Friday, August 28, 2009

My Blog Has Moved! Check it Out!

As you may or may not know, Madison Magazine's website has been totally revamped, with spectacular results! Our redesigned site now means that our blogs can live on our site rather than being hosted on a different website (like on Blogger), which is ideal for us and our readers.

You can always catch any of our blogs (Small Dishes, Liberal Arts, Foreword and Window Shopping) by logging on to and scrolling down the page. You'll see our blogs at the bottom. Happy reading!

So from now on, read my blog here:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fashion Fridays: SoBe Sensational

Want to see a slideshow of the looks I featured at the Fashion Fridays event? Hit play!
With our website changeover I'm still figuring out how to post slideshows and multiple photos. Unfortunately on the new website, the models' heads were getting cut off in that version! :)

Photographs courtesy of Peter F. Castro.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NEW! Madison Mannequin: LA Imports

Guest blogger Alexandra Graves is an intern here at Madison Magazine and my eye on the streets for all things chic, eccentric or otherwise inspirational. So check back weekly for the latest “Madison Mannequin.” Lex will be conducting all interviews and providing commentary for this special weekly segment.

Stacy Sterling flew in from Los Angeles to visit her sister, but she brought a lot of style with her. Sterling, twenty-nine, designs jewelry that can be found in her sister’s boutique, Sukara Sterling, on State Street. She does more than sell style, however—she lives it, which was evident in her thinking-outside-of-the-flip-flop look.

“It started with the boots,” Sterling said of her outfit, so it’s no accident that I noticed them first. “I choose one piece that I really feel like wearing, then elaborate on that. I have a lot to choose from because I’m really into fashion.”

So into fashion, in fact, that after graduating pre-med from UW–Oshkosh, Sterling followed the urge to explore her creative side all the way to Los Angeles, where she has lived, designed and shopped for the past seven years.

Sterling snagged the boots at a flea market, borrowed the sash belt from a jumpsuit and wore a racerback tank as a dress. She pulled it all together with a roomy sweater from Honey Punch and a scarf from—where else?—Sukara Sterling.

So how does Madison’s style stack up to the ever-current Los Angeles?

“When students are here, there’s more risk taking,” Sterling said. “They’re not afraid to be the first to wear something.”

Friday, July 10, 2009

Two Big Shopping Events!

Want to snap up your own masterpiece—without the huge cost? Or better yet, that sweet pair of designer jeans for a lower price? Art Fair on the Square and Maxwell Street Days are just the answer to your shopping desires.

First, this weekend’s Art Fair on the Square is a bonanza of artists selling everything from: mixed media, ceramics, drawing, graphics and printmaking, fiber/leather, furniture, glass, jewelry, metal works, painting, photography, sculpture and 3-D mixed media and wood. Phew, that’s all of the categories! That’s about five hundred artists showing off their wares, folks.

While it’s not a “sale,” items range in cost from affordable jewelry and prints to pricey ceramic and glass pieces and everything in between. It all depends on what you’d like to spend—and of course, what pieces speak to you. So pick up your own little piece of art, whether it’s a pair of earrings or that must-have painting.

Yes, the Square can get crowded but Art Fair only comes around once a year—so why not embrace it, take your time, and support local (and national) artists?

Images courtesy of MMoCA.

Art Fair on the Square, July 11 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) July 12 (10 a.m.–5 p.m.). Capitol Square.

Next weekend (July 17–19) is Maxwell Street Days. What is Maxwell Street Days, and why the heck is it called that when it’s on State Street?!

“Maxwell Street in Chicago, Ill., was home to a famed outdoor market and ‘urban bazaar’ from 1871 to 1994. In 1975, Martin’s, a Madison, Wis., clothing store and tailor shop, founded an outdoor sidewalk sale to showcase the State Street shopping district, starting Madison’s very own ‘Maxwell Street Days’ tradition.”

That’s according to, of course. Anyway, deals abound at the largest sidewalk sale in Madison. And I mean sidewalk sale in a classy way of course, not in a rummage-sale-selling-cheesy-owl-tapestries way. More than eighty shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants (most locally owned, of course) will have bargains on clothing, jewelry, home goods, shoes, active wear and more.

I must confess I am looking forward to bop’s sale. The fun, fashionable women’s shop will offer killer deals on tons of items in the store—including their best denim sale of the year. If you make the pilgrimage to bop, be prepared to wait in line around the corner—the sale is just that good.

Maxwell Street Days, July 17–18 (8 a.m.–6 p.m.) July 19 (10 a.m.–5 p.m.).,

Other Hot Sales

3 Orange Doors Sidewalk Sale
July 10–12, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Details: Owner Gail Paraskevas wants to celebrate Antiques Roadshow being in town—but since so many didn’t get tickets, she wants to celebrate in the store! Many items are up to fifty percent off. If you haven’t stopped by this quaint gift haven off of Fitchrona Road, take a ride off of the beaten path and check it out. It’s a little country, a little bit city.
More info: 848-3336. 2789 Fitchrona Rd.

Unearthed Sale
July 11–12, 12–6 p.m.
Details: Save twenty percent storewide when you visit the store or order online. Check out the store for items so new owner Heidi Anderson hasn’t even posted them on the website yet.
More info: 441-1993.

Atticus Summer Shindig
Through July 18
Details: Get up to seventy percent off all apparel and accessories (apothecary not included). With niche brands like Acne, Current/Elliott, Charlotte Ronson, LNA and Relwen, Atticus has got one-of-a-kind, chic looks that are perfect from day to night. Right now I’m loving owner Kristin Wild's dresses and she’s got a well-edited selection of Acne denim. Get it while it’s hot! (Shown above is Current/Elliott's "Heart Dress". Photo courtesy of Atticus.)
More info: 18 N. Carroll St. 204-9001.

I will not be posting next week (July 16) as I'll be out of the office. See you the week after!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

NEW! Madison Mannequin: Sassy Chic

Guest blogger Alexandra Graves is an intern here at Madison Magazine and my eye on the streets for all things chic, eccentric or otherwise inspirational. So check back weekly for the latest “Madison Mannequin,” posted every Tuesday from now on. Lex will be conducting all interviews and providing commentary for this special weekly segment.

Dr. Georgia Hinman, fifty-one, leads a busy life as the director of medical education assessment at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, mother of two and recently published author (whew!). So it makes sense that she keeps her style simple.

Hinman chose her casual Concert on the Square outfit because the colorful Bermudas didn’t need ironing, and her summer style rule is summed up by her crystal embellished Birkenstocks: “No closed toe all summer long.”

Still, those sparkly sandals hinted at a more colorful style philosophy, and sure enough, Hinman later said she opts for “professional yet slightly sassy” looks.

“I try to look young and current without looking ridiculous at fifty-one,” Hinman said. “I want to age gracefully yet be kind of hip and modern.”

Hinman often asks her daughters to see if her style is working, but like those Birkenstocks, she doesn’t always follow code.

“Sometimes I listen [to them] and sometimes I don’t!”

Spoken with true sass.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What to Wear This Summer

Lately, Madison’s had no shortage of fashion shows. And that’s a good thing! Stores, models and event organizers have done an excellent job of uniting the fashion community in this city by showcasing beautiful clothing (and people!).

