Art couture

MNfashion and the MIA challenge local designers to seek inspiration from art.

by Sally Hedberg

What:Third Thursday

When:Nov. 18 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where:Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Avenue S.


While not everyone can delight in the beauty of a flawless pair of Sam Edelman boots, exposed zippers or in discovering the perfect shade of blush for your skin tone, fashion is undoubtedly an art form âÄî one that, thanks to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, can be appreciated in a real gallery setting this Thursday.

Third Thursday is an initiative by the MIA that aims to add some excitement to the museum-going experience by means of diverse arts programs, live music and alcohol.

There is nothing wrong with Tim Gunn, but with Third Thursday the MIA is giving local fashion enthusiasts an excellent excuse to sacrifice a nail-painting, âÄúProject RunwayâÄù-watching marathon for a chance to witness the stylish results of an authentic Twin Cities fashion challenge.

The contenders? Hot local designers Emma Berg, Raul Osorio, Laura Fulk and Samantha Rei. The task? Create three killer looks based off of any piece of art in the MIAâÄôs striking collection. The clothing, a product of months of hard work, will be shown in a Gala runway show at the Third Thursday event. And adding even more excitement to all the sartorial splendor âÄî 2010 Picked to Clickers Pink Mink will be playing.

For designer and Minneapolis College of Art and Design graduate Laura Fulk, the notion of fusing elements of art and fashion is nothing groundbreaking.

âÄúIn school I was constantly experimenting, you know, making art, exploring themes through that art and then making fashion off of that art,âÄù Fulk said. âÄúItâÄôs a really cool way to throw around concepts between mediums.âÄù

The MIA left the endeavor open-ended for the designers, leaving them free to choose whichever medium. Fulk selected a Harold Edgerton photograph that depicts a bullet exploding through an apple.

âÄúLooking at the photograph sort of took my breath away instantly,âÄù Fulk said. âÄúItâÄôs really strange to see time frozen in such a way. ItâÄôs just kind of astounding.âÄù

Fulk has had a prolific runway and production career. Following this special showing, she plans to zero in on marketing and manufacturing her line.

Where FulkâÄôs threads can be characterized by their functionality, easy wearability and effortless elegance, designer Samantha Rei brings a completely different dynamic to the table.

âÄúI love experimenting and going outside of my comfort zone,âÄù Rei said.

For Rei, however, this means creating clothing that is tamer and that adheres more to the standards of mainstream fashion.

A local underground dweller of sorts, ReiâÄôs work is influenced by comic books, art and a specific style of Japanese fashion design called Lolita. Though she sees her design aesthetic as markedly different from many of her Twin Cities colleagues, sheâÄôs especially excited for the chance to branch out.

âÄúIâÄôm kind of riding the fence between innovation and alternative fashion,âÄù Rei said. âÄúIâÄôve always been in the alternative scene. IâÄôm trying hard to kind of reach out to the mainstream and I think theyâÄôre starting to trust me now. IâÄôm not just a weird costumer.âÄù

Regardless of where each talented clothes maker fits into the burgeoning Twin Cities fashion scene, this inventive mission is sure to highlight not only some unforgettable looks, but also the diversity of the people that create them.