminine gold dress paired with a black sequin skirt underneath, and a black Dries Van Noten scarf wrapped around the model’s neck like a bow, giving it an edge. Thoughtful and wearable in one. We tallied our scores and Molly came out the winner, her prize a fancy leather portfolio. I myself left with my own prize – a gift bag stuffed with swag including hair product samples from Aveda and Bumble & Bumble, perfume samples from Thymes, coupons for free drinks at area restaurants and a can of Red Bull. Fancy!

[Emma Berg & Jahna at "Couture Noir" / Image by MJF Foto]

By then, it was 8:45 – I had fifteen minutes to get to “Couture Noir” and I didn’t want to risk missing a moment. It ended up not starting until 10 p.m., so I needn’t have rushed, but it gave Emma Berg and man-about-town Christian Erickson (who was gearing up for his reunion performance with Astronaut Wife at Saturday’s Jagerfest) enough time to catch up with me. Held at the decadent, charming Varsity Theater – one of my fave venues in town – the show kicked off with collections from newbie Anthony Eliason and a couple of talented designers we haven’t seen for a while, Danielle Everine and Elizabeth Chesney.

[A look by Danielle Everine at "Couture Noir" / Image by Marcus Metropolis]

The three were hit-or-miss. Eliason’s party-friendly looks were fun and youthful but the execution wasn’t quite there yet. Both Everine and Chesney showed some strong pieces incorporating difficult-to-manipulate leathers, but with the focus on one part of a look, other details appeared to be forgotten. However, Everine’s light pink minidress constructed of large round discs
sculpted from pieces of saddle grade leather was particularly inspired, eliciting an “ooh” from both me and Emma. It was all good and fine, but overall it wasn’t anything we hadn't seen before.

[A look by Apatico at "Couture Noir" / Image by Marcus Metropolis]

To my delight, the second half of the show was significantly higher on the drama, quality and construction. It started off with two of the city’s hardest-working designers, Megan Bishop and Samantha Rei of the Libertine Asylum collective (which will be having their own show later this fall). Megan’s Apatico line was youthful, feminine, extremely well-made, and dare I say, actually somewhat wearable.

[A look by Blasphemina's Closet at "Couture Noir" / Image by Marcus Metropolis]

Samantha continued on that note, with her Blasphemina’s Closet line showcasing plenty of ruffles, bustles and bows, ending with an incredible bell-sleeved dress coat in baby pink. I got butterflies dreaming about it in black. It’d be the perfect opera coat to see “The Pearl Fishers” next week at the Ordway.

[A look by Seamstrix at "Couture Noir" / Image by Marcus Metropolis]

But the real drama of the night came from Melanie Ree’s Seamstrix collection. Until now, I’d seen her work only in pictures, but the collection as a whole was breathtaking, gorgeous, edgy, and completely unwearable – everything that a show like “Couture Noir” should be, in my opinion. Much of it was in unexpected shades of white, the most ingenious looks pairing Southern-belle ruffles with menacing eyeless silver masks. It’s country club goth futurism, I thought; and Emma echoed, “It’s like what you would wear to have mimosas with Marilyn Manson.” The segment ended with none other than Venus DeMars of All the Pretty Horses rocking the runway in a crazy-good black beaded gown. What a finale!

[Mackenzie Labine, right, with her model at "Couture Noir" / Image by Marcus Metropolis]

But wait – what of the show producer, Mackenzie Labine? I had so been looking forward to seeing what the designer has been working on as she’s been off the radar over the past few years. Her anime-meets-goth aesthetic in her line oiishimomo was always delightful. One model came out, and then…Mackenzie herself walked down the runway. WTF? I thought. One look? The show has been Mackenzie’s labor of love over the past couple of years, and credit must be given to what was a successful event, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed to not see an actual collection from her. Her own dress, at least, was appropriately decadent and true to the Mackenzie aesthetic we love. Incorporating lace, taffeta, beading, and more detail than the eye can take in from ten feet away, as well as varying lengths and shapes, it all managed to work together in beautiful chaos.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

MNFashion Week Recap #1: 9/17-9/18

By Jahna Peloquin, fashion editor

As New York Fashion Week winded its way down, MNfashion Week was just beginning. Though it officially kicked off Monday the 21st, the Twin Cities weren’t short on a surplus of fashion this past weekend. l’etoile Fashion Editor Jahna Peloquin hit the hot spots and gave us a recap.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Image: Jahna, left, with Anna Lee and MNfashion board member Jessica Palkowitsch
[Images by Jahna Peloquin]

I kicked off the weekend early with An Evening at Eastcliff at the home and gardens of the President of the U of M in St. Paul. Though not officially an MNfashion Week event, MNfashion founder Anna Lee was on hand to address the crowd that gathered for the event put on by the Friends of the Goldstein (founded by local fashion icon Margot Siegel). We were served wine and hors d’oeuvres during the seated presentation and afterward mingled within the decadent surroundings.

(Image of Allison Quinnell with her design)

Anna Lee also brought in two local designers of her choosing, Amanda Christine and Allison Quinnell, who previewed their fall 2009 collections. Allison’s participation was fitting, as she graduated two years ago from the University of Minnesota’s apparel design program. The Voltage 2009 designer showed a gorgeous violet dress, modeled by Talia of Vision Models. She told me her fall collection, consisting of jewel tones with gem detailing, studding and ruffles, would be available soon at Drama and Design Collective.

