Thursday, April 30, 2009

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?

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