I attended the ENCORE: Madison’s Premiere Fashion Show June 26th at the Orpheum. Organizer Nick Speckmann promised an exciting event with hot summer fashions, so I of course was intrigued. I wondered what would be shown in the middle of the summer when Fashion Week is in the fall and spring?

The show’s looks were a mash-up of chic summer looks, men’s casual as well as men’s suiting and a superb pre-fall lineup from J LaMore. Take a look at the slideshow to see a selection of looks! Photographs courtesy of Larry Chua.

Terese Zache, past Best of Madison winner (as well as a designer by trade herself!), opened the show with looks that will keep the fashionable girl cool no matter her age. Some notable looks: a crisp red and white sundress with coordinating shrug was a polished summer party look; a khaki and white striped seersucker suit was unfailingly preppy; an animal-print tank paired with gray pants was a cool summer day look; a cute belted tunic and trouser jeans would work from day to night. The show was closed (Karl Lagerfeld-style, of course) with a white mermaid-style wedding dress. It was beautiful, and I have a feeling might have been designed by Ms. Zache herself, but I’m not sure.

Bill Paul Studio is known for their prepster vibe, suiting and quality men’s accessories (including excellent silk pocket squares and ties). Looks included casual tee-and-jean ensembles, easygoing button-ups and jeans, a summery washed shirt in vibrant watermelon paired with dark denim and a sky-blue button-up with printed French cuffs. The closing look was a pinstriped suit paired with a smart bowtie. Way to bring it back 1920s style!

J LaMore (also a Best of Madison winner) closed the show with quite a bang. Their line opened with a slide show, showcasing images of several icons from the ’60s and ’70s—people like the Jackson Five, Jackie Kennedy, protesters and more. That prepped the audience for what would be a heavily themed show incorporating bohemian influences as well as a whole lotta Jackie—Kennedy, that is. Tunics, distressed denim cutoffs, maxidresses, cute sundresses and a few suits popped up here and there leading to a very cohesive, well-edited selection of sixties- and seventies-era looks.
Red, white and blue were the central colors, shown in pieces such as a blue trench coat; a red suit jacket with three-quarters sleeves with large buttons and skirt with flared hem; a blue and white flowered sundress paired with red cardigan and a red and white maxidress. But it wasn’t all prim and proper; a black and white leopard-print sleeveless dress with hot-pink belt and straps as well as a black and white cheetah-print three-quarters-sleeve suit jacket with pencil skirt popped up to add a little spice to the otherwise Americana-influenced collection.
Models carried protest signs, surely a nod to the tumultuous times of the era, but also adding a bit of authenticity to the runway show.

Overall the event was enjoyable and flowed smoothly. Models did a nice job, posed well and had nice, even walks. The looks were appropriately Madison—nothing over-the-top, yet still ensembles that were thoroughly wearable. The Orpheum is a very cool place to hold a fashion event as well—the historic vibe as well as ornate, old Hollywood aura just felt right.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

NEW! Madison Mannequin: Artistic Expression

Guest blogger Alexandra Graves is an intern here at Madison Magazine and my eye on the streets for all things chic, eccentric or otherwise inspirational. So check back weekly for the latest “Madison Mannequin,” posted every Tuesday from now on. Lex will be conducting all interviews and providing commentary for this special weekly segment.

UW–Madison art and graphic design student Vivian Cruickshank, twenty, was her own canvas at last Saturday’s boiling hot Farmers’ Market. Her medium of choice? Bright, breezy pieces like this pink sun hat and print sundress from Appleton’s Forever 21, where Cruikshank works during the summer.

“Clothing is an art,” Cruikshank says, adding that she looks for interesting patterns and colors to round out her signature style, which she describes as “really fun, yet classic.”

Flourishes to her cool canvas included splashy earrings (also a Forever 21 find) and a white patent tote from Take a page out of Cruickshank’s sketchbook and start your own closet gallery this fall—Forever 21 is coming to Madison!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Now Open: The Velvet Umbrella and Lu Anders

As your intrepid shopping reporter I’m always on the lookout for newer stores and I have two to tell you about: The Velvet Umbrella and Lu Anders.

The Velvet Umbrella opened in September and is in the old Dottie Rose location on Parmenter Street in Middleton. Those of you who didn’t get in to Dottie Rose can also identify the location as next to the now-closed Tickled Pink and kitty-corner from Roman Candle.

The boutique stocks French bath and body products in delicious scents like mandarine pamplemousse (mandarin grapefruit), Walking in Provence, vanille lavande (vanilla lavender) and more. Also look for linen spray, hand soaps, candles and baby care items. Each shower gel, body lotion, hand soap—whatever—isn’t housed like your run-of-the-mill Suave bonus-size lotion bottle from Target. Some are carefully gift-wrapped in little gift bags; all bottles have fancy labels that enhance the specialness of each product.

Although owner Jeannette Caruso wasn’t working, the employee that was was very helpful—telling me that all of the brands they sell are exclusive to the area and was even familiar with the production process of some of the bath and body lotions sold.

In addition to bath and body, The Velvet Umbrella sells foodie delights like Gourmet Village dips (cheddar onion, roasted pepper) and soups (minestrone), Tea Forté and Harney & Sons teas. The interior is chic and calming with pastel blue walls, hardwood floors and black and white shelving.

The Velvet Umbrella, 1835 Parmenter St. 836-3424.

Lu Anders, by contrast, is far newer than The Velvet Umbrella—it just opened two weeks ago in the same shopping center that houses Rejunvenation Spa, La Baguette and O’Grady’s. Formerly an Allen Edmonds shoe store, the interior underwent a full makeover from manly hardwood fixtures and a darker color palette to airy and white. The interior of the store is still quite spare with white walls and white shelving and little decor—which is understandable, given the newness of the place.

The women’s lifestyle boutique focuses on comfy clothing like tees, tank tops and lounge pants up to dressier items like jersey-knit dresses and fashionable little jackets. She’s the only purveyor of Trollbeads in the area—individual beads made of sterling silver and Murano glass that wearers can string into bracelets. Each bead has a different meaning and Hallquist says she’s already had people stopping in requesting them.

Another accessory item the owner is excited about are SwitchFlops, flip-flops that come in three different shoe styles that wearers can change out the strap patterns. You can find everything from nautical stripes to polka dots to chain-link patterns on the change-outs. The flip-flops range from $33 to $49 for a kitten-style sandal and “switches” are $5 for the flip flops and one free for the kitten-heel style. (Another local purveyor of SwitchFlops? J. Kinney, mentioned in a blog post below!)

Oh, and in case you’re curious about the name Lu Anders, it’s named after the owner's daughter Lulu and son Alexander.

(Photo courtesy of J. Kinney)

Lu Anders, 7412 Mineral Point Rd. 827-8270


I reported that XXI Forever (Forever 21) is opening this fall at West Towne Mall. I now have confirmation that the store will open October 17 and will be a whopping 36,121 square feet! This particular location will “feature three of the retailer’s brands only seen in larger locations: Forever 21 apparel and accessories; Twelve by Twelve, a couture line; and Heritage 1981, a lifestyle brand for men and women,” according to a press release.
Looks like Forever 21 knows that Madison’s got some serious shoppers ☺

The Coach store will be opening mid July.