(Designs by Amanda Christine)

Then there was Amanda Christine, one of my favorite designers to work with. I wore one of the pieces I had commissioned from her, a ruffled skirt based off a design she created for her spring 2009 collection, to the raves of the party-goers. She had two models with her wearing her fall designs: Zoby designer Heather DeLapp in a red plaid wiggle dress, Nikki Morris in a checked peplum top (which I also own), skirt and ingenious scarf-wrap. She makes them in a bunch of colors, and they’re currently available at Cliché and Drama for $40. Amanda wore one of her own ruffled pencil skirts.

Next, it was on to stop by Kingman Studios for this month’s edition of Gallery Grooves, co-hosted by Secrets of the City Arts Editor and l’etoile Editor-in-Chief Kate Iverson. It was the first time any of us could recall being at Kingman’s before midnight. The studio of artist Brant Kingman, one of the city’s indispensable characters, turned out to be a great place to mingle (and sip vodka drinks tinged with mint and served by Secrets publisher Kris Henning).

(Jahna at Drama with photographer Mike Feltault)
[Image courtesy Mjf Foto]

Then it was onto the grand re-opening party for local boutique Drama, which recently relocated from downtown Minneapolis to Uptown. There I ran into the fabulous Gretchen Williams, former Events Producer and gal-about-town, who was in town from NYC for the weekend. Once inside I also happened upon local designer Kimberly Jurek, who counts Drama as one of the many boutiques her line kjurek couture is carried. (Her solo show, Exclusively Fall, will be held at the W Hotel this Friday.)

As with every Thursday evening, I ended up at l’etoile’s weekly Project Runway viewing party at Hell’s Kitchen. Since Kate was caught up at Kingman’s, l’etoile publisher Beth Hammarlund was joined by her boyfriend and l’etoile Business Manager Brian Goielli for fashion trivia before the show. Fortunately, both of our homeboys Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman and Christopher Straub managed to create great pieces, and were deemed safe by the judges.

Friday, September 18, 2009

After joining a bunch of well-connected peeps at a happy hour thrown by Gretchen Williams at Bev’s Wine Bar, I headed out to the Envision fall fashion show at the Graves 601 Hotel with Kate Iverson in tow. We started with fancy cocktails at downstairs bar Bradstreet, known for its “mixologists” (a fancy term for bartenders), and drinks in hand, headed to the sixth floor for the bi-annual runway show thrown by Ignite Modeling. Packed with more designers and boutiques than you could shake a stick at, the show is always a can’t-miss event on every local fashionista’s calendar. After traipsing through backstage to preview the looks and say hello to the models, we took our front-row seats (furnished with a swag bag that included a mini bottle of Grey Goose. Fancy!)

(Image of a look from Awryn Birch)
[Images by Josh Stokes/Stokes Foto]

From the beginning, the show was full of class and sophistication. It started off with a lone violinist who took a stroll down the runway, backed by a bumpin’ beat. (“Is that Ross from Friends?” Kate cheekily commented.) Then Arwyn Birch’s models hit the runway, in plaid coats with bell sleeves, hoods, and oversized buttons. They were surprisingly chic coming from a designer known for her simple, wearable knit dresses. The hair and makeup styling, by Rocco Altobelli stylists and L. Mae Artistry, respectively, superbly showed current fall trends and provided a seriously chic consistency to the show.

(Image of a look from Emily Weich)
[Images by Josh Stokes/Stokes Foto]

Emily Weich’s collection followed. The designer’s strengths are in concept, styling and a whimsical charm, but it was hard to tell what she was going for based on the four looks we were presented with. Some of the looks erred on the side of too sexy – one included a fur wrap, a black silk minidress that looked like a nightie, and black sheer thigh-highs worn with garters. The shredded fur stole the designer herself wore, however, was an intriguing, edgy piece when worn simply with skinny jeans and pumps.

(Image of a look from Kjurek Couture)
[Images by Josh Stokes/Stokes Foto]

(Image of a look from Amanda Christine)
[Images by Josh Stokes/Stokes Foto]

Next up were kjurek couture and Amanda Christine. Kimberly Jurek’s collection included a lot of cowl neck and ruffle neck details, waist-tie belts, and warm fall tones and pops of bright orange, worn with statement feather earrings by Zoby. (I’ll review her collection in full after Friday’s show at the W.) The standout of Amanda’s collection was a black-and-white belted jacket with three-quarter-length sleeves – a perfect excuse to buy some black leather elbow-length gloves this fall.

(Image of a look from Jenny Carle)
[Images by Josh Stokes/Stokes Foto]

Next up, Jenny Carle (also in this Saturday’s SCENEaSOTA show) showed her usual wearable strapless sheath dresses, which I’ve been told are a hot seller at Cliché. Her addition of cropped jackets and longer dresses showed her desire to grow in range, but the construction and fabric choices seemed a bit off. It was apparent that the long blue dress, while nice in concept, constrained the model’s legs as she attempted to walk down the runway, and her colorful print tunic rode up to reveal a peek of the model’s bum.

