Review of MSPFW by Adrienne Yancy

Fortunately for us, with the new Fashion Week Calendar, we were able to go to many different events with hardly any overlap– thanks to the new and improved MSPFW. We (the Minnesota fashion community)  are now showing around the same time as larger fashion capitals (eg. New York and London), Minnesota Fashion seems a bit more relevant.  And by keeping the amount of shows down,  it was easier to attend more events and not feel like we were missing out on what our peers were presenting.

Here’s a quick review of what we saw this week, but keep in mind that there are two more events tomorrow also! The calendar of events can be viewed online.

Styles for Smiles

{Photo Source: Ruby Girl}

This was a very chill event at venue that was impossible to find. For some reason the directions were not correctly listed on any web source, which may have given every attendee a bad mood coming into the fundraising event! The runway portion of the event left much to be desired, and was understyled. At a fashion event, I love to see things that are new and never-been-seen. However, this show presented run-of-the-mill looks– some of which can be purchased at Heartbreaker and/or would never be considered high fashion. Other than that, the space was amazing! There were treats (who doesn’t love a cupcake or two!?), wine, and shopping which make for one happy girl!

The Red Dress Collection

These and more photos can be found on our Facebook Page!

This show was a great combination of local Minnesota designers who all dressed a ‘local celeb’ in a red dress to raise money and awareness for Heart Disease and women’s heart health programs. Sandy Simmons was our model (above in the ruffle back dress) and she looks amazing in her ArielSimone design. Seven Sushi was a great location, and the place was set up very well. My favorite thing about this show was seeing how different each designers look was, even though we all were required to use red fabric! The least favorite thing about this show was how the venue was only half full. Even though tickets were sold out a week before the show, an entire section of the venue was empty. We heard and witnessed excited supportors being turned away from the event due to ‘capacity’ restraints, which is rather unfortunate. This could have easily been used as an opportunity to raise more money and awareness for the charity in support. Overall, it was well received. We are also extremely thrilled to see this show grow for future MSPFW seasons. We look forward to next year (and hopefully a bigger space to accomodate more people)!

Emerging Designer Showcase

{Photo Source: Rhea Pappas}

Held at the CO Exhibition space, this show was produced by MNFashion and L’etoile. The concept was to show a ‘taste’ of a few emerging designers’ collections. One of my great friends Marissa Bridges showed at this show, her looks are above, and Marissa the designer is on the right. The other standout at this show was Caroline Hayden’s mini collection. Her black evening gown is above also. I did get to see this garment up close and the design was great! I would have like to have seen a greater turnout,  but I’m not sure the small space couldn’t have handled too much more anyway. Overall a great evening, but let me not forget to mention the music! Live music is always fun.

{Photo Source: Corey Tenold}

Oso performed a selection of songs with Mayda Miller. The duo played a couple sets– their sound varying from soulful and happy to electronic and dancy. Oso has an amazing stage presence (she should add hosting to her resume!) and Mayda has such a big, beautiful, soulful voice despite her meek appearance.

The Shows


Emma Berg

Amanda Christine

Set up like a truly traditional NY style show, this show went off without a hitch, and also without most of its viewers! A large portion of the crowd didn’t show until the second presentation.  The Shows designers were: Kjurek, Emma Berg, and Amanda Christine.  Each designer got their own separate presentation and models.  I liked a good number of looks overall, and there was a great crowd. Each designer has a very different aesthetic and mood, and it was really fun to see! At shows like these, I wish we had buyers and real industry professionals to help take designers to the next level in their careers.


{Photo Source: Corey Tenold}Resurgent was held at The Amsterdam bar in St. Paul, which I’d never been to before. They did a great job making it a runway space.  The runway show was slated to start at 7:30, but unfortunately didn’t begin until after 8:30. The post-apocalyptic, indigenous theme was a bit confusing, and I think the styling was over-the-top theatrical. I saw a lot of unfinished hems, puckering, and loose threads here and there, which may or may not have been on purpose because of the theme. I’m just not sure. The standout of the show was the upbeat DJ (D.J. Encounter) that kept us entertained throughout the show with her amazing personal and improvised choreography.  Also, there were a few menswear pieces that were really great!  Overall, I think they may have tried to push out too many looks, and should have instead focused on the tailoring and finishing.

 by Adrienne Yancy

First Bridal Fashion Show!