Fashionable Find

Since I’m checking out local retail all of the time, I frequently come across fantastic items—far too many to fit in my blog every week, but I try to feature them as often as I can!
J. Kinney always puts a smile on my face when I walk in. Maybe it’s because of the cheerful green walls or the smell of fresh flowers. Nah, I think it’s because of little Iris, her kitty that saunters through the store, that makes me feel at home.
One of my favorite items from J. Kinney (that I’ve featured in the magazine before) is her OilCloth goods. These durable, wipe-clean items like lunch bags, tablecloths and tote bags are fantastic for toting lunch to work, decorating a drab ol’ picnic table in the park or transporting your favorite Concerts on the Square fixins’.
Owner Jane Kinney tells me that the company found a number of old copper print rolls in Mexico from the 1930s and most of the designs are reproduced vintage designs from those rolls. Cool! OilCloth stuff ranges from $12–$35.

J. Kinney, 1835 Monroe St. 255-7500.

Next Week!

Dane Buy Local Independents Celebration
When: June 30, 4:30–7 p.m.
Where: Nau-Ti-Gal, 5360 Westport Rd.
Details: June 27–July 4 is Celebrate Your Independents Week, according to Dane County executive Kathleen Falk. With that in mind check out the new Dane Buy Local guide as well as get acquainted with Ancora Coffee Roasters’ new Dane Buy Local Blend Coffee. The coffee is an organic fair trade product and “includes a touch of the French Roast so popular in Madison,” according to a press release. Dane Buy Local earns $1.50 for every pound sold. (Buy a cup of the blend for $1 at all of Ancora's locations this Saturday, June 27. Also try the blend on July 4 at their King Street location).
Also listen to a performance by Lucas Cates, door prizes and complimentary appetizers and cash bar sponsored by the Nau-Ti-Gal.
More info: Lark Paulson, 467-7555.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NEW! Madison Mannequin: Geometry Class

Guest blogger Alexandra Graves is an intern here at Madison Magazine and my eye on the streets for all things chic, eccentric or otherwise inspirational. So check back weekly for the latest “Madison Mannequin,” posted every Tuesday from now on. Lex will be conducting all interviews and providing commentary for this special weekly segment.

Ciera McKissick, twenty-one, is at the top of the fashion class. I spotted McKissick at the Best of Madison party on June 12th not only because she’s a classmate of mine at UW–Madison’s journalism school, but because I liked her season-hopping knit dress that married soft fabric with hard angles.

“I like to combine elements of masculine and feminine,” McKissick says of her style. She did just that, finishing off her geometric look with black maryjane pumps, trapezoidal earrings and a killer coif.

McKissick, a web editorial intern, was working the crowd with gold winner Madison Verve, voted one of Madison’s favorite Web sites. Even among a sea of award winners and fabulous cocktail dresses (not to mention some stylin’ suits—nice work, gentlemen!), McKissick stood out, and for that, I give her an A+.
Alexandra Graves

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Column: bop

Long known in fashion magazine circles for their extensive selection of brands from classics (7 for All Mankind, Marc by Marc Jacobs) to the hottest, most cutting-edge lines (Kova & T, Pencey) bop has everything—literally—a girl could need to dress from day to night. Rounding that out is swim apparel, intimates, jewelry and shoes.

In other words their Best of Madison win was well-deserved for the sheer amount of fashionable possibilities they offer gals of all stripes—whether they want a sleek tank with fringe down the front, jeans that hug their curves, a haute-hippie maxidress or a black silk cocktail dress with feathers at the hem like, ahem, someone I know. (See below...)

Read my latest column on bop here!

P.S.: Thank you to Mollie Milano, bop's store manager, for modeling her hot Michael Kors gladiator heels in my column's photos!

Best of Madison: What We Wore

I live for party attire. Sometimes I wish I had a job that I could wear a cocktail dress to every day—but alas, I do not. And I’d probably get tired of that eventually anyway, so for now, special occasions are all the more special!

The Best of Madison party is just one of those times when our city’s finest get to dress up and celebrate one another’s success. Restaurants, salons, stores, auto dealerships, jewelers, movie theaters, florists, arts and entertainment groups and much more came out to socialize at the Madison Club and the Hilton last Friday night and everyone had a great time.

I wanted to share with you some cool photos: the first is of Madison Magazine’s very own edit staff—left to right is myself, Katie Vaughn, Neil Heinen and Brennan Nardi. Katie is wearing a J. Crew dress and beautiful chunky, bejeweled necklace (that I want myself!). Neil chose his comfy uniform of a T-shirt and blazer (he asked me ahead of time if his outfit choice was appropriate to wear to the Best of Madison—of course I said yes). Brennan is wearing a cool blue jersey dress by Jones New York that’s very Marilyn Monroe-esque. Too bad we didn’t catch her shoes in the photo! They were sassy patent cream and gold stunners.

I sported a Juicy Couture black silk cocktail dress with feathers at the hem from bop. Because I can never wear all black (seriously—too boring for me!) I had to add a pop of color with these Nina red peep-toe heels from DSW. If they look familiar, you might have noticed them in our June Luxe for Less issue—look in the lower right-hand corner!

To check out pics from our party, go to:

Now Open!

Sue Hunter and Carmen Alcalde, owners of bad dog frida, a pet accessories boutique, know people by their pets. Conversations with them typically include a mention of a customer and a funny story about said customer’s pet.

Alcalde once picked something out for a magazine photo shoot after I mentioned a coworker’s dog that was modeling. “Oh, this will look perfect on little Geordie,” enthused Alcalde as she handed me a little rain jacket that of course, we used. So, I guess you could add pet stylist to their repertoire, too. (Geordie is the terrier wearing the navy raincoat in the photo!)

Anyway, they've just opened the Re-Dog store which is a “store-within-a-store [that] offers a variety of gently used items for your dog,” according to a press release. The Re-Dog resale shop is open the first and third Sunday of every month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (So that’s this Sunday, June 21, folks).

Customers can earn money when they bring in items that Fido doesn’t use, like leashes, collars or sweaters in good condition. Bad dog frida staff will give you cash for items. You can also shop Re-Dog and pick up items at a hefty discount. Everyone wins!

Read my column on bad dog frida here!
Bad dog frida, 2094 Atwood Ave. 442-6868.


MMoCA Father’s Day Sale
When: Through June
Where: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Store, 227 State St.
Details: Get ten percent off of things for dad—business card holders made from recycled bike chains, desk clocks made from recycled 45 records, cuff links, backgammon sets, arts books, money clips and more!
More info: 257-3222

The Boss is Going Crazy Sale
When: June 19 and 20
Where: Fanny Garver Gallery, 230 State St.
Details: In honor of owner Jack Garver’s nuptials (this Sunday, congrats Jack!) he’s giving twenty percent off of everything in the gallery! Mention the sale to get the deal.
More info: 256-6755.

