Necklines were plunging, shirts were short to vanishing, and bellies were out—for both genders, not always intentionally—at Orchestra Hall last night for the spring edition of Envision. As the sun set on the year’s most glorious weather to date, Minneapolis’s most ostentatiously beautiful people were visibly thrilled to be out on the patio overlooking the Peavey Plaza pavement as they prepared to take in ten new collections from local designers.
With Voltage and now Glamorama out of commission, Envision is left standing as perhaps the state’s most prominent fashion event. Host Tricia Khutoretsky emphasized the show’s pragmatic focus on timely looks—unlike retail-minded New York event producers, the Envision team prefer to showcase spring/summer looks in the spring and fall/winter looks in the fall—and the clothes on display were, by and large, stylish without being showy. Almost everything on the runway was something a human being might actually consider wearing somewhere other than the runway; with a few exceptions, wacky accessories and exaggerated statement cuts were left in the closet.
All the designs on display were for women and, with the exception of George Moskal, by women—starting with Ellie Hottinger, a recent U of M grad who’s now living the dream in the Big Apple. I’m biased because Ellie and her family are friends of mine, but I heard people saying good things about her summery white pieces inspired by vintage swimwear.
Next up was the House of Gina Marie + MienKielo, whose collection was anchored by a classic trenchcoat that one of the designers described as a nod to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The outfits looked like what Anastasia Steele might wear if the dom/sub tables were turned in Fifty Shades of Grey—complete with kicky gold sport sandals and just a little leopard-print.
Yevette Willaert described her collection as inspired by time spent in Uganda; her bright tropical prints with bush-ready wide-brimmed hats would suit either a Bond girl or a supervillain.
Kjurek explored new frontiers in tie-dye, turning custom-dyed fabric into drapey blouses and asymmetrical skirts. If there was bottle service at Burning Man, these outfits are what the people ordering it might well be wearing.
The provocatively-named Idle Child presented a beachy collection heavy on high-cut shorts (translucent culottes optional) such as those favored by your grandmother back in the day—and Taylor Swift when she wants to be coy about whether or not she actually has a belly button. As Monsieur Adi (Beyoncé’s tour DJ, Khutoretsky pointed out—download his custom Envision mixes here) spun Emeli Sande’s “Crazy in Love” cover from The Great Gatsby, Idle Child’s models proved that turbans aren’t just for Uptown BBQ joints any more.
“Come back more drunk,” recommended our host before a half-hour intermission; everyone happily obeyed, returning to their seats and mezzanine posts in time to watch the Ignite models show off Jenny Carle‘s blocky prints for non-blocky people. In Carle’s collection the trench coat made its second appearance of the evening, this time reimagined as evening wear.
To my surprise, the crowd restrained itself from cheering when Stacie Yokiel, whose nom de couture is Kozol, declared that “pockets are a necessity.” Her models processed through the lobby in Yokiel’s safari-ready fashions with their hands casually stuffed into said pockets, with hats to shelter them from the sun and towering platform sandals to lift them out of the dirt. The designer, for her part, had bouncing soles.
Cliche made perhaps the boldest statement of the night, arguing that Minnesota is ready for knee-high ornamental straps that aren’t actually attached to the sandals they spiral above. I’m not so sure, but my girlfriend said it was one of her favorite collections of the night. The collection was inspired by Erykah Badu, and it’s hard to believe that Badu’s busking career wouldn’t be more successful if she let Cliche dress her.
Emily Trevor‘s sporty collection was sexy and decadent, full of the kind of outfits you might imagine seeing at the Panem Capitol Country Club.
Anchoring the evening was George Moskal, whose complexly-draped creations would have been a much better choice for Princess Leia to wear on Cloud City than that lavender shoulderpad cloak. Moskal’s first dress, a sequined stunner, was the most detailed piece of the night.
Inviting attendees to tweet about Envision, Khutoretsky optimistically predicted we could break the Internet. “Can we be bigger than Kim Kardashian’s ass?” she asked. Maybe not, but last night’s looks were certainly better.