(Image of a look from Russell Bourrienne)
[Images by Josh Stokes/Stokes Foto]

Then we got to menswear designer Russell Bourrienne, a longtime staple of the local fashion industry. When it comes to construction and fit, no one does it better than Russell, and too few designers create menswear in this city. While sometimes his spring collections are a bit off to me stylistically, his fall collections are consistently strong. He showed his usual coats and jackets in plaid, orange and olive green military-grade wools, but added a twist with button and belted detail on the pant legs. After the show, he told me he was inspired by the burgeoning Steampunk movement, and I thought it was smart of him to incorporate unusual details with classic tailoring. It would be interesting to see how he would translate his aesthetic into womenswear.

(Image of a look from Peloria)
[Images by Josh Stokes/Stokes Foto]

Local designer Peloria and some looks from boutique Local Motion followed. Peloria showed her usual quirkiness with asymmetrical hemlines and collars, and styled her models in very Prada-esque stocking caps and flats. While I appreciated the unique styling, I wish she would’ve chosen more expensive-looking fabrics; these knits have an unfortunate tendency to bunch at the seams.

[At La Nouvelle Femme with Emma Berg and Anna Lee]
[image by Mjf Photo]

Though the show was only half over at this point, I had to rush out to catch Calpurnia Peach’s runway segment at La Nouvelle Femme at the Varsity Theater. In my rush, I was pulled over for speeding (fortunately I didn’t get a ticket), and missed the show (which started earlier than I was told). When I spotted Peach co-designer Luci Kandler, she offered to take me backstage to view the garments up close, and promised me pictures.

[Images by Charlie B. Ward]

I love the deep plum color and gold-leaf print of this dress. It should be a choice look come the holidays.

Another highlight was this ruffle-skirt dress with a charming whale print. The best part may be the back, which features a cut-out detail tied together with a bow.

Here we have somewhat of a departure from the duo known primarily for mini-dresses and one-piece jumpers. However, I feel the pairing of a long-sleeved shirt and full-length skirt seems stodgy and forced.

All in all, the show seemed to be a charming affair that pulled in an eclectic crowd. Having it at the newly-remodeled Varsity (boasting an expanded bar and capacity) didn’t hurt – it’s one of the most magical places to see a show in the Twin Cities, and was a definite step up in ambition and scope for the collective of artists, musicians and designers.

MNfashion Week is off to a swinging start! Look for more fashion show reviews and event recaps later this week.

For l'etoile's full schedule of official MNFashion Week events click HERE

For more info on the MNFashion Organization click HERE

Le'TALK: l'étoile interviews SCENEaSOTA's Emma Berg

by Jahna Peloquin

Saturday night's MNfashion Week show SCENEaSOTA boasts a bevy of local fashion talent. Among the designers is someone not at all new to the local fashion scene, Emma Berg. It will be the director, Fox Tax Gallery curator and all-around fashion plate's debut collection. I sat down with Emma, who also happens to be a good friend of mine, for an impromptu interview over wine at her Minneapolis home, where she told me more about the collection and her design background.

JP: Tell me where you’re at right now. It’s a couple days before the show and you have a lot to do. How are you feeling?

EB: I’m feeling pretty good. I have a finale piece to finalize. I’m trying to figure out where it is I want it to go because it’s not as extreme as I want it to be.

[An Emma Berg look for SCENEaSOTA / image by Stephanie Hynes]

JP: What inspired the finale piece?

EB: I had this color palette and I actually had another piece picked out that had an abundance of ruffles, and it didn’t seem like it was pushing it enough. So I went back to the fabric store and found this fabric. It’s this crazy folded white satin, and I just fell in love with it, so I’m trying to figure out how to make it work.

JP: It kind of reminds me of the accordion fabric that Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman used for his “Eluded Love” show.

EB: Yes, very.

JP: But a wintry version.

EB: Yes. And with all of these, I’m trying to create something I haven't done before. Especially with this final piece, I want to make sure that I’m learning something from it.

JP: So let’s go back for a second. What inspired you to start designing now? You’ve been working for Target, you’ve been doing mplsart, you’ve been curating at Fox Tax, and you always support local designers. Why now?

EB: Well one, I took a trip to India last summer, and was inspired by all the draping, and seeing how the younger generation styled a very traditional sari to made it their own. That was really interesting to me. And I guess part of it too is having supported artists and designers and whatnot, all of a sudden it was like, wait, what if I do something too? It’s nice to focus on what I really want to do, not that I don’t like carrying mplsart, but it’s nice to be able to focus on me.

[Emma wearing one of her creations at the Poolside Fashion Show '09 / Image by MJF Foto]

JP: Have you gotten any reactions from people so far? It seems like a lot of the press is focused on your debut in this show.

EB: It’s exciting, but that’s why the finale piece has to be good. That’s why I started all over. (
laughs) If I’m going to get a bunch of attention, I’d better make it worth it, or you know, I have to earn it. I want to show appreciation.

JP: Yeah. And now that everyone is looking at you, you know, you have that much more reason to make everything amazing.

EB: Yeah. It’ll be embarrassing otherwise!

JP: Do you know of any people you’re excited to have at the show?

EB: You!

JP: Any family?

EB: My mother is super excited. She’s cute. I told her about the show a while ago and she was really excited. And the other day we’re talking and I’m like, “Oh,
MN Monthly voted Fox Tax as best gallery.” And she’s just like, “Oh, that’s nice, but I’m really excited about your fashion show.” She knows this is something I’ve always done, and I think she’s excited that I’m coming back to it. My mom called saying “I have some stuff, could you come pick it up?” and it was clothes I had designed when I was in middle school and high school, and course info for FIT. It was a nice little push.