Fair Indigo Bin Buster Sale
When: Now!
Details: Score markdowns of forty, sixty and seventy-five percent off on certain items on the website! A chock-full of organic items such as washcloths, baby clothing and apparel are available.
More info:

Nickel Sale
When: Now!
Where: bop, 222 W. Gorham St.
Details: Buy one pair of shoes at full price, get the second pair for five cents! Since I’m a shoe girl, this sale seemes like an insanely good deal …
More info: 255-2570 (in-store only)

Encore: Madison’s Premiere Fashion Show
When: Friday, June 26, 5:30–10 p.m. (Runway show at 8 p.m.)
Where: The Orpheum, 216 State St.
Details: Check out fashions from three of Madison’s upscale boutiques including J. LaMore, Bill Paul Studio and Terese Zache. Summer trends galore will be shown and DJs Corey Lee and Papi Love will be spinning. General admission is $20 and available at the door.
More info:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fashion-Forward Femme

Jennifer LaMore is one of those women that when you see her you automatically compliment her on what she’s wearing—although it’s probably not a question where she got it. Friends, she probably got it from her store, J LaMore, named after—naturally—herself. LaMore’s been sharing her trademark style with our city for ten years. Her mix of west coast, easy-breezy chic (tie-dye, bright sundresses, embellished tops), upscale, more conservative work attire (wool pencil skirts, blouses, trousers) and dash of sex appeal thrown in (sheer blouses, sassy cocktail dresses, sky-high heels) easily captures the many facets of a Madison woman’s life—from work to play.
As a multiple-year Best of Madison winner, I asked LaMore a few questions about her store’s success.

How many times have you won Best of Madison?
I think it’s seven times!

Why do you think you’ve done so well in the Best of Madison?
I think that people that shop here know how much we love what we do. They get such a positive vibe when they come in—and find product in here that they don’t see everywhere else. It’s such a friendly, easygoing place; there’s no pressure. We go to the east and west coasts to make sure we have the trends featured in magazines but interpreted to what people can wear here in Madison.
We try to participate in as many fashion shows and fundraisers as we can. It’s really about being relentless, and working at it, and doing everything we can to stay in front of the customers.

You said you interpret the trends from the coasts to the Midwest buyer. How do you do that?
On the west coast they tend to be on the trendier side. There are things that I see that I might love, but I’m not really certain that everyone’s going to “get it.”
Being in business now for ten years and knowing the customers as well as I do, it’s such a natural that I can’t even really explain it.

What’s your personal style?
My style is kind of definitely trend-driven in everything I choose to wear. It’s kind of free and a bit eclectic. I’m loving all of the maxidresses; I probably own five. They’re so comfortable and look cute—every time I wear them I get tons of compliments!

What trends should we look for this summer?
I don’t know if this has to do with the economy, but people are buying things that they can get more use out of—like dressier tops paired with jeans.
I’m seeing lots of plaid cotton shirts, and color in dresses and tops. Look for bright pink, orange and tie-dye.
And of course maxidresses!

Photos above courtesy of J LaMore.

J LaMore, 2701 Monroe St. 238-2119.

Look for LaMore at the Encore: Madison's Premiere Fashion Show at the Orpheum Theater Friday, June 26 at 8 p.m. (See event listings, below for more info). Want more Best of Madison? I’ll write more about more winners next week! In the meantime read the July story here!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NEW! Madison Mannequin: Puppy Love

Guest blogger Alexandra Graves is an intern here at Madison Magazine and my eye on the streets for all things chic, eccentric or otherwise inspirational. So check back weekly for the latest “Madison Mannequin!” Lex will be conducting all interviews and providing commentary for this special weekly segment.

Maybe Sophie and Zeke, these three-year-old Yorkshire Terriers, fall outside the realm of “people watching.” But I couldn’t pass them up—they were workin’ it! Owner (or should I say stylist) Dave Heins says the dogs love getting dressed up.

“When they see the clothes, they know they’re going to go [out], so they get excited,” he says. Zeke, right, was getting in touch with his feminine side in a pink and purple striped rugby. Sophie got her diva on in an embellished “A List” blue tee.

So where do the pups get their vast wardrobe? Heins’s brother, a flight attendant, brings the dogs clothes from his travels, so their closet is filled with imports from all over, including Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

Friday, June 12, 2009

We Like Bikes

An event titled The Future of Transportation” might sound like a discussion on the Regional Transit Authority or Metro bus service route cutbacks. But it wasn’t: it was a showcase of bike-friendly fashion put on by Machinery Row Bicycles, Revolution Cycles, Context, Thorps, Cognition and Internal Construction.
The uber-trendy event, held last night at Revolution Cycles, was a fun, laid-back event that targeted regular Joes and Janes who like relaxed clothing with a fashionable bent—that they can bike in, of course.

Context co-owner Ryan Huber held court as MC (and looked the part: he fit right in the bike shop dressed in a bike mechanic jumpsuit, boots and goggles pushed up on his forehead) and had fun chatting with each of the models that came down the runway—on two wheels, of course.

Yep, each model came accompanied with a cool bike: road racers, mountain bikes and retro inspired models were all present and accounted for. Context’s models (which, by the way, were some good looking men!) sported simple looks like a white T-shirt and selvedge denim, as well as a three-piece tweed suit.

By the way, a tweed suit-clad model rolled the crazy bike shown above down the runway (according to Wikipedia it’s called a “penny-farthing” or an “ordinary bicycle”) … as Huber noted: “Taking it all the way back to 1868!”

Next Internal Construction (designers are Becky Heller and Jess Neumann, Neumann is in the black/white romper, above) showed off their looks: bike-friendly rompers in tasteful colors like sky blue, a pinkish-red, black, dove gray and even a fun retro print. Each piece was anchored by a black stretchy waistband to break up the outfit and add waist definition. Necklines ranged from a simple snap-front to asymmetrical and shoulder-baring to halter style. Each had its own distinct look, yet were tied together by the utilitarian romper aspect—perfect for biking (no revealing bits!) and yet, fashion-forward all the same. Cognition provided the fun caps that sat jauntily on most of the models' noggins.

Thanks to Angela Richardson for sharing her photos with me! View more atLink

Internal Construction will be sold at Atticus starting next week, around June 15 or so. Check with the store if you’re interested: 204-9001. 18 N. Carroll St. (Internal Construction is on Facebook if you want to “friend” them!)

For Cognition cycling caps visit


Lady Moxie is offering alterations every Tuesday from 4–8 p.m. Get your jeans hemmed in thirty minutes while you shop, and other alterations are next-day. It’s kind of a two birds, one stone type of thing.

Lady Moxie
, 6706 Odana Rd. 826-4268.

My mother and I have the sparkle addiction; that is, we have a fondness for sequins and shiny things. She’s been known to wear a tiara for no good reason other than just to wear one; I have two bead/sequin-encrusted gowns that I’ve worn to galas in the last few years—among other sparkly items I own.
We might like the Swarovski store that’s opening up at West Towne (who am I kidding?! Of COURSE we’d like it)—it will carry jewelry, watches and fashion and home accessories, according to a press release. I might stop short of purchasing the Swarovski-encrusted lampshade if they sold one, but maybe not …

, near JC Penney in West Towne Mall, 833-0542.

Speaking of West Towne Mall, a Forever 21 is opening this fall!
Exciting stuff! For those of you who have been to Forever 21’s expansive stores they can be quite overwhelming but you can find virtually anything you’d want there—kooky sunglasses, purple tights (I bought those the last time I was there), ruffly dresses, faux-leather bomber jackets and more.
Forever 21, H&M and Zara all operate on the extreme end of the trendy spectrum—receiving new merchandise constantly and turning it over quickly to keep up with the trends. In other words you might go there to pick up those harem pants (uhhhh … or not … ) or jumpsuit or neon T-shirt. Many of their pieces are items that you may not wear season to season—although Zara is a bit tamer, carrying more classic looks.

