By Felicia Felmlee
Murphy News Service
In the midst of fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris and even Milan, our very own Twin Cities are holding their own for all things fashion.
Local fashionistas supported the top Twin Cities designers during “The Shows, Night One” in late September. The designers included Christopher Straub, Cocoon, Lisa Hackwith and Samantha Rei.
MNfashion — a nonprofit organization supporting the local fashion industry —began hosting the event a year ago. “The Shows” have been attracting bigger audiences with every event since, said Tara Murphy, executive director of MNfashion.
And, the most recent event was no exception.
Christopher Straub, a fashion designer and season 6 contestant of “Project Runway,” took the lead of the runway show by showcasing his latest Spring/Summer 2014 Collection.
Drawing inspiration from a trip he took around the world in the summer, Straub was “inspired by an octopus and flower [he] saw in a marketplace in Rio de Janeiro and the street culture in all the different cities.”
Straub has been designing since he was 14 and taught himself everything he knows about sketching and creating apparel. And, as expected, the models showcased his hand-made talent — even the jewelry — beautifully during the show.
“The Shows focuses on several designers instead of just one — so as an audience member you’re bound to connect with one of the designers,” Straub said.
Zigzags, stripes and impactful new architecture influenced the look and feel of the Spring/Summer 2014 Cocoon collection by Elizabeth Geisler.
“This season I have continued to draw inspiration from, and build upon, the signature Cocoon style of strong tailoring, and figure-flattering, classic silhouettes,” she said.
Cocoon by Elizabeth Geisler is designed with the busy, yet elegant and successful woman in mind. The line is built upon “luxurious fabrics” and “exquisite architectural tailoring,” Geisler said.
Choose any piece from the collection and it will adhere to any wardrobe — making it versatile and timeless. “Each piece can easily pull an entire wardrobe together, and effortlessly evolve from season to season,” she said.
When it’s not interesting architecture or beautiful fabrics, Geisler is drawing her inspiration from the women she dresses.
“They tell me what they like about clothes and wish they could see in my designs, and I really like to work from those suggestions,” she said.
And, when asked about the line featured in the MNfashion event, Geisler said: “Cocoon fuses the easy elegance and grace of the Parisian woman with the sophistication and modern energy of a New Yorker.”
Samantha Rei — formerly known as Blasphemina’s Closet — is a clean break from the alternative fashion Samantha Crossland once was designing.
Inspired by the 1979 film “Mad Max” and the 1939 film “Wizard of Oz,” Crossland described her Spring/Summer 2014 collection, “Cyclone Wasteland,” as “warrior-like and ultra-feminine, but also very strong.”
To complete the warrior-like look, every model was seen wearing a Princess Ozma inspired floral-head piece — even Samantha Rei.
Crossland, a third-time participant of The Shows, said she appreciated the fashion-focused appeal they give to their audience.
“[MNfashion] gives a more fashion feel instead of entrainment,” Crossland said.
And, like most designers, Crossland has an image of the people who will be wearing her clothes.
“People who want to stand out. People who want to be remembered. People who want to be individuals,” Crossland said. “When people wear my clothes I want them to accentuate their favorite part of themselves. I don’t want them hiding under the clothing.”
Felicia Felmlee is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.