The stylish masses converged on the Graves Hotel this past Saturday to take in the Spring edition of Envision, a high-production fashion show put on by Ignite Models Inc, V2 Nightlife and Futuretime Productions. One of the most slickly produced shows in the Twin Cities, this bi-annual extravaganza continued to raise the bar with its latest installment entitled Envision: Artopia Spring 2010.
Upon entrance to the hotel, attendees were greeted by live models on pedestals, swathed in white like living sculptures; languid gatekeepers who added an artistic element to the swank lobby as well-heeled ticket holders waited to be admitted.
Not a group satisfied to put on a simple "fashion show," the Envision team entertained the crowd pre-runway with live hairstyling demonstrations from Rocco Altobelli Salon. Stylists competed against each other to create avant garde looks on their models, emceed throughout by the sprightly Nino Altobelli. A silent auction, wine tasting, a live art demo, tunes from DJ Real Talk Radio and more filled in the blanks as guests mingled before the show.
A two-part fashion show, Envision alternated looks by local designers with segments featuring styles from local boutiques. Cliche, one of Minneapolis' most revered local fashion institutions took the theme of "Artopia" to heart with their over-the-top head pieces that were one part Chiquita Banana and one part daring Springtime headdress paired with fresh, locally designed garments carried at the Uptown shop.
Peloria designer, Korrin Lohmann, was a highlight of the show with her expertly tailored garments that flowed between structured, subtly patterned pieces with bold accents and lady-like silouhettes. This salmon-colored number below was one of the standouts in the collection, with geometric cuts and light blue piping interlaced through a soft grid-like pattern. The back of the piece, however, was really the show-stopper with cleverly placed cutout detailing that could possibly be described as art-deco meets business chic.
One of the Twin Cities' most seasoned menswear designers, Russell Bourienne, brought his signature style to the runway of Envision once again. Filled with impeccably constructed pieces for the fashion forward man, Bourienne's latest collection focused heavily on outerwear, pulling a bit from the current belted trenchcoat trend, but still retaining his penchant for edgy colors and patterns as well as smart and masculine architectural structure.
Envision newcomer Rose White (aka Amanda Chaffin), who was named the design challenge winner, rocked the runway with softly draped, muted color palettes and delightfully girlish floral patterned swimwear. Chaffin was the only designer to introduce a swimwear element into her collection, which bent to a slight retro feel calling to mind 1960s Coney Island with a decidedly modern, flirty twist.
The finale of the show, however, perhaps fit the show's artistic theme best. Sarah M. Holm presented a dark yet whimsical collection of decadent pieces that ranged from playful and bouncy batwing-inspired skirts to regal silouhettes capped off with ethereal head gear. A series of Holm's garments took a sculpted spin with interesting drippy black detailing from the cuffs and hems. Could we call this line avant-goth? Perhaps. But most of Holm's designs could also easily transition to a more festive color palette without losing their punch.