Middleton’s La Bella Vita Gallery is moving to 6666 University Ave.
Their previous location was at 7466 Hubbard Ave.
According to a press release, the new space will feature “an expanded jewelry collection of more than 40 artists, with double the display space.” Owner Yvette Kindschi will also have an outdoor sculpture garden filled with garden art and a display of Kindschi’s landscaping services.
The Hubbard Avenue store will close June 21 and the University Avenue location will open June 24. A grand opening celebration will be July 6–11.

La Bella Vita
, 6666 University Ave. 831-3303.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NEW! Madison Mannequin: Laundry Pile Style

Guest blogger Alexandra Graves is an intern here at Madison Magazine and my eye on the streets for all things chic, eccentric or otherwise inspirational. So check back weekly for the latest “Madison Mannequin,” posted every Tuesday from now on. Lex will be conducting all interviews and providing commentary for this special weekly segment.

Mike Swanson, twenty-three, looked surprised when I approached him at Marigold Kitchen for a photo of his Saturday fashion. Why?

“I just threw something on because I was really hungry—whatever was lying on the floor,” says Swanson, a student in UW–Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

I wish my ensembles came together as easily as Swanson’s—his LRG tee, textured Banana Republic shorts and Nike shoes created a shades-of-gray style that worked. Swanson topped the look with a (controversial) Yankees cap.

Swanson buys his clothes online for the most part, and says he looks for original pieces that stand out but aren’t “too flashy.” Swanson added his urban style is the product of musical influences and his Philadelphia upbringing.

“Individuality is a good thing.”
— Lex Graves

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wisconsin Fashion Week: Fresh Face Winner

First of all, read my take on Wisconsin Fashion Week, below this post …

I also wanted to congratulate Fresh Face Model Competition winner Paige Butler for her outstanding job on the runway. Part of Butler's appeal (and I say this because I saw her in Friday and Saturday's shows) is that one could see her in many looks—from edgy (like at the streetwear event) to casual (as shown in the photo here from Saturday's show, taken by photographer Timothy Hughes). Models that can show a wide range of looks from haute couture all the way to catalog work can do quite well in their career because they can adjust their look to each client.

Butler has a strong walk and a beautiful face. Part of what can distract me during a show is the model's walk—if they don't have it just right, it can easily detract the onlooker from the fashion. Also a model's facial expression is huge—sometimes in an effort to look—as Tyra so beautifully puts it—fierce, a model can end up looking angry. A neutral expression is usually best.

I don't pretend to be a model, so hey, this is why I don't model, right :)? Nice job, Paige!

P.S.: I want that dress she's wearing, from Sable & Sky. It's really cute.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wisconsin Fashion Week: A Recap

"I just don't get Bottega Veneta this season." No, I didn't hear that line spoken at Wisconsin Fashion Week, and yes, I really did read that line recently in The New York Times Style section (a stylist said that in an article and it made me laugh. Haha!)

Yes folks, Wisconsin Fashion Week has come and gone and most of you might be wondering: How did it go? It might not have been the Bryant Park crowd in their Marc Jacobs garb (discussing Bottega Veneta this season) and Valentino handbags, but our own fashion week went very well, thank you. Here's my take on this fashionable fiesta of events ...

Menswear, Stylista Competition, Womenswear Trend and Womenswear Premium Shows
Saturday at Overture Center was a veritable buffet of fashion: men's and women's looks were showcased throughout an all-day "Style District."

Saturday's midday menswear show featured fashions by Jazzman--and I must say, the sight of beautiful men didn't hurt the eyes, either! The male models were polished and did a nice job of showcasing the clothing. I wish that more local stores were represented--but then again, there's not much selection for LOCAL menswear! Perhaps next year more stores will get involved.

The Stylista Competition
was quite innovative and I wasn't sure what to expect. The show actually quite reminded me of the Hair Affair event held recently at Overture—models were styled with a full hair and makeup look, complete with a coordinating outfit.

The looks were more avant-garde/artsy than actual looks to wear out and about. After all, wearing white body paint with glitter on it might not be something one would wear out to the grocery store! Rosalee Eichstedt and Headlines Salon won the competition in the clothing and hair categories while Indulge Spa won for makeup. (See their creative looks in the slideshow!) By the way, I was a judge in the Fresh Faces Model Competition as well as for the Stylista Competition, and it was great fun to be a part of the events representing the magazine.

Nighttime brought my favorite part--womenswear! The night was split up into two parts: a trend portion, which showcased youthful, edgier and more affordable lines. The premium portion, held later, was a mix of evening/special-occasion wear, handmade frocks and pricier brands and stores.

Some notable collections:
Maverick Clothing by Kayla Garland
was an edgier line—looks were layered, and black and red was the dominant color theme. Most of the looks were worn with ripped leggings and featured recycled elements in the clothing. Models sported faux-hawks and red lips.

Vintage S.E.X.Y. was cute, using recycled/vintage looks to make new looks—like a cowgirl outfit with a plaid shirt and denim skirt.

Fred Boutique from Milwaukee sells celebrity-inspired fashions for affordable prices and their collection was put together quite nicely: models had beautiful jewelry to go with each look and fun, colorful shoes.

Daria Karaseva and Premiere Couture showed special-occasion dresses. Karaseva's were constructed of silks and taffetas; Premiere Couture can't be beat in their selection of gorgeous wedding dresses in lace and silk.

Jessica Catherine's (whose things I always love) line was cocktail dresses constructed of dupioni silk, all perfectly ladylike with a touch of sex appeal. She favors a streamlined silhouette that shows off a woman's curves—but incorporates a fun detail in each dress. That might be a yellow chiffon ruffle down the front of a navy halter dress or a chiffon multicolored scarf stitched on to a navy strapless dress. Her last two looks (amazingly!) were wedding dresses—both for the fashion-forward bride. The first was a strapless column dress of white dupioni that transitioned into a fitted cascading chiffon ruffle skirt—a gorgeous silhouette. The second was a white dupioni halter dress with an A-line skirt that was gathered in beautiful folds randomly throughout the skirt. One could see the dresses in color on a celebrity at an awards ceremony. I'm just saying :)!

J LaMore and Twigs both put on impressive shows that were incredibly polished and cohesive—these were two of my favorites.
LaMore's show started with an amazing performance by Native American Art Shegonee and his daughter. The performance kicked off LaMore's themed collection of boho/tribal looks in everything from maxidresses to rompers. Models strutted down the runway with genuine Native American artifacts like bows and arrows, drums and more. All of the artifacts were borrowed from Katy's American Indian Arts.

Twigs' look was South Beach prep mixed with touches of tribal influences as well. That meant bright, vibrant prints, safari looks and metallic touches in shoes, jewelry and handbags.
I was especially impressed by Twigs' show because they did what big-name designers when they show their lines during Fashion Week: transition looks in a way that they flow seamlessly together. It's hard to explain here, but that usually means the designer shows looks in order from casual to eveningwear, all the while tying each outfit strategically together so it flows into the next look. For example, Prada might show an wool trenchcoat, followed by a wool skirt suit followed by a wool jumper—each look ties strategically into the next. And yet the looks are differentiated by a pop of color or something else that sets it apart. I thought Twigs did this nicely.