When I first heard of local bridal designer Joy Teiken, I was definitely intrigued by her story… Her very first design EVER was a beret constructed from vintage dresses. It was custom-made for her mother, who was dying of breast cancer in 1989. Just from reading Joy’s bio, it is obvious that she is an extraordinary woman. Before creating her signature line Joynoelle in 2003, Joy received her MA in Arts Education, taught and was a former Peace Corps volunteer (served 1993-1996 in Botswana). With such a diverse and interesting background, it is no surprise that her hand-made/hand-finished, Ready-to-Wear and Bridal Collections are as successful as they are. Joy has gained national and international attention with her work (um, she was just recently interviewed for O Magazine!!), which is why I was so excited to be invited to attend her exclusive-invite-only viewing of her 2012 collection a week ago.

Inspired by the Caged Bird, on Monday November 14th the Grand Café was recreated to look like a turn-of-the-century parlor, with the interior stylings of Lime Canary Vintage and Flora Bella. The decor and mood were intimate and romantic– fashioned perfectly with these amazing feathery, floral, vintage birdcage installations. The salon-style show was a 28-look journey from the caged bird (linear, crisscross cage-like fabric applications) to the free bird (hand-made feathers, whimsical and airy). Vision Model Management Group provided the gorgeous models; hair and makeup by Extrados.

There were several gorgeous designs– feminine both in shape and in fabric. I loved everything that was black, white and/or feathered. Creams, blacks, whites, chocolate browns, and wine reds were the obvious color focus of this collection– very seasonal.  Lots of great wedding gowns as well as bridesmaid choices! And of course, rehearsal dinner/ reception options for those who want a wardrobe change.

Above are my two favorite looks from the evening, thanks to fashion blog Art of Wore photography. Love the feathery skirts in both garments and would LOVE to see that second dress as a full length gown. Flash Revolutions also had some great photos too.

First Bridal Fashion Show was super fun! Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with the designer in a future post as well as photos from her adorable studio and shop.

by Nkechi Njaka

You can check out more wedding-related posts that I have written on Charcoal&Lace, a wedding and lifestyle blog that I co-author.

ArielSimone Spotlight 3: Christopher Straub, Designer

PLEASE TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. I am a self-taught fashion designer who was on Season 6 of Project Runway.  I grew up in the Twin Cities and have stayed local and tried to find success her at home.

DID YOU STUDY YOUR PARTICULAR FIELD FORMALLY? WHERE? I never went to school.  I just started creating and taught myself how to sew, make patterns, sketch, and how to put in zippers.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON? I am designing a collection to be sold exclusively at Maurices stores all over the country.

HOW DID YOU AND ADRIENNE MEET? Adrienne and I have been in the same fashion circles and met about a year ago at a fashion show.

APART FROM THIS, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO? I like to travel, go to amusement parks, play video games, and go to buffets.

WHAT ARE YOU READING CURRENTLY? I WISH I had more time to read!  I have lots of biographies ready to be cracked open.

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 5 WORDS. Nature-Inspired-Risk-Taking-Artist.

LASTLY, ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS/ARTISTS? My biggest piece of advice is to take risks and make sure your point-of-view shows through in each and every thing you design.


ArielSimone Spotlight 1: Tari Johnson, One-Offs Yippee

PLEASE GIVE US A BRIEF BIO AND HOW YOU STARTED CREATING. I have always been an art and fashion appreciator as well as artist. I started painting when I was very young. (much to the dismay of my Mom when I left paint all over my bedroom floor) I have been an Art Director for about 12 years now with a strong focus on photo direction working mainly in New York, Miami and locally for small fashion boutiques as well as large companies such as Macy’s where I was a Senior Art Director. I have also been an Art Director for Mpls.St. Paul Magazine & at a local ad agency before going freelance full time.

DID YOU STUDY YOUR PARTICULAR FIELD FORMALLY? I did get a degree in Visual Communications from Brown College where I now occasionally guest speak as well as judge their portfolio shows.

