Thursday, April 30, 2009

the weekend what's what

Despite the ever-wavering weather, Minnesota has declared this weekend Spring's official coming out party -- whether it likes it or not. With tons of outdoor events to partake in, we think you may even find a reason to apply a little sunblock. Head to St. Paul's West Side for the spirited Cinco de Mayo celebration; wander the endless garage sales of the Bryn Mawr neighborhood; or channel your inner flower child at this Sunday's annual May Day Parade. See you in the sunshine!

Bonus: Check out our Fashion Week Recap, complete with a ton o' pix!



Cinco de Mayo Feista

@ District Del Sol
Westside St. Paul

Friday 4-9pm, Saturday 9am-6pm / Free

Whether it's for the end of unpredictably cold weather, the license to wear light dresses and flats or the plethora of outside events, MN hearts May. Okay, actually, we love every month out of the Winter spectrum, but with events like the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, May just happens to be the month with the spiciest palate. The festivities kick off Friday afternoon in St. Paul's West Side District del Sol, where the 2009 Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is a two day long celebration of non-stop entertainment that includes dancing, children's activities, a history area, a salsa tasting contest and a lowrider car show. But pace yourself, because the Sunday May Day parade events are of a calibur not to be missed.

The full Weekend What's What can be viewed on

don't bite the nose that feeds you

Natalie Portman recently commented in the press that she has no interest in doing campaign work for beauty products. “I don't have a problem with making money, but I don't believe in doing something you don't believe in to make money…Like a makeup campaign or something like that - the opportunities that young actors have all the time." I don’t have a problem with that logic. I mean, I practically believe a good poppy red lipstick could cure cancer, but I know that not everyone out there feels that way. It’s just makeup, after all. However, didn’t Ms. Portman just do voiceover work for the new commercial for the Gucci fragrance Flora? That’s totally her voice at the end, right? I’m not crazy? Just saying, if you’re going to get self-righteous to the press about selling out for makeup campaigns, you might want to time that statement so that it doesn’t come out within two weeks of your new fragrance ad.

Who am I kidding? I can’t hate on Natalie. The Professional and this fragrance ad spoof with Michelle Williams have earned her a free pass in my book. "Greed" directed by Roman Polanski

voltage: fashion amplified - review

This year’s Voltage production was significantly shorter than past shows, featuring only ten runway designers and five bands and band designers. However, the edited presentation made for a tighter production than in previous years, while still presenting a varied collection of talented Twin Cities designers. The runway extended from the stage at a 45 degree angle, as opposed to previous years in which it jutted perpendicularly into the audience. The modification worked in favor of both the presentation and the crowd, giving the models more angles to work with and creating space for a far roomier seating section than in years past.

Though there was a lot of fashion to enjoy, the highlight was finale designer Max Lohrbach. The clothes featured the designer’s signature painted fabrics and feminine shapes, with multiple trompe-l'œil bows and scalloped details . Models literally bursted through paintings, wearing ripped canvases and frames around their waists or shoulders. The voluminous trousers and baggy shorts were extremely on trend, though the collection was dominated by swingy skirts and flirty tops. The opening bustled dress was a masterpiece, and I couldn’t help wishing that we’d seen more of Lohrbach’s structured shapes. (This desire was exacerbated by sitting next to director Emma Berg, who was wearing a custom-made Lohrbach dress with a bustled skirt. It was a gorgeous creation that had me staring down at my pegged harem pants and wishing I’d gotten more dressed up for the occasion).

The music and sound editing were particularly strong this year, due to the bands’ excellent performances, as well as the crew’s impressively quick set ups and tear downs. First Communion After Party’s atmospheric set created an ideal atmosphere for a fashion presentation. And, as expected, Maria Isa kept the crowd’s energy up until the very end of her finale performance.

Every year Voltage continues to step it up technically. The video segments were well-edited, while the look book will certainly be the most treasured souvenir of MN Fashion Week. As always, the conclusion of Voltage raises the same inevitable question: How will they top themselves next year?

the sky park fashion mixer

l’étoile and Secrets of the City hosted the Sky Park Fashion Mixer last Wednesday on the rooftop terrace of the beautiful Eitel Building City Apartments. The turnout was fabulous, and the gorgeous sunset and excellent people watching certainly didn’t hurt matters. Delicious treats were provided by Joe’s Garage and guests sipped on drinks compliments of Sacre Bleu Wine and Crispin on Ice. Thank you to all of the sponsors who were present at the event and contributed to the excellent gift bags. In these economic times, free snacks, drinks, and swag are a pretty pleasant surprise!

