Samantha Rei of Blasphemina's Closet prepares for RetroRama
Samantha Rei photographed by Nick Abrego
If you think that history is boring, RetroRama at the Minnesota History Center is set to prove you wrong. This hot party is a combination of history, politics, fashion, games, art, crafts, drinks, and music.
One of the highlights of the event is a vintage fashion show featuring local designers Emma Berg, Danielle Everine, Max Lohrbach, Samantha Rei, and Christopher Straub.
Samantha Rei, who designs under the fashion label Blasphemina's Closet, says she thinks that attendees will be surprised by how fun history can be.
"I love history, but I think a lot of people think it's this boring thing that their grandpa talks about," Rei says. "When you give history a youthful gloss, people realize how completely interesting it is. RetroRama is a way to be 'tricked' into learning while dressing fancy and drinking cocktails."
This will be Rei's second year participating in the event. She is especially excited that such talented designers are involved in the fashion show.
"It's pretty cool because all of the designers are really humble and just so nice," she says. "It has a really positive, awesome energy. I'm super excited to see what they do this year."
Each of the five designers were asked create a look inspired by a particular period or event in history. As most of Rei's work is inspired by Victorian fashion, she says that Anna Lee, who is producing the fashion show, was certain that she would choose women's suffrage as her theme. Rei surprised Lee by choosing prohibition instead.
"I really wanted to go outside of my comfort zone," she says. "I was ridiculously excited to do something that I don't normally do."
Rei did a great deal of research on 1920s fashion, and realized that while most people associate the decade with flapper dresses, that style makes up a very small portion of the looks from that time period.
Photo by Samantha Rei
Samantha Rei gives a sneek peek of her look for this year's RetroRama
Rei incorporated intricate beading into her design, which you find on most flapper dresses, but her piece was actually inspired by a whiskey barrel.
"I wanted to have a tongue-in-cheek kind of theme with Prohibition," she says. "People were hiding booze during that time, and I wanted to do something to incorporate that. Since women from Lili's Burlesque will be modeling our looks, I decided to do a fun strip-tease reveal."
In addition to the fashion that will be seen on the runway, all attendees are encouraged to show their own style by dressing up in vintage attire.
"I like that RetroRama gives people an excuse to dress up in fancy clothes," Rei says. "If I had my way, everybody would be fancy all the time. This event gives people a chance to take risks instead of wearing what's 'on-trend.' I love that."
IF YOU GO:
7:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday, May 24
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul
Tickets available online or by phone at 651.259.3015
There will be an after party at Amsterdam Bar with music by the Bad Companions and food and drink specials.
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