5+ Questions with 'dark fashion' designer Mackenzie LaBine

There are a ton of events going down this coming weekend through next weekend for MN Fashion Week, but one sticks out to us as a sure-fire bet for some unique looks: Couture Noir at the Varsity this Wednesday. The event is produced by renowned Hairpolice stylist Mackenzie LaBine, who has been making charmingly bizarre clothes with a dark edge since the early 00s. Her designs plug into a jaded/gothic/pseudo-romantic attitude, and we're grateful for that because we don't want to see another thoughtless leggings and sundress combo for a long, long time.  Here's what LaBine told us about her show.

Gimme Noise: Why did you decide to do a "dark" fashion show rather than something bright and happy?

Mackenzie LaBine: I'm sick of traditional Minnesota fashion shows. I'm sick of seeing all these little springy flashy homegrown good-for-your-mom-and-pop type of fashion show. I wanted to do something that had depth to it -- something that inspires people and brings them out of their shell.

GN: So, why bring out the dark side?

ML: It speaks to an inner voice that we all have that want to come out but doesn't always have the proper place -- but this is the time and place. Put on that persona. Put on that personality. Enjoy yourself and don't feel like a freak.

GN: Are you expecting people to dress dark?

ML: I'm hoping people get inspired by the theme of the show but everyone should interpret it in any way they see fit. It will be nice to see everyone's darker style. I wonder how many people will show up with masks on, since it's technically a masquerade.

GN: Sweet. We love going incognito. Speaking of recognition, you were our cover model for our first-ever fashion-inspired issue this summer. Did you get much reaction?

ML Yeah, but a lot of people didnt recognize me, they saw my name inside and responded to that. I had some offers on the dress that I made for it but most of my clothes aren't for sale.

GN: Why?

ML: They are one of a kind. I wont make two of anything. Whatever size it is, it is. I made it for one model, and people who responded that wanted to buy it didnt fit in to the dress in City Pages, which was a size 2.

GN: Would you make a dress for someone if they commissioned you to do so?

ML: I would, but I'm not a tailor or seamstress. I am a designer. If they are inspired by my designs and they want something that is a baby of the parent of something I've done, I'd be into that.

GN: How is Couture Noir different from your 2006 show, Electro Couture Culture, held at First Avenue?

ML: ECC required that the designers creations be 75 percent black. For this one, there will be more color. I didn't ask the designers to follow such a high concept this time.

GN: Tell me about a designer in your show you're excited to see.

ML: I'm excited for Anthony Eliason - he's 18 in high school. I found him at Gay Pride. He was wearing an outfit that I could see Lady Gaga wearing, with a wig and makeup and I thought he was a girl from far away. I asked him about it and he said he made his own stuff so I invited him to be a part of my show.

Buy tickets to the show here.