Oh, what do you know? It's me with lovely director Emma Berg (left) and The Soap Factory and Walker Art Center's Katherine Rochester (center - wearing an awesome dress from Cliché)

Me again! With fabulous Walker Art Center Tour Manager Rachel Dubke and my manfriend Brian Gioielli. My hat is from Walgreens. And yes, if we had a child it would be born with a full mustache and a pair of Forever 21 earrings.

Fellow l'étoilette and all-around amazing gal Kate Iverson with local legend Scott Seekins

suffocate - review

Last spring, designer Ra'mon-Lawrence set a new standard for Twin Cities fashion with his solo show Eluded Love. Held at the Soo Visual Arts Center, the show was by far the Cities’ most ambitious individual presentation to date. This year Laura Fulk built on this new tradition of extravagantly produced solo shows. The designer's Spring 2009 collection was presented at The Lab Theater and featured production values that rivaled MN Fashion Week’s larger and more established group shows.

The clothes featured many of Fulk's signature details. The structured shapes and extravagant neck pieces that she has become known for were still a through line in the collection, though the looks had more ease to them than in previous Fulk collections. This was due in no small part to the adjustable technical details of the pieces. High funnel necks were molded into place and secured with snaps and buttons, magnets transformed a Siamese twin wedding dress into two individual gowns, and drawstrings unfolded a ruffled neckline into a beautifully lined cape. The transformative nature of the pieces was evocative of Hussein Chayalan, while the layered panels of fabric drew comparisons to Marc Jacobs Spring 2008 collection. The interactive elements of the clothing made for an engaging runway show, and the theatrical presentation helped the audience connect to the clothes as both wearable items and pieces of art. proprietors and Suffocate producers Emma Berg and Kristoffer Knutson raved about the space and the opportunity to be involved in every detail up to and including the lighting. The styling was strong, particularly the choice to outfit the models in shiny high heeled booties and thick beige dancing tights. The tights were worn over the shoes, allowing a glimmer of patent leather to shine through and creating an elongated leg that transformed the already lithe models into gazelle-like figures. Wearing dance tights over high heels may not be the most wearable trend as far as function, but the effect was accessible enough that I've been considering hitting up the Capezio website to attempt my own modified version. (Insider info: I was hoping to keep the tights from running by applying a border of clear nail polish around the sole. However, last night I asked Eclecticoiffeur stylist Jahna Peloquin about this technique, and it was actually something that they’d attempted for Suffocate, but with little success. Drat.)

The show clocked in at over half an hour, which ensured that the event was worth its $15 ticket price, but is also a lot of time for a fashion show. The models marched the runway one at a time, and though this provided audience members and photographers with substantial opportunity to absorb the individual looks, the presentation lost some of the collection’s fluidity. I'm not advocating the current standard of interchangeable models stomping past one another in brief ten minute shows, but having models pass one another on the runway helps an audience grasp the connections between individual looks.

That said, Suffocate boasted some of the most successful production design, both technical and artistic, that the Twin Cities fashion community has ever seen. It was an incredibly accomplished show and certainly the gem of MN Fashion Week.

producer Kristoffer Knutson, designer Laura Fulk, and producer Emma Berg

photos by Stephen Stephens, see more at l'étoile

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I just attended an advanced screening of Star Trek. More to come.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

man on the moon

Last night I attended a screening of Moon, the new independent science-fiction movie starring Sam Rockwell. The film was directed and conceptualized by Duncan Jones (better known to David Bowie devotees as Zowie Bowie). The director was in attendance and took the time for a quick Q&A session after the film. This release marks his debut in feature films, though he already has a slew of music videos and commercials under his belt.

For those who haven’t been following the production and promotion of this film for over six months (I know, I read way too much io9), it follows Sam, an astronaut/miner who’s approaching the end of his three year contract working alone on the moon. As his return to Earth approaches, he is confronted with the existence of another Sam at the station, and it is unclear whether Other Sam is an android, a clone, or the hallucination of a man who has suffered from a psychotic break.

Jones wrote the story with Rockwell in mind, and the collaboration between the two artists couldn’t have been more seamless. Since the film is set on a remote moon base and features multiple Sams, you’re getting all Rockwell, all the time. He’s more than up to the task of carrying the emotional weight of the story, while also finding the necessary moments of humor that keep the film from drowning in its own isolation. Because make no mistake, this movie is heavy. The story is a thoughtful exploration of identity and loss, and there were moments that made me feel so lost and lonely that I felt sick to my stomach.