JP: To everyone, it must seem like you’re a new designer, but you’ve really been designing since middle school.

EB: I didn’t sell for a tiny little bit at this boutique in St. Paul called Lookit, just a few pieces, and I held onto a couple pieces. But they were very ‘90s. It was very .. lots of leather, stars, bright colors, vinyl hearts.

[Emma in one of her designs at Glamorama 2009 / Image by Emily Utne/City Pages]

JP: How is that different from what you wear now?

EB: (
laughs) They were really absurd. I think my favorite was a bright, thick blue vinyl short skirt that just completely flared out and it had silver leather hearts on the back as pockets, a little bit of a raver feel.

JP: Where do you see this going, what’s next?

EB: I guess it just depends on where opportunity knocks. It’s been a great experience, and it’s hard to look at it and think, okay, I have to make four of those. Is that something I’m going to do? And right now with everything else I’m doing, that’s not going to happen. But it will be interesting to hear what people have to say about it. I had a nightmare yesterday that I was at a bunch of events for MNfashion, and all the clothes were like Chanel and Alexander McQueen, over-the-top amazing, and I’m like, “What am I doing?! What am I thinking?” I was so nervous that people would be comparing me to something like that.

JP: We just need to find people to help you sew. I mean Karl Lagerfeld designs three lines, you know.

EB: I mean right now it’s nice to just experience it.

SCENEaSOTA happens Saturday at the Ignite Modeling Studio. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Brin Glass Building, 600 Washington Ave. N. Suite 101, Minneapolis, $10 general, $20 VIP.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

l'etoile's MNFashion Week Fall Spectacular!

As you're well aware, we here at l'étoile have been keeping a sharp hawk-eye on the local fashion scene for many-a-year. This Fall's MNFashion Week is an extra exceptional example of the upward mobility of the fashion community, however, this time featuring a record number of awesome events! With such a lavish buffet of stylish delights at your disposal, we're pretty sure it will be impossible to attend them all -- talk about fashion overload! The diligent peeps over at MNFashion have worked tirelessly for years to get to this point, helping to organize and mobilize independent designers and businesses across the Twin Cities, and we feel it's merely the tip of the iceberg! Get out, buy local, and have a fantastic fashion week!



KOKOON Boutique Grand Opening

Renowned for flattering, feminine styles mixed with an array of funky prints, fresh fabrics and limited edition designs, KOKOON throws open the doors to its brand new headquarters in the heart of Seward, welcoming you in to enjoy a glass of wine while you admire the new fall line. Founder and designer Laine Sou Weinberg will be on-hand to premiere this season's newest designs and field your style questions while assisting you in building the ultimate wardrobe.

4 p.m. to 8 p.m., KOKOON, 2508 24th Ave S in Minneapolis, free


Clothing Swap: Presented by Yelp! and MNfashion

Step gracefully from one wardrobe to another at the Yelp & MNFashion Clothing Swap. Bring your clean, gently used clothing that is rip and stain-free and enjoy refreshments while perusing the garb made available for trade by your friends and fellow fashionistas. Admission is free provided you bring something to swap (a suggested range of 3-12 items of clothing, shoes, or accessories). More information is available by calling MNfashion at 612-338-1150.

7 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Textile Center, 3000 University Ave, Minneapolis, Free if you bring items to swap



Come and learn the best kept secrets of going in thrift and coming out style with tips and tutorials from local designers. Held at the Second Début Renewed Fashion and Art Boutique, this two hour crash course in thrifty hipsterism is sure to enlighten attendees in the art of fiscally frugal fashion and adorn them in original vintage styles. Operated by Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota, Second Début helps raise funds to support education, workforce development, and employment services. Please bring a gently worn garment to donate to Second Début.

7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Second Debut, 4300 36 ½ Street, Saint Louis Park


Charmed Life

Charmed Life! The Trunk Show of All Trunk Shows! Get your holiday shopping done early and join Metro Magazine & l’étoile for a festive evening of shopping, drinks and music at International Market Square.

Shop the latest fall and holiday trends from local boutiques: Il Vostro, Post Dash, Omorphia, Shorty’s Loft, La Bratique, Design Collective, Blacklist Vintage, Second Debut and more. You’ll also have the chance to shop up-and-coming designers in the Twin Cities for the latest in accessories, jewelry and clothing: Vintage City Classics, DC Ice, Karin Jacobson, Seamstrix, JNRR Fashion, Designs by K Cayetano, EC Design, Christina Simone, Adrienne Grahn, Rox Jewelry, Britta Lynn Designs, Laura Fulk, Max Lohrbach, Ferociter, Ruby3, Second Debut, Elsworth, June Resale and more.

You’ll be sure to find something for yourself and the perfect gift for someone else. So grab your friends and spend your evening shopping, enjoying cocktails and fabulous tunes. Curate your life. Be Charmed!

Plus don’t miss the chance to meet current Project Runway favorite Christopher Straub and see his designs!

