Cross The Style Line

Patrick’s Cabaret takes the runway show to bold, artistic heights with a benefit ball, “Vogue/Trash.”

Designer Abby Christenson fixes the ribbon of one of her dress designs that will be in the Vogue/ Trash Fashion Show in her home in South Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon.

Erin Westover

Designer Abby Christenson fixes the ribbon of one of her dress designs that will be in the Vogue/ Trash Fashion Show in her home in South Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon.

by Sally Hedberg


WHAT: Vogue/Trash Costume Fashion Ball Benefit

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m.

WHERE: PatrickâÄôs Cabaret, 3010 S. Minnehaha Ave.

COST: $10/$20 VIP


Many Minneapolis fashion productions operate on the preconceived notions of what âÄúrealâÄù high fashion is. High fashion is striking, 6-foot models and womenâÄôs couture that could have leapt to life from a Tom Ford ad. Right? Wrong.

Contrary to what may seem true through the limited view of the âÄúmainstreamâÄù scene, this city has a lot more to offer than eye candy for the martini crowd. And this Saturday, in a gender-bending art-meets-fashion extravaganza they call âÄúVogue/Trash,âÄù the folks at PatrickâÄôs Cabaret will celebrate this distinctiveness.

âÄúThis event is about completely supporting our artists,âÄù communications and volunteer coordinator for PatrickâÄôs Cabaret Sara Jo Lehrer said. âÄúSome people call us a theater but we host all kinds of arts events. âÄòVogue/TrashâÄô is a benefit for us because all the profits of every show go directly and completely to the artists, where they belong.âÄù

Conceived just one year ago by programs coordinator Arturo Miles, âÄúVogue/TrashâÄù turns the conventions of a typical fashion show on their head. The approach is to showcase not only avant-garde runway style, but also performance art, dance and music, a fitting theme to the eclectic nature of PatrickâÄôs Cabaret.

âÄúWe never do dinner fundraisers,âÄù Lehrer said. âÄúThis is our style. ItâÄôs different and unique.âÄù

As far as the show goes, this means designers and artists will show looks, but not necessarily in the traditional sense. There will be drag queens, there will be theatrical presentations and in the case of designer Abby Christenson, there will be Lady Gaga.

Christenson isnâÄôt your average ready-to-wear designer. A self-taught sewer and model who honed her craft sewing ornate evening wear, sheâÄôs found her design niche not just with the 20-something girl-about-towns, but with drag queens. Designing elaborate, costume-like couture, sheâÄôs found a huge sense of fulfillment in the range of her accessibility.

âÄúEveryone is not a zero,âÄù Christenson said. âÄúPeople design for that limiting image and I think itâÄôs time to change that view. As I got to know people in the gay community, there was a huge demand for interesting clothing. ItâÄôs so rewarding to see how a piece of unique clothing can make someone feel good about themselves, especially if maybe theyâÄôd been singled out before.âÄù

For âÄúVogue/TrashâÄù Christenson will present five or six (sheâÄôs not quite sure yet) of her characteristic creations. To umbrella her collection under one description would be difficult because each piece is truly born from its own inspiration.

Her clothing is historical, embellished and vibrant, an exaggerated expression of classic items. Her segment, set to two Lady Gaga songs, will also incorporate a theatrical dance with collaborator Travis Thompson.

ItâÄôs this sentiment that renders âÄúVogue/TrashâÄù such a standout event. Anyone can witness the most tiresome interpretations of fashion by simply opening a magazine or turning on the television.

The opportunity to celebrate all forms of art within a more open-minded realm of local fashion doesnâÄôt come as frequently as it should, but perhaps PatrickâÄôs Cabaret is a small part of changing that. For the time being, there simply isnâÄôt a better excuse to get into costume and appreciate them for it.