The director, who was extremely gracious and good-natured, filmed the movie on only two sound stages and for an impressively limited budget of $5 million. He used models whenever possible, rarely relying on CGI, except for the digital set extensions of the moonscape. In scenes featuring more than one Sam, Jones would identify the Sam that he felt was driving the scene, shoot that character first, then shoot the second character’s reactions based upon the first shots. It was a complicated process in which Rockwell wore an earpiece with the recording of the first Sam’s scene, so that he could time his reactions accordingly. There were moments in which Sam’s face was digitally pasted over that of his stand-in or stunt double, but most of the shots feature two genuine Rockwells, shot and layered The Parent Trap style.

The finished product is an intense character study featuring a wonderfully layered performance by Rockwell. The film is beautifully shot and scored, and will hopefully help Jones gain more substantial financing for future projects. His next movie will also be science-fiction, but set in a gritty urban future (sounds like he’s leaning towards Berlin for the location). He refers to the project as his Bladerunner, and if it’s half as impressive as the director’s first feature film, I’ll be there opening night.

In the meantime, I’ll have to satisfy my craving for totally confusing and depressing science-fiction with Dark City, which we’ll be screening tonight at Jagercon. Starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland and Jennifer Connelly’s eyebrows. Snap! (Who am I kidding? I would kill for those brows.)

the Moon trailer

the Dark City trailer, for good measure

Monday, April 27, 2009

c'est moi!

Just have to give a quick shout out. Got that dress just a few weeks ago at Cliché and am head over heels in love with it. So a big thank you to the folks over there. Stay tuned for my upcoming reviews of Laura Fulk's solo show Suffocate, as well as this year's Voltage: Fashion Amplified extravaganza. And a huge congratulations to everyone involved with MN Fashion Week this year.

P.S. Got a couple emails about the earrings. They're actually from Forever 21. God bless $4.99 accessories.

P.P.S. I swear I'm not that much of a douchey valley girl in person. Though I do gesture that much. It's a problem. Was I Vogue-ing at one point?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

cute fashion headline here

Spring has sprung and Minnesota's very own fashion week is upon us. Believe it or not, there's more to the Twin Cities' sartorial substance than Mukluks and North Face parkas. Minnesota is overflowing with talented artists and designers, perhaps due to the impossibly long winter. Nothing brings out the creativity like an intense case of cabin fever. Minnesota Fashion Week features the very best of the bunch. I'm particularly excited for Laura Fulk's first solo show Suffocate, which will be presented this very evening. And this year Voltage: Fashion Amplified is actually on a Friday. Thank God, cause that it just too much fun for a school night. Check out the What's What Fashion Guide for further details.


@ The Lab Theater
700 First Street North
The North Loop

Reception 6:30-7:30 / Runway Show at 8 / All Ages / $15

Twin Cities fashion designer Laura Fulk's first solo show is an event not to be missed. Known for her architectural constructions that act as both social commentary and conceptual art, this three-time Voltage alum and award winning designer brings together multiple mediums in one seamless show (no pun intended). Tattoo artist Jay Langer and painter Melissi Breitenfeldt have provided imagery to be digitally printed on Fulk's eco-friendly garments, further blurring the line between art and fashion. Produced by the thoughtful minds and curators behind local website, Suffocate is sure to be a high-concept, fantastical affair. Visit the Lab Theater site for tickets.

Sky Park Fashion Mixer

@ Eitel Building City Apartments
1367 Willow St.

7-9pm / Free
The fashion-forward chicas of l'étoile magazine and Secrets of the City have been your stylish sages and the authority on quirky and cool weekly events since their web launches. So for tonight's mixer, expect nothing less than a shindig of the same fabulous caliber! Head to the gorgeous Eitel Building City Apartment’s Sky Park and Clubhouse to mingle with style-minded locals and ladies from l’étoile, Secrets of the City, and The Fashion Group International. Snack on complimentary treats from Joe's Garage and sip drinks provided by Sacre Bleu wine and Crispin on Ice. While you’re there, enter to win a pair of tix to the most talked-about event of MNfashion Week, Voltage: Fashion Amplified.

Voltage: Fashion Amplified 2009

@ First Ave
701 1st Ave. N

8 PM/ 21+/ $25 Advance, $30 At the Door

The crown jewel of Spring FashionWeek, tonight's showcase of talented locals mixes fashion, music and style, making Voltage: Fashion Amplified worth every hyped-over minute. Featuring the bands Maria Isa, Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles, Gospel Gossip, First Communion Afterparty, Mercurial Rage wearing outfits styled by Grayline, Jenny Carle Designs, Emily Melchert, Jodelle Gerdes, and Standard Issue Clothing with Branch Office Design; and the fabulous Spring lines of runway designers 2709, Allison Quinnell, Amanda Christine, Arwyn Birch, Calpurnia Peach, Carmichael Claith, Emily Weich, Ivan Idland, Maritza Ramirez, and Max Lohrbach. Voltage entry price not only gets you in to the hottest fashion party in town, but snags your copy of the 2009 Look Book, a MP3 Download Card of the Voltage 2009 Complilation CD, and access to the after party in the mainroom. Grab your tickets quick because this event may very well sell out, if past years are any indicator!Voltage: Fashion Amplified is co-sponsored by l'etoile magazine!