I hope that Wisconsin Fashion Week can thrive next year and become an even better event with more attendance. Saturday's daytime menswear show was sparsely attended so perhaps grouping all of the shows (mens- and womenswear) together might work, or showing menswear on a different day of the week might up the attendance. Like I said, who can't resist looking at the beautiful men?! More people should get in on that!

But seriously, Kristi Moe did a good thing for the Wisconsin fashion community by bringing together people that care about fashion, like to have a good time—and more importantly, want to host an exciting celebration in a city that's typically known for the Farmers' Market and the state Capitol. We might not be evaluating the latest in Bottega Veneta's spring/summer 2010 collection like the editors of Vogue do at Bryant Park—but hey, we can still have a little fun with fashion, too.

Wisconsin Fashion Week: A Recap Continued ...

Streetwear & Emerging Designers Runway Show
This event was held at 345 West Washington, in between the under-construction Hyatt Place and the Capitol West condos. The venue was supposed to convey "urban"--and I think it was a unique place to show off young and/or emerging designers. Designers included UW–Madison's Textile and Apparel Student Associated (TASA), Internal Construction, N.E.W.D. Clothing and Sconnie Nation. If you click on the slideshow you can see what was shown.

My favorite collection was Internal Construction, the line designed by Becky Heller and Jessica Neumann. Pieces were fun and sassy rompers, perfect for a day-to-night look. And that's exactly what the two were going for--pieces that could be worn while biking to work or school but are still dressy enough to wear out at night. I liked the gray/black romper shown last in the show--unfortunately my photo is not great of that piece, but I assure you, it was cute!

One of the strengths of their collection was the total look--Heller and Neumann clearly paid close attention to detail. Each model sported colorful eye shades or stripes of bright, colorful makeup along with leggings in colors like fuschia, sheer black, silver and yellow. In sum, their collection looked pulled-together and fresh, unlike anything I've ever seen.

Some of the TASA students showed some strong looks as well--the fanciful Carrie Bradshaw-esque tutu dress was cute, along with the more conceptual black and white dress with structured skirt and the yellow/white dress whose skirt looked like it was composed of curled ribbons (see slideshow).

Sconnie Nation
surprised me with their fresh, breezy collection of T-shirts, sweatshirts, long-sleeve Ts and underwear. Models wore retro-look plastic sunglasses and walked in pairs of guys and gals (I only have one photo of Sconnie Nation in the slideshow).

Other collections had hits and misses--I recall at least one dress that was cut so high it showed, um, the model's behind—which isn't the most flattering look! :) Tim Gunn would have certainly reprimanded said designer for allowing a model to go down the runway showing her goodies off!

Overall the event was fun and represented the look that executive producer Kristi Moe was no doubt going for--fun, youthful and cutting-edge. I think that more work could be done in pulling together an even more cohesive event--the collections (to me) didn't so much say "streetwear" as they did "new emerging talent," so perhaps if this event is held next year the event could showcase strictly streetwear or just the emerging talent.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NEW! Madison Mannequin: Finely Dressed Friendship

Guest blogger Alexandra Graves is an intern here at Madison Magazine and my eye on the streets for all things chic, eccentric or otherwise inspirational. So check back weekly for the latest “Madison Mannequin,” posted every Tuesday from now on. Lex will be conducting all interviews and providing commentary for this special weekly segment.

I caught up with this chic duo as they paid for smoothies from a sidewalk cart. In the late morning heat, the light summer pieces that outfitted Amy Chinanzvavana, 26, and Amrita Batra, 26, were like smoothies for the fashionable eye—airy, refreshing and tasteful.

Chinanzvavana (above) and Batra (below) met at Grinnell College in Iowa but parted ways geographically after—Batra now lives and works in Madison at an environmental NGO, while Amy struck out to Washington, D.C., where she works as a program assistant at the Open Society Institute.

Although they live a thousand miles apart, Chinanzvavana and Batra looked almost as though they had coordinated—big, bright bags, eye-catching jewelry and breezy ensembles. Surprisingly, the two have differing fashion sensibilities.

“I like to buy standout pieces,” says Batra, who listed Sarah Jessica Parker and Anne Hathaway as her modern fashion icons. “I wouldn’t be happy wearing a cardigan and jeans.”

“I don’t think I have a style,” says Chinanzvavana, who claimed she wasn’t fashionable enough to have a fashion icon. “I pick for fit.”

“You have a style—you have dreadlocks, that’s stylish!” Batra protests. I’d have to side with Batra on this one—Chinanzvavana’s lovely sundress doesn’t shout utilitarian, and while that bag may be useful, it’s certainly got style.

For her part, Batra’s quest to stand out from the crowd knows no boundaries—one of her favorite new designers, James Ferreira, operates out of Bombay, where he makes seamless pieces that Batra loves. Her blue-and-white striped shirt was a new Anthropologie purchase and she got the Marc Jacobs arm candy as a birthday gift.

Chinanzvavana’s bag was also a birthday gift and her bracelet was a gift from Batra. These two may have different approaches, but their looks are as strong as their friendship.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I attended the Avant-Garde fashion exhibition, part of Wisconsin Fashion Week, Tuesday night at State Street Gallery.
What a show! Avant-garde typically means that the fashions are more fantasy and haute couture (handmade) creations—not necessarily ready-to-wear goods. In a sense, more art than anything.

Rachel Frank stitched up some fantastical creations—a white high-neck dress with full skirt with swirling fabric pieces cascading up and down the bottom half. It was tightly belted with a black belt and accented with black fingerless gloves and black lace-look fan. But the most fascinating part was the model’s eyes—feathered false eyelashes completed her Gone With the Wind-like ensemble. But it was Scarlett O’Hara updated for today’s world—leather gloves and all. Ms. Frank tells me that she made a similar dress for a friend who is getting married.
Her other creation—a red dress wool dress with large rosette accents on the neckline and skirt was also quite wearable—for the right occasion. I thought it was beautiful, although the model had to step out of her outfit because she got too warm in it! Regardless to even the casual onlooker one could tell the dress took much painstaking effort. Well done, Ms. Frank.

Rosalee Eichstedt is a triple threat—she’s talented in makeup, hair and fashion styling, says Kristi Moe, executive director of Wisconsin Fashion Week. Her look “was a play on the masculine/feminine,” according to Eichstedt. Behold the cute dress constructed of flowers and her (female) partner’s mannish, yet sassy, top hat/short-shorts combo.

Maggie Barber’s corset looks were so cute that they’d also be pretty wearable—albeit with a more downsized bottom half. But of course we’re going for art here, poeple, not necessarily what’s going to be selling next week at Macy’s. Anyway, the detail of these dresses were simply amazing close-up. Ms. Barber is a student in TASA—UW’s Textile and Apparel Student Association. If Ms. Barber’s future looks are anything like these two creations, I predict she’ll do well in her sartorial career ahead.

Tis the Season for Dos and Don’ts…

This weekend kicks off fair and festival season with Brat Fest (technically, Fitchburg Days was last weekend, but you get what I mean). That means the Dane County Fair, Waunafest, the Mt. Horeb Summer Frolic, Summerfest, The Wisconsin State Fair, et cetera.

Why do I mention this? Because I love to people-watch. People wear … fascinating outfits. Here’s my mental dialogue:
Me: Why is that woman wearing jeans three sizes too small? Can that possibly be … comfortable? Not to mention the dreaded muffin top that can accompany such situations. I wish I could tell her that no one will know her size if she goes one or two sizes up. Oh well. On to the cheese curds!

