Design with a Vision

This year’s “Envision: Artopia Fall 2011” promises excellence from every end of the Minneapolis clothing design spectrum.

Design with a Vision

by Sally Hedberg


WHAT: Envision: Artopia Fall 2011

WHEN: 9 p.m., FridayWHERE: Graves 601 Hotel

COST: Advanced ticket $20, day-of $25


Fashion weeks of the world have officially commenced. Across much of the earthly world stylists frantically accessorize, show-goers agonize over the perfect outfit and Anna Wintour sits unaffected in the front row behind the iron curtain of her Chanel sunglasses.

Those in the biz of sartorial aesthetics have come alive âÄî Minneapolis included âÄî and come Friday, our cityâÄôs runway season will kick off with the ever-elegant Ignite modelâÄôs production, âÄúEnvision: Artopia Fall 2011.âÄù

âÄúEnvision,âÄù a semi-annual (fall and spring) affair, seeks to showcase the seasonal lines of MinneapolisâÄô most achieved and skilled designers. This yearâÄôs lineup is diverse in both design style and age range. To get a closer look into some of the work that will be showcased, A&E talked style with both a fresh face and a seasoned runway veteran of âÄúEnvision.âÄù

Amanda Christine

Amanda Christine Natzel is the poster child of MinneapolisâÄô success in the fashion industry. And yes, itâÄôs completely warranted because she definitely didnâÄôt develop a business that would retail her product in 40 different boutiques nationwide through anything less than inherent skill and a proclivity for hard work. Though a busy businesswoman she may be, Natzel always squeezes in time to show her line (under the title Amanda Christine) in âÄúEnvision,âÄù since its genesis five years ago. And this season, the collection is stronger than ever.

âÄúI try not do stuff that is super trendy,âÄù Natzel said. âÄúIt ends up being done with or boring when the season is over, so I went with kind of a âÄô60s mod theme. I figured that would last for a while.âÄù

Within the looks sheâÄôll show, this translates into playful separates and feminine frocks, utilizing sheers, silks and some edgy accents of leather. Color-wise, Natzels fixated upon reds, blacks and neutrals. ItâÄôs an elegant, fun and cohesive collection, all falling into the realm of NatzelâÄôs outlook.

âÄúI create wardrobes for a certain type of girl and then design around that,âÄù Natzel said.

NatzelâÄôs girl is an upwardly mobile fashionista âÄî a motivated, able worker who hits the town à la Bradshaw and co. Come evening, sheâÄôs smart and stylish.

ItâÄôs clear that through her years of experience, NatzelâÄôs been able to effectively put this âÄúgirlâÄù into her work, and though her designs have even gained profile through celebrities like Audrina Patridge, she never forgets where it all started.

âÄúI donâÄôt consider myself a local designer anymore because I have to think bigger than that,âÄù Natzel said. âÄúBut I want to show appreciation by staying involved in local fashion events.âÄù


Caroline Hayden

For the last six/seven years, designer Caroline Hayden has remained markedly outside of the realm of Minneapolis fashion. Living and working in northern Minnesota has something to do with it, yes, but more so it is the fact that sheâÄôs never designed a line until now.

A custom designer of evening wear and wedding gowns, Miss America contestants were more suited to her consignments than your average Uptown fashionista.

But itâÄôs all about to change with her âÄúEnvisionâÄù debut and sheâÄôs got her vision filed down to a T.

âÄúI want to design clothes that are cool but not too trendy,âÄù Hayden said. âÄúPretty, but not adorable. I want them to feel confident.âÄù

HaydenâÄôs seven looks âÄî featuring Minnesota-based materials ranging from fox fur to rhinestones âÄî are eye-catching to say the least. If thereâÄôs one thing she maintained from her pageant years, itâÄôs a love of sparkles, which plays out exceptionally well in a black, studded bodysuit.

ItâÄôs a new realm for her, but she hopes to continue with line design so she can eventually manufacture it for local or national boutiques. Her business model circles around further acclimating herself with the demographic sheâÄôs designing for.

 âÄúItâÄôs somebody whoâÄôs just discovering themselves. People who are looking for staple pieces but still want to look effortlessly cool,âÄù she said. âÄúThe girl with the it-factor.âÄù