Monday, April 20, 2009

the season of twitterpation

It's finally spring in Minneapolis....sort of. Last Saturday included a rousing game of kickball and more than a few glasses of wine on my friend's porch. And though there will be plenty of gloomy days before sundress season, I'm officially spring fevered. A few of the songs that are stuck in my head at the moment...

"Mon Amour Ne Me Quitte Pas" from Les Parapluies de Cherbourg...This is what our weather looks like at the moment, but this beautifully sad love song is also a great argument for black liquid liner, hair bows, and of course, umbrellas.

The Cardigans "Lovefool," which makes me want to skip and dance in the sunshine. In the 90s.

Goldfrapp "A&E" stirs up memories of the forest by my mom's house in Nebraska. It's always lush and full of deer, and often, roosting turkeys. Which is a less romantic memory, but one I hold dear nonetheless.

Emma Bunton "Maybe," which is just the cutest video ever.

"Singing in the Rain," featuring the incomparable Gene Kelly, is sure to put a spring in your step no matter the season.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

a delicious spring thing

This commercial for Flora by Gucci is perhaps the most gorgeous fragrance ad I've ever seen. The video was directed by the crazy brilliant Chris Cunningham, and features a new recording of Donna Summers' "I Feel Love" and over 20,000 fake flowers. And is that Natalie Portman doing the voiceover work at the end?

sisters 4 life!

I'm not very into "torture porn." The genre has some inherent problems (particularly with the sensationalism of sexualized violence), though it's not something I get too worked up and self-righteous about anymore. Mostly, I just don't really enjoy those films. Graphic disembowelments and shredding flesh don't do much for me. Unless they're funny (insert Shaun of the Dead here). That said, sometimes there's nothing I want to see more than a slasher flick. Halloween. Friday the 13th. Even the original Black Christmas with Margot Kidder. I'm not exactly sure how to reconcile my enjoyment of these films with my bleeding heart social views. I just know that watching Jamie Lee Curties attack Michael Myers with a wire hanger is consistently rewarding. Maybe that's why I totally want to see the movie Sorority Row. It looks awful. The cast includes Audrina Partridge and Rumer Willis (the former far more embarrassing than the latter). But it totally looks like something that will satisfy my occasional craving for a good old fashioned slasher. Plus, it has Carrie Fisher in it.

drew on the go

in Narcisco Rodriguez

in Nina Ricci

in Alberta Ferretti

in Giambattista Valli

in Andrew Gn
images via Just Jared

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the cookie carnival

I watched this Silly Symphonies cartoon over and over again when I was little. In retrospect, it's pretty sexist and racist (hello, Miss Licorice). Not to mention the whole attempted bayonetting of a homeless person. But this was the short film that made me want to wear dark red lipstick in the shape of a heart. Plus, Miss Jello!

mmm. herring.

corporate portraiture

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

another girl crush for the list...sort of

Michelle Obama. Carine Roitfeld. Daphne Guinness. Jane Espenson. The sisters Mulleavy. The Girl Crush is nothing new to me. Whether it's talent, style, or just that certain...I don't know what, I always have some new obsession on my radar. Lately I've really been into Dasha Zhukova's look. I know that she's the point of some controversy, and I'm not sure what she has to offer other than slamming good looks and a kick ass wardrobe, but right now, that's enough for me. I want her clothes. Especially her Rodarte.

Dasha Zhukova, the new Editor in Chief of POP

oh so very pretty

one of Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall's sketches for her upcoming collection for Bluefly

my latest obsession

art by Caitlin Shearer
shop at Pepperminte on Etsy

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

here comes the sun, continued

They're not a perfect match, but they'll do. Fred Flare Picnic Sunglasses

once more with feeling

Andy Hallett, who played the fabulous karaoke singer Lorne (aka "The Host") on Angel, died this week at age 33. Hallett had been battling a heart condition for five years. This fantastic entertainer and cult icon will be sorely missed.

Hallett's first appearance on Angel, singing "I Will Survive"

And his bringing down the house performance of "Lady Marmalade"

send for reinforcements

I take it back. Nail sticky things are amazing. Actually, those little white reinforcement stickers are amazing for moon manicures.