My point? Clothing that’s comfy and fashionable is well within your reach!

Here are my dos and don’ts for festival season:

Don’t: Wear a head-to-toe look. I can understand your passion for Def Leppard, or the Brewers, or, I don’t know, the “boho” look. But understand that taking a trend OR a look and wearing it head-to-toe only makes the trend, well, not trendy.
Do: Mix it up—show your passion for Def Leppard with just a tee (not with the acid-washed jeans and head-banger hair) or wear your fave boho skirt and leave it at that. No need to go all matchy-matchy—it’s overkill.

Don’t: Wear uncomfortably tight clothing. Or, on the flip side, clothing that’s too big. Rocking the club look in a tight tube dress and stilettos (yes, I saw this look more than once last year at Summerfest, actually) when you’re at the Miller Oasis is quite frankly, out of place.
On the opposite side, men and women wearing an oversized T-shirt or jeans and women wearing empire-waist sundresses and tunic tops when their figure can't rock that look is also a tactic employed when somone wants to be comfy. But sometimes it can appear sloppy or even worse—make you appear larger than you are!
Do: Um, wear clothing that fits! Too-tight clothing is never easy on the eyes—or the body, for that matter. Remember that if you’re going for comfort, you can still look stylish.
Gals: Know what works for your figure. Wear a cool cotton maxidress or, if you’re petite (maxidresses can dwarf shorter women), wear a lovely knee-length empire waist or A-line sundress that skims your curves.
Just be sure to select the right size—it doesn't matter if it's a great ikat print—if it doesn't fit correctly, move on to a dress that does. If you’re wearing a looser tunic top, wear more fitted jeans, capris, shorts, or Bermuda shorts to balance out the look.
Guys: For cooler nights, try a nice pair of bootcut jeans (not too big though!) and throw on a lightweight sweater or cardigan over your T-shirt instead of the usual hoodie, which can add bulk.

Don’t: Wear uncomfortable shoes. I’m all for cute heels and whatnot, but not for a casual affair like Waunafest. You want to able to enjoy your time strolling the grounds, not rubbing your feet and drinking away your pain at the beer tent.
Do: Wear cute, comfortable shoes like fashionable flats, cushioned flip-flops or wedge sandals, which are very chic right now and more comfortable than heels.

Don’t: Dress too young (or too old) for your age. I’ve seen this time and time again at summer events—young girls wearing far-too-revealing clothing (yes, I realize I sound like one of THOSE people that says “kids these days …” Oh well …) or guys and gals wearing clothing that’s far too young-looking for their age.
Do: Dress age-appropriately! Guys, there’s a reason that Abercrombie is targeted toward teens and twenty-somethings with their scantily clad male models and T-shirts with funny sayings—because those looks typically look better on, well, scantily clad male models, high school and college guys. Try Ralph Lauren! Classic.
I probably don’t need to emphasize this, but if you’ve seen how the Real Housewives of Orange County dress, that’s all I need to say about dressing too young for your age … (i.e. embellished halter tops, too-tight dresses, tube tops, et cetera) on women that would look far better in classic styles, like a draped Grecian dress, shift or sheath dress or a pair of trouser jeans with a classy ruffled top.

Ladies, look for some of these items—all fashionable, and all appropriate from day to night to wear at your fave fest!

Day-to-night dresses in jersey knits
—Grecian and draped styles are hot. Pick a brightly colored one or a cool gray or blush color—than add interest with vibrant accessories.
Find it: A Stone’s Throw or Target.

Gladiator sandals and heels
—pick up a neutral black or gray pair or glam it up with a gold or silver pair with beaded or gemstone accents.
Find it: Available at most department stores and shoe stores.

Jeans in unconventional styles
—the current favorite is the “boyfriend jean”—a style that’s a bit looser and relaxed, with a few tears here and there for a tough, cool look (sold at Atticus and Bop). Or try a crisp white pair of jeans, or a more rugged pair with a few tears (again, check out Bop). Colored skinny jeans also continue to dominate—and can be found anywhere from Target to Bop.
Find it: Atticus, Bop and Target.

Embellished tanks
—appropriate from day to night, these tanks add polish and flash to an otherwise simple racerback style or loose A-line tank. Pair with skinny or bootcut jeans and you’re good to go. Urban Outfitters has the widest selection I've seen.
Find it: Urban Outfitters

(or any dress, for that matter)—as noted above, maxidresses are best for taller women as they can dwarf shorter women. No need to worry, there are lots and lots of cute empire-waist and A-line styles totally appropriate for petite women too.
Find it: The Purple Goose, Patricia Shoppe and Twigs.

Major jewelry
—you don’t need to be an heiress to sport sparkly costume jewelry. It can be found anywhere from the local vintage or thrift store to yes, real jewelry stores. My favorite tip? Gather several necklaces that look similar or have similar elements and wear 'em all at once. I just read a great tip from J. Crew’s fashion director in Glamour: wear a few necklaces and pin on a pretty costume brooch and—insta-style! My point is that adding fun, chunky jewelry can instantly dress up a plain white tank and skirt or jeans—perfect for your favorite fest while still looking chic.
Try any of the shops named above for fab jewelry—they all have great picks.


Bop’s Stock Up on Summer Essentials sale
When: May 21–May 24
Where: Bop, 222 W. Gorham St.
Details: Quick—think beach. Er, I guess in our case, think a cool lake on a hot summer day. And what does one need lakeside? A cute swimsuit, sandals and sunglasses, of course! Look no further than Bop—whose summer essentials sale means thirty percent off sandals, swim and sunglasses from Thursday, May 21 to Sunday, May 24. (Photos: Brett Sandler purple bikini and Vix black bikini both available at the store, images courtesy of Bop.)
More info: Bop, 222 W. Gorham St. 255-2570. (In-store sale only)

Wisconsin Fashion Week Fashion Fridays
When: May 22, 7 p.m.
Where: 345 W. Washington Ave.
Details: View a runway show focusing on streetwear and emerging designers. Students from UW–Madison’s Textile and Apparel Student Association will showcase their designs as well as Internal Construction, N.E.W.D. Clothing and Sconnie Nation.
More info:

Wisconsin Fashion Week Fashion Fridays and Style District
When: May 23, 12:30–9:30 p.m.
Where: Overture Center, 201 State St.
Details: This all-day “style district” features a menswear show (male models sporting Jazzman), Stylista competition (makeup artists, hairstylists and fashion stylists style models and battle for who comes out with the best look) and three women’s runway shows at night—trend, premium and a Go Red for Women show with live auction at the end.
More info:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New! Madison Mannequin: Global Green

Guest blogger Alexandra Graves is an intern here at Madison Magazine and my eye on the streets for all things chic, eccentric or otherwise inspirational. So check back weekly for the latest “Madison Mannequin,” posted every Tuesday from now on. Lex will be conducting all interviews and providing commentary for this special weekly segment.

I spotted Emily Larsen at the Farmers’ Market on May 2, just as a week of rainy chill gave way to a brilliant spring day. Everything was coming up green, including Emily’s ensemble, assembled with pieces from around the world.

Emily imported her springy green Boden trench from the U.K. Underneath, she wore a Zara blouse from a shop in Miami and finished her weekend look with a bag she picked up in Italy.

