There have been 20 installments (!!!) of Envision since its debut 10 years ago, and it’s come a long way from its first night in a hotel ballroom. The show is still Minneapolis’ most popular and well-attended event during Fashion Week MN, and for good reason: It’s incredibly well-produced, and it makes you feel like you’re at an event worth dressing up for. The seating is always packed -- in fact, this season featured an extended runway solely to seat all the guests.
That being said, the show is way too long. It’s meant to be the big finale to Fashion Week MN, but it could use some editing. For example, the short videos, which show before each designer’s work, are informative and beautiful, but could be chopped down to keep things moving. A three-hour fashion show is a pretty serious commitment.
The fall edition of Envision featured plenty of relative newcomers; old-school standbys like south Minneapolis boutique Cliché and Kjurek (now rebranded as Kindred Folk) were there, as well as established designers like George Moskal and Raul Osorio. It was nice to see a new crop of talent this time around, and to feel like these designers are encouraged and nurtured by a team who really cares about local fashion.
Let’s talk about their work!
Joeleen Tarvik’s fall collection showed a handful of cool, sophisticated looks in rust and navy hues with a burst of aquamarine. The designer said she tried to use more fabrics and layers than in prior collections, and it showed; her chunky sweater dress and wide-leg pants were standout pieces.
Emah the Label
Emah the Label’s mission statement is to create “unique pieces that come from a place of heart and integrity.” At Envision, designer Ellie Hottinger showed a collection of tailored separates in black and white, from cropped pants to a sporty minidress. The collection was very wearable, with a serious Euro/Zara-esque vibe and felt cohesive if not groundbreaking.
The Caribbean designer’s name was unfamiliar to me, but it isn’t anymore. His Envision collection was sexy, which is something we don’t often see on our runways. His ‘80s-meets-‘40s dresses -- in what looked to be silk charmeuse, which is a risky fabric to work with -- are highly covetable. Vigoa took a risk, and it paid off. His collection was one of the more memorable of the night.
Envision crowds always expect menswear perfection from Bourrienne, and he always delivers. His tailoring skills are insane, and the audience loved the ‘70s vibes of his pieces, which included a huge tweed cape.
Formerly known as Kjurek, Kindred Folk decided to change their name as they move into a more “lifestyle” space. The duo said their new moniker reflects their desire to grow and to take risks with their work. However, their bohemian collection felt very similar to what I’ve seen from Kjurek in the past: plenty of easy silhouettes in drapey fabrics.
Beloved boutique Cliché always presents a segment, and it’s always creatively-styled (this one had silver metallic halos). Like Cliché, the pieces were cute, cool, and fun.
“I wanted to give myself a canvas to explore,” said ACG designer Anna Chambers-Goldberg in her video. She definitely did, showing a collection that was out of the ordinary for Minneapolis, with serious avant-garde Japanese-influenced looks with a painterly edge. There was something strangely beautiful about it, and it looked gorgeous walking down the runway.
Cold Venus was another unfamiliar label to me, but I liked it because it was sexy. Turtleneck bodycon dresses in white and liquid metallic gold would be right at home in my closet, and the lipstick red gown was a dramatic departure from what we often see on local runways. Nobody really does sexy here, and they should. Cold Venus and Reinier Vigoa proved that.
Most Envision attendees will probably tell you that Xee Vang’s collection was the highlight of the night. It literally sparkled down the runway; her jewel work was incredible. Not only did she present a dramatic burgundy gown with a jeweled hem, but added a cream-colored jeweled, quilted bomber jacket on top. The collection, with a very refined palette and elegant silhouettes, was stunning, wearable, and completely covetable.
Full disclosure: Honduras-born designer Raul Osorio is a good friend of mine. He’s been absent from Twin Cities fashion for a few years after moving to New York and then L.A., but he’s back! His collection had previously been shown in Honduras, and featured mostly menswear in his trademark style. He’s his own muse, and that’s not a bad thing. The tunic tops and skinny leggings were something both men and women could wear; and he actually showed womenswear again after moving away from it. Glad you’re back, Raul.
Versteeg’s Envision collection was based on Helmut Lang’s photos of “sexy businesswomen,” and featured lots of pinstripes and ruffles. The problem with pinstripes is that they always look a little dated no matter what. However, his pieces were well-tailored and featured a welcome hint of leopard print, which always looks great.
George Moskal always shows beautiful things, and his Envision looks were just gorgeous. He uses glam fabrics like velvet and silk, and while a rust-colored velvet jumpsuit was a misstep, the rest of the collection was very Old Hollywood. He paired a feathered dress with a faux-fur coat to great effect, and his midnight blue velvet skirt was perfectly draped. Pretty, glam, classic George.
The Kyra Deva collection was the perfect example of how great styling can totally make a show. Stylist Amy Shetler paired the pieces with a series of hats, glasses, and scarves that really enhanced each look. A Western-esque zippered coat with leather detail and a rose-print bodycon dress were standout pieces.