Collage3_3 The cool crowd turned out tonight for the Collage fashion show at the Nicollet Island Pavilion (a perfect venue for the event, save for the bad acoustics). Unlike Glamorama, which is really a society benefit attracting a lot of movers and shakers, Collage is for the young, creative and purely fashionable on any budget. The overwhelmingly female crowd was dressed to impress – lots of flowy, jersey dresses and, refreshingly, a minimal amount of denim. As for the show itself, Ivy, Ivy Men’s + Design, Stephanie’s and Bluebird Boutique exhibited their sharp eye for trend-forward style. Ivy showed chunky knits, short skirts and high waisted trousers while Bluebird is still rockin’ the super skinny jean. The Ivy man is at ease in a dapper suit or jeans and a cool trench. Stephanie’s provided the big finish with her reliable crop of fab evening dresses. If you attended, or got a post card in the mail Collage1_6 for the show, be sure to stop by the stores Friday or Saturday for your store wide discount – you’re going to want to buy.

It’s wonderful when work and personal shopping desires overlap. I rushed to Kohl’s early last week to scrutinize the new Simply Vera Vera Wang collection before writing a column on it for the Pioneer Press. Trying on a few things was research! I bought an extremely soft long sleeve crewneck – good for layering – on my way out, but I passed up the $138 short sleeve textured coat. It nagged at me all week, especially when I spotted it on models in two fall fashion magazines. I got back to the Rosedale Kohl’s on Saturday intending to commit, and much to my surprise, the entire collection was 30 percent off and my coat was gone. Gone! I know Kohl’s tends to discount everything, but really, why would you mark down such a high profile line in the very first week when the designer has appeared on Oprah? That’s Kohl’s. So, I went home for the receipt from the shirt – no way was I going to pay full price – and headed to the Southtown store where I got my price adjustment, but no coat. They, too, were out of just about everything in small sizes. I did score two cute shirts for my kid (if your little one likes Sesame Street, Kohl’s is the place), both on sale, of course. A shockingly competent customer service agent agreed to check the system for me to see if any store in town might have the coat. She found it in Burnsville. And like a fool, I immediately drove there at 8:30 on a Saturday night (yes, I do lead an exciting life), family in tow, to buy it. I’m not sure my desire to have the coat turned into a need to possess it. But now that I’ve got it home, I’m not so sure the coat looks as great on me as it did in all the magazines. Too much material up top and I think I’m too short waisted for the belt. Guess I’ll get to make another trip to Kohl’s this week – that’s more times than I’ve entered the store in the past year, so they should at least feel good about that.

Looking for inspiration, or at least some great people watching? Local fashion events abound in the next couple of weeks:
Sept. 19 to 23: it’s Fall Fashion Weekend brought to us by MNfashion.org, the group behind Voltage. The festivities will include trunk shows and runway shows by local designers, a tour of collections at the Minnesota Historical Society, parties, in-store events and networking opportunities for aspiring designers and stylists.
Sept. 27: Collage fashion show at the Nicollet Island Pavilion from Stephanie’s, Ivy, Ivy Men’s + Design and Bluebird Boutique. The looks are sure to be hot, and the crowd even hotter. (Last year, I remember thinking who are these good-looking, well-dressed people and where have they been hiding? Maybe I just need to go out more.) Success does have it price, and this year, the formerly free event is charging $25 for admission. That does include a complimentary champagne and dessert bar and an after party with DJ. Tickets can be purchased at www.collagefashionshow.com.

Cos Bar is set to open Friday (Sept. 7) at 50th & France. Last week, I found myself shopping the one in Vail, Colorado (my husband wondered if that meant we could write off our family vacation). The mini-chain, which got its start in Colorado resort towns Vail and Aspen, is supposed to be a sort of luxury Sephora where sales associates don’t work for any one brand, so you can feel more confident they will show you the product that works best for you. I like the idea, but I wasn’t especially impressed by the Vail Cos Bar. It felt cramped and not as posh as I would have expected. Oh sure, the brands were high-end – Laura Mercier, La Mer, and so on – but nothing you couldn’t find elsewhere in town. Frankly, I think Cherie Boutique Francais in Wayzata delivers a much more authentic luxury beauty shopping experience. But, I say this without having seen the Edina Cos Bar. I’ll be there tomorrow – whether my husband likes it or not. Love to hear your impressions.