Envision Artopia, Spring 2012: Our review

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Spring is here!
One of the best produced events in the Twin Cities just went from being a must-attend social gala to a must-see fashion showcase. A collaboration between V2, Ignite Models, and City Pages, Envision Artopia Spring 2012 at the Graves matured this past Saturday with its 10th show, revealing its capability to be a true marker of Minneapolis fashion.

Past installments of the event, which takes place in autumn as well, were often hit or miss on the fashion portion but ran smoothly everywhere else. That wasn't the case this year, as nearly all of the featured designers had a statement to make on the runway.

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Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Look by Local Motion
After a solid hour of mingling around booths that included jewelry designers, an oyster bar, and a gallery by RAW Visual Artists, guests were treated to fabulous fashion, beginning with springy, satiny dresses from Counter Couture. It was immediately evident the styling of the models -- who walked confidently right from the start -- wouldn't disappoint this year thanks to Rocco Altobelli salon, PrimaChic, and Modern Day Dapper. The makeup was perfect, and hair was big and flowing throughout most of the segments. DJ Bryan Gerrard provided catwalk beats that featured a warm Latin flare and had patrons bobbing their heads in their seats.  

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Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Local Motion
Karma Boutique and Local Motion also kept spring at the forefront, displaying pretty floral- and Navajo-print looks with a beach vibe. The latter was a common theme throughout the night -- almost a Minneapolitan-vacationing-in-South-Beach affair -- and this was a good thing since in the past the event showed a men's speedo line in the thick of a brisk autumn. Dramatic floppy hats, sunglasses, over-sized totes and clutches, and thick wedge sandals made strong appearances and teased everyone anticipating skin-baring season.  

Russell Bourienne followed with his solid-color trenches (well made, but a few too many in a row to keep us interested). Kathryn V had looks full of interesting concepts but needed a bit more execution. Finally, there was a classy and slightly conservative first-segment finale by Uptown boutique Atmosfere (imagine a mod flight attendant mixed with Jackie O). 

But it was the second half of the show that really delivered the goods.  
  
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Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Look by Martin Patrick3

Menswear got a nod with Euro-fab looks form North Loop boutique Martin Patrick3, and we even got a peek at some evening wear from Caroline Hayden (this black dress was one of our favorites of the night). The real stunner, though, was a set of very Judy Jetson dresses by Sara Lopez and Lizzie Hillman (below). They were stunningly executed and managed proportion well -- not an easy thing to do when experimenting with large panels of pleather-like material. It was a welcome futuristic break.

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Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Sara Lopez & Lizzie Hillman
Finally, Cliche ended the night with the best-styled looks from their racks, playing boldly with pattern and color (e.g. merging leopard-print with a rainbow-colored sweater) and keeping the theme constant with cheeky accessories like swirly lollipops and gigantic, cartoonish sunglasses. The major treat (perhaps literally?) was the delicious footwear decked out with mosaics of candy, Dots and Good N' Plentys glued to the heels:

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Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Look by Cliche

In all, the show was the best Envision yet, and had us more than ready to plan a local shopping spree in the name of spring style. We'd say "see you in the fall," but we're not quite ready for that yet.  Happy spring! 

MORE:

Envision Artopia Spring Photobooth

Envision Artopia Spring 2012: The Looks

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