Review: MNfashion’s The Shows, night two

by Shannon Ryan


Yesterday evening the fashion elitists of Minneapolis flocked to the North Loop to cap off a seven-day stretch of feathers, fringe and local designer collections. Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week concluded with night two of the highly anticipated runway event, The Shows, debuting the fall 2013 collections from five of the local industry’s top design talent. The even showcases, second and fourth, left me hypnotized by brilliant prints and phenomenal execution, leaving me drooling with envy and feverishly sifting through my mind’s closet to see if I can make room for a few new additions.

Mary Pranica opened the show with a series of cozy knitwear pieces with a warm palette of requisite neutrals that mixed browns with creams. Her models tread heavily to a soundtrack that spoke to the winter holidays, reminding me of a parade of tin soldiers. Pranica has a way with knit, making the scarf-and-mitten creator look sexy with the addition of peek-a-boo cutouts in knitted dresses and dangerously tiny hot pants.

TIM + THOM’s collection was one of the two I found most inspiring and in congruency with the fashion capitals’ designer collections. Unveiling both men’s and women’s apparel with a consistent palette of traditional and deeply fall colors – navy, gray, cognac, cream and red – the sibling duo knocked out one fabulous outfit after the other. Plaid pant perfections, fur capelettes, leather mixed media jackets and tresses teased to the nines made for a captivating collection.

The third showcase unleashed on the runway looked more like visions from a trip down acid lane or after a bite of mushroom pie than from a traditional fall collection, but the designer executed that vision with an indisputable level of craft. Samantha Rei created glitterati tutus, cupcake doused leggings, neon-colored fur arm warmers and A-line party dresses to flirt with the audience’s eyes when coming down the runway. Her collection definitely speaks to the wide-eyed wild child in the most identifiable of ways; not suitable for ladies who lunch.

Caroline Hayden stole a piece of my heart with each look that graced the runway. She delighted eyes with beautifully tailored high-waist trousers, fitted turtlenecks, collared blouses and stunning bell-shaped dresses covered in a darling quilted, floral print. The collection was fresh and feminine with a hint of edginess permeating throughout, and each sharp silhouette was sensibly constructed to flatter the female figure. Hayden certainly has a knack for the craft and the mind, skill set and talent of a top designer.

Minneapolis’ Project Runway prince, Christopher Straub, closed The Shows with a rather gummy collection—literally—in a romantic pink and red color combination. Straub found inspiration at a candy store and appropriately doused his collection in prints of gummy bears and chewy treats. His collection had mature silhouettes, with elongated hemlines and sharp, angled shoulders. Fringe accentuated a handful of the looks; a striking Red Vines-esque long-sleeved dress was finely executed and a cream short-sleeved flirty number was one to remember – darling to don at an evening soiree.

Fashion design in Minneapolis has gotten much finer in the last several years, and The Shows was the ultimate testament to that claim. Though unable to compete with the big dogs quite yet, we've absolutely got some talent that barks.