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.