A stunning Night 2 of the Shows

JAHNA PELOQUIN | Updated 9/27/2013

REVIEW: Ethereal fabrics and pale colors reigned at the second night of MNfashion's Shows.

[Look by Idle Child, photo by Ellen Dahl Lawson]

Night two of MNfashion’s the Shows wrapped up last night with a quartet of collections from four local designers. (Keeping in line with the industry standard of presenting collections a season early, designers debuted their lines for spring/summer 2014.) Held at the North Loop’s Aria, which has cemented itself as the place to throw a fashion show, the second night of the Shows rose to the occasion with lines from Lindsey Hopkins and Caroline Hayden, two of the Twin Cities’ best designers.

[Read our review of Night 1 of the Shows]

Both relative newcomers to the local fashion scene, Lindsey Hopkins and Caroline Hayden produced lines that were equally sophisticated, chic, well-constructed and inspired. The latter presented a line of ruffled chiffon off-the-shoulder dresses, sharply tailored suiting, blouses with pointed collars, beaded dresses and even a beaded jumpsuit that spoke to clear inspiration -- "Valley of the Dolls," ‘70s-era "The Stepford Wives," Studio 54-era Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall -- without falling into cliche or datedness. Hayden, who got her start with bridalwear, also smartly worked in some dreamy white gowns that weren’t at all out of place.


[Looks by Caroline Hayden via MNfashion]

Backed by a Chicano rap song, Hopkins’ collection also presented clear inspiration -- in this case, various imagery evoking modern Mexican culture -- without veering into parody or cliche. Original silkscreen prints featuring Mexican flowers and the Virgin Mary were incorporated into chic, tailored silhouettes with sporty details like mesh, colorblocking and neon. A restrained sensuality also permeated the collection, as in the case of a sheer skirt provocatively worn over briefs with the Virgin Mary print, and a stunning finale dress revealing a peek at the model’s cleavage rendered in the same print.

[Looks by Lindsey Hopkins]

Also showing were Idle Child and Emily Trevor, two lines that would have fit better in MNfashion’s Emerging Designers Showcase (which was canceled this season). That’s not to say there weren’t some moments of potential -- both designers demonstrated a clear vision, some solid pieces and decent construction. In the context of an Emerging Designers Showcase, both would have been standouts, but next to Hopkins and Hayden, their collections paled in comparison, and quite literally. White and pastels were the order of the day, with both lines offering long, flowing gowns and separates. Idle Child played the part of Ren Fest fairy forest nymph -- too strongly, as the wood branch crowns and flowing capes were a little too on-the-nose. Take away the capes and dial back the heavy-handed styling, and there were actually some beautiful, well-made pieces there.

[Looks by Idle Child, photos by Ellen Dahl Lawson]

Trevor, too, needed some editing. Leather collars and head wraps topped every look, and while I appreciated that she was going for the hard-versus-soft look, every look came off top-heavy. I wanted to deconstruct each look to reveal the gorgeously flowing dresses and beautifully tailored pants underneath, most of which could stand on their own merit without all the unnecessary bells and whistles. It should be noted that Trevor is still a junior in college; with her adeptness at construction and imagination, it’s exciting to think of where she’ll be by the time she’s a graduate.

[Looks by Emily Trevor, photos by Ellen Dahl Lawson]