Prehistoric fashion for summer

Bridal and ready-to-wear with designer Joy Teiken.

Designer Joy Teiken poses at Joynoelle Showroom on Friday afternoon. Teiken is currently working on her avant garde spring line that will show on June 2nd.

Designer Joy Teiken poses at Joynoelle Showroom on Friday afternoon. Teiken is currently working on her avant garde spring line that will show on June 2nd.

Micaela Resh

With wedding gowns draped along the boutique’s windows and walls, Minneapolis designer Joy Teiken busily sketches and sews garments for her ready-to-wear line that’s handmade with a keen attention to detail.

Originally a pottery teacher, Teiken taught herself design and has been in fashion for a decade.  Her business, Joynoelle Boutique and Atelier, is built mainly on her custom bridal gowns.

“[My clients] want something a little different, something special. They like the process of how something is made — it’s a very creative process,” she said.

For each costumer visit, Teiken drapes and pins fabric on clients’ bodies, aiming to understand their individual forms and personalities. From the garments’ initial construction through their fittings, the gowns develop individual shapes and stories that fit with each woman.

“My favorite part of the entire process is seeing the bride in the completed project. I cry a little every time,” Teiken’s assistant, April Ashleson, said.

Once a year, the couturier creates a ready-to-wear collection.

“It is a way to keep me really excited about fashion and keep creative,” Teiken said. “When I am doing the collection, I get to do whatever I want. I’m not thinking about selling it. I’m not thinking about what stores are going to buy it. I’m thinking of it as a theater performance.”

The most taxing aspect of being an independent designer is making money, Teiken said. Money is the key player in limiting or liberating a designer’s creative reign.

“You have to make decisions on what to do and a direction to go because you actually have to make money, that’s the reality of it. It’s not the sexy reality at all,” Teiken said.

Teiken’s ready-to-wear collection showing on June 2 is next on her calendar. The charity event will donate all of its proceeds to the nonprofit, “Kill Kancer.”

With 25 to 30 looks in total, the collection evokes an air of prehistoric beings. Teiken said the line’s direction came from working with her son and his fascination with dinosaurs.

“I have a 6-year-old son, and he inspires me like crazy all the time,” she said.

From piece to piece, there are subtle influences of bones, exoskeletons and scales. She loosely mimics dinosaurs without the references seeming theatrical.

“He and I sat down, we got a bunch of books from the library and we looked through them. I asked, ‘What are some of the different aspects of dinosaurs that I should include in the collection?’ He mentioned their long necks, scales and bones. I started sketching, and he started sketching concepts as well,” Teiken said.

Until her show in June, Teiken will be working on approximately 40 pieces for the runway, while also continuing her custom bridal projects.