Back in black

Local designers take on the dress that never goes out of style.

Local designer Danielle Everine showcases her black dress Wednesday at her studio.

Image by Anthony Kwan

Local designer Danielle Everine showcases her black dress Wednesday at her studio.

by Sally Hedberg


What: âÄúLittle Black DressâÄù

When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday

Where: Amsterdam Bar and Hall, 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul

Cost: Free

As essential as a cup of coffee is to morning is the little black dress to a womanâÄôs wardrobe. It can be worn formally, casually, in the office and on the town âÄî all the while radiating sexiness and refinement.

ItâÄôs a trend thatâÄôs stood the test of time âÄî everyone from Holly Golightly to Posh Spice would agree. To celebrate this inherent and fond connection among black dress wearers across the Twin Cities, MN Fashion Week has challenged top local designers to present their interpretation of the classic clothing article in the aptly titled show âÄúLittle Black Dress.âÄù

Of the 13 designers, each showing two looks (one black dress and one of their choosing), Danielle Everine is one who especially stands out. Her recent stint on âÄúProject RunwayâÄù generated plenty of local buzz (you may have even attended the viewing parties downtown). Tim and Heidi may have squandered her shot at immediate national success, but the scope of her talent extends far beyond the 15 minutes of television fame.

âÄúIf thereâÄôs anything I learned from my âÄòProject RunwayâÄô experience itâÄôs that while my work is important, itâÄôs also important for me to express myself and to let people see that,âÄù Everine said.

Establishing a lasting connection to people through her work may seem easy, but Everine works constantly at retaining it through provoking thought. For example, in fall of 2010 her joint show with Raul Osorio, âÄúPale Rider,âÄù posed questions of gender expectations through juxtapositions of delicate and sturdy fabric. For fall, sheâÄôs designing a line for Cliché thatâÄôs influenced by 20th-century travel and whaling.

âÄúMy fiancé has a sailboat that he races, and it got me thinking,âÄù Everine said. âÄúI had so much inspiration thinking about peopleâÄôs travels and the sacrifices they make. IâÄôm interested in taking people on journeys.âÄù

This kind of contemplative approach is typical of Everine and it transfers to her approach to âÄúLittle Black Dress.âÄù

âÄúThe essence of the little black dress is that itâÄôs special to you in some way,âÄù Everine said. âÄúThough it can be subtle, itâÄôs always a go-to thing if youâÄôre not sure how to dress.âÄù

For EverineâÄôs look, sheâÄôs opted to focus on texture, using both her characteristic sheer fabrics (Minneapolis is still swooning over her Voltage 2011 line) and also details like beading and layers.

From George Moskal to Sarah Holm, every look is certain to be unique to the designer and it will be exciting to observe the subtleties.

Everine divulged about the little black dress that first stole her heart.

âÄúIt was an Anna Sui dress with pretty black lace,âÄù Everine said. âÄúIt was just âĦ perfect.âÄù

The little black dress may be standard, but that doesnâÄôt mean it canâÄôt stand out, and if this runway show is out to prove anything, itâÄôs just that.