Featuring complimentary cocktails from 6-7:30pm from Barefoot Wine, 45th Parallel Vodka and Peroni Beer. Enjoy appetizers and receive an amazing swag bag. Get a behind the scenes look at what goes on in a live fashion photo shoot. Get the latest fall and holiday trends in a fashion styling challenge, see fashion/interior vignettes designed by Jeffrey Valley. Enjoy a wine tasting from the Wine Shop and meet-and-greet with Cheryl Tiegs while checking out the new Cambria showroom. All while listening to fashionable tunes from DJs Millions Billions and Tendercakes.

BONUS: Keep your fashionable evening going! Show your proof of purchase for Charmed Life and receive $5 off admission at the door for the Couture Noir fashion show at the Varsity Theater on Wednesday, September 23 at 9pm.

6 p.m. to 9 p.m., International Market Square, 275 Market Street, Minneapolis, $25

Get your tickets today HERE.


GO Travelwear

Designer Margaret Mousley has created a line of versatile clothing featuring jet setting looks with classic lines and the ease of care every traveler needs. Says Mousely of her work, “I create women's garments that are both unique and wearable by focusing on design and quality.” Join her at Lizze on Grand in Saint Paul for refreshments and an informal trunk show featuring her wise and elegant designs.

6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Lizze on Grand, 1856 Grand Ave, St. Paul, free


Couture Noir

Witness the dark, sexy underbelly of the fashion world clothed by designers from Apatico Shop, Seamstrix, Blasphemina’s Closet, Bionic Unicorn, and Oishiimomo. Augmented by live DJs and burlesque dancing, this display of the shadowy and sensual side of sartorial splendor stands poised to deliver the magical and sexy Noir experience to everyone via the plethora of Victorian, goth and steampunk attire on display. Admission is $15, with discounts extended to those who come in masquerade costume or those who appear bearing a ticket stub from another MNfashion Week event.

8 p.m. (show at 9 p.m.), Varsity Theater, 1308 4th Street SE, Minneapolis, $15


Fall Fête at Local Motion

Featuring Mars Clothing by Maureen Fuhr, Allilamodie by Allison Helliwell, Kokoon by Laine Weinberg, and Barbara Heinrich designs, Local Motion will bring you up close and personal with some top notch designers. Enjoy refreshments, win door prizes every hour on the hour and take advantage of the special 20% off everything sale in honor of fashion week. The guest designers will all be on hand to address your fashion needs while debuting their latest vestments with an informal trunk show.

4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Local Motion, 2813 Hennepin Avenue S, Minneapolis, free



Twin Cities designers take over St. Paul for Adorn, Grand Avenue’s major fashion and beauty event, including trunk shows, runway collections, and hair and make-up trends. Featured designers include local heavy-hitters Kimberly Jurek, Robyne Robinson and Calpurnia Peach and so many more at the slew of cute businesses that "adorn" the landscape of Grand Avenue. Be sure to stop by participating boutiques and restaurants to take full advantage of all the fabulous discounts! Visit for a complete list -- and plan your grand evening on Grand Avenue!

5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Various Locations, Grand Ave, St. Paul, Free


Feminine Fair

“Footpaths: The Silk Road to Highstreet,” the new fall collection from the Mehera Shaw line, will be on display at designer and owner Shari Keller’s boutique. The designer’s hand block prints from the Jaipur region of India are sure to add color and life to your fall wardrobe. Join the models and minglers for a casual presentation and a glass of white wine (the sip of choice for chic Twin Citizens who wouldn’t allow a glass of cabernet within twenty feet of their Marc Jacobs). Admission is free, but space is limited, so be sure to RSVP in advance at the number below.

7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Mehera Shaw, 2004 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, Free (RSVP to 612-874-9115)


FAME/ENVISION: Fall 2009 Designer Meet and Greet

Rub shoulders with your favorite local designers and boutique owners at Ignite Models ENVISION: Fall 2009 Designer Meet and Greet and Interactive Trunk Show. Couture pieces will be available to try on and to purchase, creating a unique opportunity for fashion lovers to shop with the designers’ assistance. Participating designers include Amanda Christine, Renate Adjei and Russell Bourrienne. Food and drink will be provided by The Loop, while DJs Timmay and Shiek will be supplying the evening’s soundtrack. Be sure to hang on to your ticket stub from the ENVISION: Fall 2009 fashion show for a 50% off discount for admission to the Meet and Greet. For a full list of participating designers and boutique owners, click on over to Ignite’s website,

7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Ignite Models Studio, Brin Building, 600 Washington Ave N Ste 101, North Loop, $10 ($5 with a ticket stub from ENVISION: Fall 2009)


Project Runway Weekly Screenings

Come cheer on our hometown boys Ra'mon and Christopher every Thursday at Hell's Kitchen! Put on something snazzy and join us for weekly screenings of Project Runway, sponsored by l'étoile and Metro Mag! Show up early from 6-8pm for live music, drink specials and the full dinner menu, then from 8-9pm play fashion trivia with Kate and Beth from l'étoile , who will be giving away sweet prizes including a $50 bar tab every week. From 9-11pm settle in and watch back-to-back eps of Project Runway and spin off show, Models of the Runway, live on Hell's big screen. Enjoy drink specials, fashionable revelry, and damn good food at Hell's Kitchen every Thursday with us! Parking: $5 parking in adjacent lot, or metered street parking.

