MNfashion’s the Shows returned for a fifth season on Thursday evening at Warehouse District space Aria. The primo location — a clear improvement over the raw, expansive Grain Belt Bottling House building that has served as local fashion headquarters for the past few years — certainly added to the aura and sophistication of what has become the keystone event of Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week.
The first of a two-night stint (culminating tonight) featured Fall/Winter 2013 lines from a whopping five designers, each separated by 20-minute breaks. (Last fall’s shows featured the same total number of designers spread into three nights.) Though the lengthy show may have made $35 ticket holders feel like they got their money’s worth, the show could’ve stood some whittling down, with an emphasis of quality over quantity. The first two lines of the evening, by Gina Marie Vintage and Nicole Larson, befitted their “opener” status. While Larson attempted some interesting ideas with men’s outerwear — an army-green seamed vest with attached scarf was a standout piece — her proportions were largely off, and some pairings didn’t make sense. The potential is clearly there, though, particularly with some of her outerwear and the very chic plaid dress (the lone women’s wear piece) that closed out her collection. As for Gina Marie, her collection was pretty and commercial but ultimately forgettable.
Same goes for Kjurek, a line that has been around since the mid 2000s and considered one of the more successful local lines. The namesake of designer Kimberly Jurek, Kjurek has recently added design partner Jennifer Chilstrom, and it was Chilstrom, not Jurek, who walked at the end of the collection on Thursday night. Perhaps it is to this change we can attribute the unimaginative, generic collection presented. Jurek has always been known for her bohemian-meets-the-city aesthetic and vintage-inspired outerwear, but this collection of dull separates and dresses in inexpensive-looking fabrics was a disappointing change in form. Here’s hoping Jurek will return to her roots in future showings.
Fortunately, two names that has been suspiciously MIA over the past two years gave local fashion fans what they were looking for. Max Lohrbach and Ivan Idland, who haven’t presented full collections since spring 2011 at Voltage: Fashion Amplified, both showed stellar lines that showcased an increased sophistication, clear vision and personality. Lohrbach made a return to his cleverly-detailed, excellently-crafted menswear, utilizing a slicing technique on a pair of white dress pants to show just a hint of skin; incorporating a heart-shaped tuxedo detail on a rugged, wool shirt; and rendering a pair of cargo shorts out of black satin tuxedo fabric. He showed his quirky humor in a pair of scarves, one cutout in red wool to resemble blood dripping from the neck, another in leopard print cut out in a flattened cat shape, worn draped over the shoulder. Not to ignore his signature, cupcake-cute women’s wear, he sent a trio of ladies’ looks down the runway — one actually hand-painted with desserts and festooned with bows, another with a menswear-style tuxedo shirt featuring ivory mink detailing.