by John Mark
On its seventeenth season, Envision has already proved itself as an important staple of our local design community. While the bi-annual fashion event needs no defense, its importance was well defined by Public Functionary’s Tricia Khutoretsky. “There’s a lot of people in Minneapolis that create. There’s not necessarily a lot of people that stick with organizing something, and for every artist that we have… we need the people that are willing to bring them together and help them make something beyond their art. That producer role is really important, and the fact that Ignite, as a modeling agency, has committed to producing a platform for fashion designers year after year, has been a really great benefit to this community.”
The energy of the creative community was real and alive in the Orchestra Hall foyer last Saturday as over seven hundred bodies filed into the event. In the Target atrium, Public Functionary curated an impressive echelon of live painters, who created works of art, while Greg Grease, Proper T, and DJ Just Nine entertained the early crowd. Ten designers presented collections that evening, but for me, there were four that stood out.
Gina Marie x Mien Kielo
It’s always exciting to see collaboration in the design community. Gina Marie and Mien Kielo teamed up to send a Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired collection down the runway. The looks were classic and charming to the last. While I enjoyed that the designer duo gave us a variety of dresses, separates, rompers, and coats, there seemed to be a lack of cohesion between the looks, making the collection feel a bit incomplete. This disconnect could have been remedied with more looks or perhaps a stronger styling concept, but at the end of the day, the nostalgia of their Hepburn theme and the expertise of their tailoring made this collection a crowd pleaser.
Best textile of the night goes to Yvette Willaert. Nothing says spring like a tropical print. The addition of neutral separates and styled sun hats, made for full immersion into a safari theme. Willaert went above and beyond by adding tailored coats to some of the looks; however, the tropical print pieces could have existed with more power and clarity on their own. The finale piece was a voluminous floor length skirt, the spectacle of which pulled many oohs and aahs from the audience.
A hand-dyed collection by Kjurek was one of the more cohesive lines of the evening. Designers Kim Jurek and Jen Chilstrom played with a refreshing variety of silhouettes, while maintaining a strong connection through their dedication to the shibori dying process. Jurek shared, “We really focused on the textiles. Jen [Chilstrom] actually started doing shibori work fifteen years ago when she lived on the west coast… What’s exciting is that every single piece is unique. Once we dye the lot there’s no way to get the same thing each time.” While the one-of-a-kind nature of their process may prove tricky when merchandising the line on a grander scale, Kjurek’s collection had an everyday wearability that rivaled their Envision counterparts.
Emily Trevor was the name on everyone’s lips. The designer combined advanced tailoring with theatrics in a collection that some audience members coyly named “tennis wedding.” Stripes, visors, racer backs, and netting gave an athletic flair to a rare symbiosis of high fashion elegance and light-hearted fun. The collection dared to be different, was constructed thoughtfully, and struck an undoubtedly positive chord with all in attendance.
The evening’s program was greatly enhanced by DJ Monsieur Adi, who took special interest in pre-selecting mixes for each designer’s collection after looking at their sketches. Adi, who just finished opening for Beyonce’s European tour, had only great things to say about the collaboration, encapsulating what Envision is all about. “For the artistic community on all fronts… it’s always important to collaborate and come together, because that’s where you find strength.”
Story by John Mark
Photography by Kyle Lieberman
Disclaimer: John Mark regularly works with Ignite Models on video and editorial collaborations.