8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fashion Trivia, 9 p.m. screening, Hell's Kitchen, 80 S. 9th Street, Minneapolis, Free


Beauty & Fashion at Belle Reve & Parc Boutique

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and wonder, “Is my complexion dull? Could I be doing more with my eyebrows? Do I need to trim my bangs?” If so, step right up and get your fashion AND beauty fix at neighboring spots Belle Reve and Parc Boutique. Both shops will offer hair, make-up and manicures provided by Salon Lilli, in addition to their usual fashionable fare. The event is free, but appointments for services are strongly encouraged. Be sure to call ahead!

5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Parc & Belle Reve, 328 E Hennepin Ave / 320 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, Free

For appointments at Belle Reve Boutique: 612-333-3148 /
For appointments at Parc Boutique: 612-353-4966 /


Logan Real, Tour de France 2009 Show Launch Party

Satisfy your shoe lust at the unveiling of an exclusive new line of painted shoes by artist Logan Real. Each piece represents a stage town of the Tour de France, and will be available for auction online to benefit of The Goldstein Museum of Design and Livestrong. Real will attend the reception, so start refining your footwear discussion points in advance.

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Goldstein Museum of Design, 241 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave., St. Paul, Members $25; Guests $35 (Tickets available in advance and at the door)


Kjurek Couture Exclusively Fall Runway Show

Kimberly Jurek has established herself as one of the most consistent designers in the Twin Cities. Her new fall collection features luxurious fabrics in rich colors, punctuated with the occasional pop of daring brightness. Jurek's beautifully constructed, gracefully draped garments will add the perfect touch to your autumn wardrobe. These designs will be showcased in a fully-seated show, so buy tickets in advance at Cliché, Drama, Karma, or Gallery 360 to ensure your spot runway-side.

8 p.m. to 11 p.m., W Hotel, 821 Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis, $20


Eat Street Style: Rare and Well Done

Head on over to Eat Street to feast your eyes on styles from three Nicollet boutiques. Head to Toe, Lost and Found and Blacklist Vintage will satisfy your cravings for yummy fall fashions and plenty of stylish socializing. We’re especially excited for the last look from our pals at Blacklist Vintage. Apparently, it’s inspired by steampunk! Bonus: Drag Queens.

Sponsored by l'etoile magazine!

8 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. show, Head to Toe Salon, 2445 Nicollet Ave S., Minneapolis, $5

Blacklist Vintage owner Vanessa Messersmith answers some of our most pressing questions about Rare and Well Done.

How do you feel that the selections from Lost & Found, Head to Toe, and Blacklist Vintage will compare and contrast with one another?

Blacklist Vintage and the other boutiques have two owners that compliment each other when buying and selecting styles. Each item in the stores reflect these personalities. With each new season, fashion borrows from past eras. At Blacklist vintage, we incorporate authentic pieces to inspire a modern look.

You're showing quite a few looks for this event. Are you using pieces that you've recently acquired specifically for the show or are these items you've owned for years?

Clothing doesn't stay on the racks long at Blacklist. Since we decided to participate in Fashion Week, we have but putting selected pieces aside on a weekly bases.

You often work vintage pieces from completely different eras into the same look. What eras and trends do you find compliment one another best?

This is our favorite part when working with vintage. Styling all pieces in one era gives a costume look. Being creative with all vintage can instead give a fresh look. For example,1980's fashion was directly influenced by the bright color and shapes from the 60's, so they pair well. A dramatic 40's hat can spice up any outfit whether casual or formal.

All your models are customers. How did you decide which of your customers to feature in the show?

We want our audience to identify with the models and the fashions presented. We want to help people feel un-intimidated by vintage clothing and help people realize that vintage looks great on all body types. The easiest way to do this is pick from our own customers. They have awesome fashion sense and represent people from all walks of life.

Your final look for the show is a steampunk-inspired ensemble. What were the unique challenges of using only vintage clothing to achieve this look?

The best part about steampunk is that it's made up. Whatever you can imagine in your mind about this futuristic past world, can be made into existence. Since steampunk is influenced by the Victorian age, I wanted to reflect the over-sexualized, yet severely restricted women. This is our one artistic piece that holds no practical purpose, unless you are wearing it to the CONvergence convention of course.


Salon Series 5: Punk & Pearls

Despite not being on the official fashion week schedule, this spectacular evening of music, dance and fashion a la Minnesota Opera is one you will not want to miss. Take in the grandiose design work of renowned costumer Zandra Rhodes, who has recently extended her talents to the MNOp's production of The Pearl Fishers -- which opens on Saturday. Get a sneak peek of some of the amazing costumes that will grace the Ordway's stage through October 4th and mingle with a fashion forward crowd while doing it!

9 p.m., Ritz Theater, 354 13th Avenue NE, Northeast Minneapolis, Free with reservation


Liebling Designs, Ruby3 and Third Willow Trunk Show

DIY or die this Fall season with a creative oo-la-la trunk show from Northeast's under-the-radar, but cute as a button boutique, I Like You. With their “small things for a prettier life” mantra and devotion to all things local and handcrafted, I Like You! highlights the Autumn styles of some of this year's most vibrant designers, including unique headwear from Ruby3 (a.k.a. style authority and designer Anna Lee), gorgeous and ornate jewelry by Liebling Designs and stylish clutches, handbags and totes from Third Willow. Chat with the designers, enjoy refreshments and tour I Like You's charming new space.