“Even though it’s a winter bag, I’m workin’ it in the summertime,” says Larsen, 28, who visited Madison to see Elvis Perkins in concert at Memorial Union. A communications manager at M&I Bank in Milwaukee, Emily loves dressing for the weekend when she can “wear flats and be casual but still sophisticated.”

Emily may technically be a Milwaukee Mannequin, but I’d steal her put-together style for myself any weekend.

Alexandra Graves

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stylemaker Q&A: Kristi Moe on Wisconsin Fashion Week

Let's play a little word association. What do you think of when hear the term "fashion week"? Do you carry a mental image of Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue, wearing her signature dark shades, sitting in the front row of Marc Jacobs? Or perhaps leggy fashion editors sporting all- black ensembles (leather leggings, oversize tank and Alexander Wang blazer—don't forget the fierce, teetering, five-inch YSL platforms!) hanging out at cocktail parties? Let's not forget the ravishing models lounging backstage, sipping Champagne...

Kristi Moe (left), executive producer of Wisconsin Fashion Week, nixes these connotations for our own fashion extravaganza, Wisconsin Fashion Week (May 19-23), right here in Madison. "Inclusion" is a word I hear her repeat throughout our interview—and with good reason, because the week is aiming to attract all different audiences who dig fashion—from guys to gals, young and old and those of all different abilities.

Read on for what next week has in store—and rest assured, you can wear last season's pumps. I won't tell.

What was the original impetus behind you starting Madison Fashion Week, Fashion Fridays and, eventually, Wisconsin Fashion Week?
My original concept came out of a freelance client I had. I suggested they do a runway show—but when I started looking into it, I realized there isn’t a consistent, well-run, fashion show here besides ones for nonprofits and whatnot—which are great, too.
But from a PR background that’s what motivated me to get into it. I’m a non-biased player and I can work with all of these people and help all that are involved. It’s a very neat position to be in.

Clearly, Fashion Week has changed—most noticeably with the name change from Madison Fashion Week to this year’s Wisconsin Fashion Week. What other changes will event-goers notice?
This year it’s a lot more collaborative and on a much larger scale. It’s more than just my vision; it’s a community-involved event. It’s much more high profile too—we’re stepping it up by having [the Saturday runway shows] at Overture Center.
We brought in the Fashion Council. My expertise is not in photography or modeling. So the people in the Fashion Council give me recommendations because they have expertise in those areas. For example, Adam Perkins is great with photography. He understands the language and is great with networking with other photographers.

As executive producer, what does your role entail?
Well, the Fashion Council is really good at taking things off of my to-do list. All of them are people with part- or full-time jobs, too, so they help out when they can. But I’m still really involved in pretty much every event that’s going on.
One of my friends joked that my title should be diva, but I don’t want that title! It sounds negative (laughs).

How is Wisconsin Fashion Week different from, say, New York or L.A. Fashion Week?
It’s really for the ordinary Jane who won’t get an invite to New York or L.A. Fashion Week. We’re focused on the “now” and it’s much more about the experience; women can feel like a celebrity in their own town and become their own fashion icon. Fashion is what you make it, and here’s a reason to for you to express yourself.
Also, there will be mini-boutiques at Overture for before and after the runway shows where people can shop. If people like what they see in the show, they could literally buy it and wear it out that night!

How is an event of this scale able to go on in these economic times?
It’s very grassroots—it’s because of the sponsors it’s able to go on. It’s different from last year from a participant standpoint, too. There are a lot more designers this year—they’ve really come out of the woodwork! It’s much more balanced with boutiques and designers.
There are probably over one hundred people involved in Wisconsin Fashion Week. The models and photographers are doing this for free for the experience. It’s just really a good way to get everyone in this industry connected.

Can you describe some of the events going on throughout the week?
The avant-garde show (Tuesday) isn’t necessarily retail-ready collections (Ed’s note: In other words, the show will feature fashions that are more conceptual/artistic).
The Fashion For All Abilities show (Wednesday) is really inclusion from a modeling perspective. It also emphasizes how important it is from a business perspective to cater to those with special needs.
Friday is urban wear/streetwear. It emphasizes the youth culture, and it’s not necessarily mainstream.
The Stylista show is Saturday during the day and has hairstylists, makeup artists and fashion stylists compete and prep models in a live competition.
Saturday’s shows [menswear and women’s wear] are much more mainstream. At 6 p.m. is the [women’s] trend show, which [has fashions with] a better price point and would attract possibly a younger market.
The 8:30 p.m. show [features fashions with] a higher price point.
After that is the Go Red for Women auction, which will feature models of all ages, including older models.
[In total] the shows will have men, women, old, young, plus-size, different body types and different abilities.

What event are you most excited about?
Friday—as long as it doesn’t rain! (laughs) It’s in the courtyard at 345 West Washington. It’s more entertainment-focused. Two groups are coming up here from Chicago: Ivy League, who sing a song called “Pose” that’s all about modeling. Project Mayhem is a hip-hop group that’s into the Ralph Lauren subculture.

Who do you see attending Fashion Week events?
Women ages twenty-five to fifty-five is really what we’re targeting. Last year’s event was much more youth-focused; this year will be more of a mainstream crowd. Mom can come with her daughter or girls can do a girls’ day out.

How did you find your models?
We did a tour in Madison, Chicago and Milwaukee. It really reaffirmed what talent we have. There was one really great model, a fifteen-year-old, who just signed with the Rock Agency two months ago. I was really excited to see her—she’s someone new and hopefully through Fashion Week someone might want to book her for photo shoots with stores or designers.
We received a lot of great applications—it was hard to say no! But it was important they were able to take direction from us, and confidence was another huge thing.

What have been the challenges of putting on this week?
The sheer size—there’s a lot of detail that goes into a high-quality event.
The economic environment being what it is, sponsorships have been a challenge. But we’ve been well received by people. People get excited about this because they know it’s for them.
Despite the economy, though, participation from the designers and retailers has been overwhelming—they realize the value of being able to connect with their customers.

How would you describe the Midwest’s fashion sensibility?
We’re much more about how fashion fits our lives. Internal Construction (Ed’s note: Internal Construction is a line is by Jessica Neumann and Becky Heller and composed of versatile one-piece garments) is a good example. Biking to work and still looking cute—that’s our strength in fashion, and we bring something different.

What’s the next step for Wisconsin Fashion Week?
It would be great to reach outside of Madison, perhaps more to Milwaukee, incorporating more designers and stores in different cities in Wisconsin. There is so much more to be discovered. The events could possibly be more inclusive to different areas, to get more participation and interest. An event needs to have the community involved, and that’s why we’ve been able to grow.

What impression would you like people to leave these events with?
I want them to be entertained. I’d like people to think about shopping locally. I’d like them to know that a dress that’s tailored and designed for them is within their budget—they could get a custom-designed dress for $100!

So planning Fashion Fridays and Wisconsin Fashion Week is your full-time gig, right?
Yes, it is. So it’s really a great opportunity for me at this level—it’s something new and creative. There are risks involved and going into it. I knew what the risks were, but I really wanted to do it. If it doesn’t work out I always have a backup plan for myself, but I wanted to do this.

Wisconsin Fashion Week, May 19-23, various locations. Tickets: $50/week pass, $30/week student pass. For more information on Wisconsin Fashion Week please visit