APART FROM THIS, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO? I love to hate running! I usually go about 10 miles at a time and feel miserable the entire time until I’m done. Yet, I go as often as I can. I also have two creative children that I love to spend time with. My daughter is a serious ballet dancer which is amazing for me to watch and my 7 year old son has been fixated on being a fashion designer since he was 4. He drapes his dress form, draws clothing constantly and just started to learn to use a sewing machine this year. I love watching them create!

HOW DID YOU AND ADRIENNE MEET? I contacted Adrienne cold after viewing some of her work and being impressed with the color combinations, patterns and unique pieces I was seeing. I am delighted to now have her on my site as she is exactly the type of artist I built One-Offs Yippee! for—innovation, individualistic, quality product & bold.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON? I am currently building my brand presence, adding new artists, working on some upcoming events and maintaining the site.

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED? I have such a huge love for art and design that it keeps me motivated naturally. The greatest part about it is that as I talk with each artist, you can see their passion for what they do and their creativity. The more they tell me about themselves, the more excited they become and you can just feel it. They each have a story, which makes the pieces so much more valuable, in my mind.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU ALWAYS CARRY WITH YOU? I always carry lipstick and gum.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT YOUR WORK? The hardest part about my work is conveying how amazing everything is in photos alone. I’m working on some more events where people can actually see the pieces in person. That seems to work well for us because when people see them in person, they are always blown away.


IF YOU WEREN’T CREATING AND DESIGNING, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? I always wanted to be a clothing designer myself but in High School the career counselor told me that a lot of math was involved and I got scared off!  How bad is that? If I wasn’t doing what I do, I would go back and learn to design clothing myself.

 WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE? My creative process is all over the place. A lot of time when I design, I pull out anything that inspires me—magazine clippings, fabric and start on the computer. On occasion, if I get really stuck, I start painting colors around and that usually gets me going again. I keep my easel next to my computer.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THEN YEARS? I hope in 10 years that One-Offs will have grown enough that it will become a household name, further bringing attention to talented artists and designers.  I hope to l have a staff of talented people that will be working with me bringing fresh ideas to keep evolving.

WHO HAS BEEN THE MOST INFLUENTIAL IN YOUR CRAFT? I think the most influential person in my craft was honestly my High School painting teacher. He encouraged me to explore all of my ideas, even if they didn’t make sense. He allowed me to build a full-sized couch in the hallway made entirely of paintings with a stuffed, painted, canvas cushion. He also insisted that I go into Graphic Design so I guess he set my entire career in motion. There have been many influences along the way, but he was the first.

SHARE WITH US SOMETHING FUNNY THAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU RECENTLY. Probably falling. I always wear huge heals and I’m clumsy so I tend to fall a lot—very graceful.

WHAT ARE YOU READING CURRENTLY? I am currently reading one of the True Blood books. They’re perfect, fluffy reading for summer.

 WHAT IT IS THAT YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR WORK? I love working with people, creativity, color, shapes and energy so what I do is perfect!

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 5 WORDS. Busy. Quirky. Competitive. Loyal. Honest. (I’m the worst liar. I can’t even begin to do it.)

LASTLY, ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ARTISTS? My advice would be to be patient and seek out any opportunity you can. You never know when something small will lead to something bigger. No task is too small to get to your goal.

{Photography Credit: Mike Rupert}

Project Runway Season 9!

OMG, we can’t even TELL you how excited we were to watch the season premier of Project Runway Season 9! So of course we know what you are thinking: When will ArielSimone make their debut on the hit reality TV show? We asked Adrienne if she would ever consider it:

I dont think I have a TV personality, but almost every client and stranger asks me that question. My mom also tries to pressure me into applying.

Even though it is early in the season, we already have a favorite. We asked Adrienne: Who is your favorite Season 9 contestant and why are you rooting for them!?

Danielle Everine of course! Because she’s a MN native!

Minneapolis’ very own Danielle Everine is a contestant who successfully got through last night’s PJ challenge and we are so proud to be rooting for a local designer and friend.