2 p.m. to 5 p.m., I Like You!, 501 1st Ave. NE., Minneapolis, Free


Meet the Designer: Shari Keller

Meet the stylish brains and creative chops behind local designer company Mehera Shaw, Shari Keller. Inspired by East/West fused prints and stitching techniques, Mehera Shaw's ecologically and fair made design aesthetic produces a “decidedly feminine” artisan line of sophisticated and casual wear with colorful natural fibers and layered silhouettes. Tonight, enjoy refreshments, meet the designer (as well as her husband and co-owner, Mark Keller) and share in conversation about the unique process that goes into making this modern meets traditional clothing collection. Photos from Keller's previous collections, her workshop in Jaipur, India and block printings by village artisans will be on display. During the reception all attendees will receive 30% off regularly priced garments store-wide!

1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Mehera Shaw, 2004 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Free


Draping and Pattern Workroom

The innovative Apparel Technologies Program at MCTC is not only the only one of it's kind in the state, but is also known for utilizing the latest in production technology and cutting edge techniques. This afternoon, the school's Apparel Lab hosts an interactive workshop on the principals of design. Witness a lecture and demonstration on the art of draping fabric from fashion designer and master draper, Mark Caligiuri. Feel free to just listen in and observe the demonstration or get down and dirty with your fabric and show off your textile skills. The 18 available dress forms are first come, first serve, so arrive early and bring your own muslin to work with.

1 p.m. to 4 p.m., MCTC, T Bldg Rm T5000 (5th floor Technical Bldg), 1501 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, free


Rox on Ice!

What better way to wind down Fall fashion week than with local celeb and style guru, Robyne Robinson at her design space, Rox Studio. Robyne's infectious jewlery designs have long been a hot commodity, and have been especially buzzed about lately due to the pairing of her accessories with Project Runway contestant Ra'mon Lawrence-Coleman's collection at the most recent NYC Fashion Week! Sip on delicious chilled champagne as you view her sophisticated and unique line of semi-precious stone, pearl and African brass bead jewelry. Purchase these exotic creations and chat with the talented designer herself.

1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Rox Studio, 2205 California St. NE. Studio 403, Minneapolis



Local design darling Maritza Ramirez doesn't just know how to create fashions a la mode, but she knows how to spot the next big it-designer. Due to the success of last
year's show, MNfashion's Fall Fashion Week welcomes back the style-charged runway showcase, SCENEaSOTA, hosted by Maritza herself. Featuring the stunning Fall collections of established and emerging local designers including returning designers Renate Adjei, Jenny Carle and Carmichael Claith, fresh designs from recent St. Kate's grad, Ashley Busch, Karmadandi, and the eagerly awaited runway debut of curator and local fashion plate, Emma Berg. Held at the airy Ignite Models Studio, the event is sure to be more than just a crowd pleaser, but paradigm for the season's fashion trends. Best of all, every must-have design will to available for purchase the following day at Uptown boutique, Cliché.

7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Ignite Models Studio, Brin Glass Building, 600 Washington Ave. N. Suite 101, Minneapolis, $10 general, $20 VIP

We sat down for a chat with Miss Maritza herself for some fashionable SCENEaSOTA gossip!

Tell us where the concept for SCENEaSOTA came from.

SCENEaSOTA started out in a really informal setting. Several of my classmates from St. Kate’s; Jenny Carle, Renate Adjei, Christine Carmichael and I wanted to showcase our designs last fall and try our hand at putting on our own production. Almost everyone involved in every aspect of the show were people we already knew. SCENEaSOTA, to me, is simply a small sampling of the design community here. From music, to fashions, to the locally owned and operated boutique, Cliché (where we all sell our designs), it's very much a “Minnesota-grown” event.

Last year's event was such a fantastic hit, it's back for a second year. What makes this design show so popular and engaging?

The success of the first SCENEaSOTA was completely unforeseen. I was literally biting my nails the day of the show, wondering if anyone would show up or if it would be a complete and utter failure. With such a limited budget, we promoted the show mostly online and with fliers. We had one ad in that appeared the week of SCENEaSOTA. I think that what made our show so appealing was that it was a very DIY, unpretentious show held at 331 Club. No matter if you were a young, fashionable uptown girl or a curious spectator, I think SCENEaSOTA offered an entertaining show regardless.

Minnesota-grown designers have definitely put themselves on the fashion map this year with the success of Ra'mon Lawrence-Coleman ( who showed a collection at NY's Fashion Week last week) and Christopher Straub's Project Runway spots. Where do you see the future of local fashion heading and what changes can we expect in the industry?

I could not be more proud of where Minneapolis is heading. There are so many designers, producers, stylists, writers and artists who dedicate all of their time and energy to promoting and creating a fashion scene in the Twin Cities. Starting with Katherine Gerdes on Season 3, we have now had 3 very talented local designers on Project Runway. I think people – locally and nationally – are starting to realize Minnesota is home to a very promising and talented fashion community. I credit all of my success with SCENEaSOTA to the fact that the fashion scene here is so supportive and everyone truly wants to see their peers succeed.

This year's show features a stunning line-up of talented female designers and a preview of two new designers who will be making their professional debuts at SCENEaSOTA, art curator, Emma Berg, and recent St. Catherine grad, Ashley Busch. How did you pick this year's participants and whose designs are you most excited to showcase?

