Envision: Artopia kicks off MNfashion Week with style

By Tatiana Craine

Last Friday night, the Graves Hotel in Minneapolis played host to the chicest coterie in town for Envision: Artopia Fall 2010. Sponsored by Ignite Models, Inc., V2 Nightlife, Futuretime and City Pages, the event gave local designers the chance to show off truly incendiary fashion all night long. As one of the most talked-about Twin Cities fashion events of the year, the show featured clothing from nearly 20 different designers and boutiques around the area. Former Project Runway finalist Christopher Straub, a native Minnesotan, also previewed several looks from his new Spring 2010 collection.Envision: Artopia, a fashion show featuring music and a live collaborative painting among other acts, began the evening with a VIP-only gathering before opening to the rest of the Twin Cities fashion mavens. The event kicked off to an interactive hair show by Rocco Altobelli Salon and Day Spas before the talented electronic violinist Dani-Vi from Barcelona set the mood for the evening with a hip musical set on the runway.

However, the night wasn’t just about seeing and being seen. Seventeen different collections were showcased including Allilamodie, Amanda Christine, Ariel Simone, Calpurnia Peach, Cliché, Drama, James Reilly, Jenny Carle, Karma, Kathryn V, Kjurek Couture, Local Motion, OPM Boutique, PFT Couture, Russell Bourrienne, Sydney Ilten, Tendercuts and yqy by vivian. The designers and boutiques battled down the runway for the chance to win the Audi Design Challenge. Straub and other local fashion personalities including Jahna Peloquin, Mary O’Regan, Jen Boyles and Hollie Mae Schultz judged the contest, bestowing designer Jenny Carle and boutique Cliché with a coveted photo shoot sponsored by Ignite Models.

Jenny Carle’s looks had retro-throwback appeal with puffy tartan dresses, sleek, mod-style dresses and a-line skirts. Cliché showed off their “Where the Wild Things Are”/Lady Gaga-esque side with over-sized construction paper hats perched atop the model’s heads. Their garments were a little tamer with striped shirts and billowy skirts that had a childhood-like tone.

Though only a select pair could win the evening’s prize, the rest of the designers and boutiques that presented brought the heat with incredibly unique and dynamic clothing. Local favorite Calpurnia Peach was all about dresses featuring prints, from vibrant florals to black and white mice scurrying about hemlines. Tendercuts also brought retro flair to the runway with cute printed dresses and extremely feminine menswear-inspired pieces paired with bowties and bowler hats. Sydney Ilten showcased a bunch of jaunty outfits pieced with feathered hats, berets, off-the-shoulder pieces and statement belts. Kjurek Couture featured luminous and elegant pieces layered with silken fabrics, oversized flowers and cowl-necks.