I am pleased to say that Renate Adjei, Carmichael Claith and Jenny Carle are on the lineup once again. After attending the St. Kate’s fashion show this past spring, Ashley Busch’s collection caught my attention and I knew that she would be the fresh, young face of SCENEaSOTA. Kathryn V. had expressed interest to Cliché and they contacted me to see if we needed any other designers. I had done several shows with her in the past, so I was very familiar with her work and I have to say that she too shows a lot of promise. Emma Berg got on board after she expressed interest in doing a collection. I can’t pick any favorites. I haven’t seen any one collection in its entirety, so I am just as excited as everyone else!

The second annual SceneASota takes place at the new Ignite Model's Studio in Minneapolis. What made you choose this locale? How do you think the presence of this agency's venture will affect the future of Twin Cities fashion?

Allison Hamzehpour (co-founder of Ignite) was very involved in the Cliché Anniversary show and has an excellent working-relationship with Cliché. It was absolutely fitting that when they opened up their brand new studio in June that we utilize the intimate space as well showcase the talented models that are signed to the agency. Something that I really appreciate and support is that Ignite is founded on the ideal that all models should be paid a fair amount for their work. I think that Allison and Jessica are doing a phenomenal job promoting their business and also looking after their models.

Any surprises scheduled for the show we should know about?

I guess you’ll just have to find out for yourself ;)


Invigorate: Elsworth Men's Fall Fashion Preview

Because fashion week is every bit as much about stylish men's wear and it is women's, Downtown's chic apparel store, Elsworth Menwear joins the ranks in their first ever appearance in MNfashion Week! Hosted by the Lab Theater, tonight's preview affair features a tailored Fall/Winter collection of sleek and sexy looks for the male version of the fashionista. Elsworth's professional yet edgy styles promise to be the “talk of the town” this year and the foundation for an evening style-conscious gentlemen don't want to miss. Enjoy drinks and groovable tunes before, during and after the show.

Note: Suite tickets for this event are unfortunately sold-out. Guests can still purchase $20 general admission tickets at Elsworth Men's store or on the website.

8 p.m. to 1 a.m., The Lab Theater, 700 1st Street N., Minneapolis, $20 General/$35 Suite-sold out


Worn to Be Wild: Anthem Heart Studio Series

The most party-esque event on the MNfashion Week menu, the boys behind the beloved design collective Anthem Heart kick off the first in what is soon to be a monthly engagement: the Worn to be Wild Studio Series. The Anthem Heart event welcomes special guest t-shirt designer Matt Locher of MPLS' electro-heartthrobs, Solid Gold, in a series of collaborative prints especially – and only – for tonight's party. With multiple screens, a variety of blank t-shirt styles, a crazy selection of color choices and a little bit of improv, the design possibilities are literally endless. After all, can you really call yourself a true MPLS-loving fashionista without a few hot, Anthem Heart print tees in your wardrobe? And best yet, the one-of-a-kind wearables will be at a recession-proof price of under $30 bucks! Jam out to beats from DJs Wzz Wnshp (BRLSQOTHEQUE), Gigamesh and Deus ex Machina (l'etoile and SOTC's own Juleana Enright), plus enjoy cool drinks and tasty appetizers. This one's an late-nighter so get ready to get your party on!

11 p.m. to 3 a.m., Anthem Heart Studios, Q.arma Building, 1224 Quincy St. NE. #225, Minneapolis, free


Cliché VIP Salon

Consider yourself a true local fashion fan? Well, then nothing should be able to stop you from getting on the list for this VIP fashion presentation at Cliché this morning. Due to the size of the shop (and the exclusivity of the event) the guest list is mega-tight for this mini-fashion show featuring local clothing and accessory designers. Champagne and appetizers will flow, and a 10% discount on select merchandise will be offered to guests of the event. Pre-reg is definitely required, so call 612-870-0420 to see if they can't squeeze you in.

11 a.m., Cliché, 2403 Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis, Free (VIP, reservations required)


Miyagi Fashion Chop

Oh, we just love Miyagi Salon! Not only do we count the super cool owners Chris and Mo as personal pals, but we know for a fact that they do top notch work. Get your mop chopped by this fleet of concise clippers for a measly 20 bones today between Noon and 5pm. We guarantee you'll stroll out of the salon feeling like a million bucks -- not $20. The best part? All the proceeds from the cut-a-thon will go directly to MNFashion, which in turn will keep the Twin Cities buzzing with fashionable activities like it has been this entire week!

Noon to 5 p.m., Miyagi, 411 E. Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, $20 haircuts


Suede/Celebrity Luxe for Less

Fall calls for all sorts of rich, decadent materials and suede and leather goods are no exception. Head to Blessings Salon this evening for a peek at the latest collection by Dee Balentine featuring garments constructed of leather remnants and smooth suedes just in time for windy Autumn. Also featured is the styling work of Torih Gillespie, who will put together sassy looks that prove that you don't need to spend the big bucks to look fab. This runway show is first come, first serve seating-wise, so arrive early and score a primo seat.

5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Blessings Salon, 1451 University Avenue, St. Paul, $10


Fashion Guide contributing writers: Juleana Enright, Beth Hammarlund, Rob Callahan, Kate Iverson.

Check back after Fashion Week for tons of post-coverage from our fashion editor Jahna Peloquin!