Whsew. Time flies when you’re judging red carpet fashions from the Academy Awards. My deadline for the St. Paul Pioneer Press has long since passed – the report will be in Monday’s paper. But I couldn’t let all the great comments from local boutique owner Stephanie Morrissey go to waste. It’s no surprise that her shop, Stephanie’s, has a fab dress section – Morrissey is a red carpet devotee. Here are the awards she handed out for the evening:
Best Supportive Dress: Kristen Chenoweth
Best Visual Effects: John Travolta’s hair stylist
Best Animated Short: Ryan Seacrest
Most Unusual Handbag: Amy Adams
Best Jewelry: Jennifer Garner
Best Dress: Anne Hathaway
Worst Dress: Tied – Diablo Cody (in a frock borrowed from Betty Rubble) and Marion Cotillard (impersonating a mermaid)
Other random thoughts: Why does Cameron Diaz keep getting invited? Refreshingly real to see a pregnant actress in flats – Cate Blanchett, but what an unfortunate neckline. Jennifer Hudson’s boobs speak for themselves – a dress outlining them is a bit much. Nicole Kidman looked like she was wearing a chandelier around her neck. Wow, motherhood agrees with Keri Russell, and the layers of necklaces looked great with that pale strapless bodice. Nice to see Amy Adam’s red hair long and glamorous, after all of those messy updos and the green dress was a good choice for her, but she took evening bags to a whole new level of pointlessness, carrying a gold mesh adornment with nothing in it! Not even a lipstick!
I think Jack Mackenroth, the Project Runway contestant who had to bow out early this season due to illness, was robbed of the $10,000 fan favorite award on this week’s reunion show. And I got the chance to tell him in person this morning, when we met up at Cliche in Minneapolis. Jack – who was actually born in MN – is in town to judge DivaMN’s student design competition (he sees himself as more of a Michael than a Nina, fyi) and he’ll be back March 8 to show his own mini-collection at the big Club Diva AIDS fundraiser at International Market Square (tix still available).
As for the fan fave, Jack agreed that he deserved the sympathy vote, but says it’s out of sight, out of mind on TV and his exit happened too early to maintain the momentum. He’s actually good friends with the winner of the fan favorite prize and show prodigy, Christian. As arrogant as that "fierce" young designer is, Jack says Christian is talented enough to back it up and a lot of fun to be around. On the other hand, Chris, who got to come back when Jack exited, he didn’t have such nice things to say about…
I’ll have a full report of our shopping trip and more PR gossip in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday, March 2.
One of the big questions, as soon as Macy’s announced its plans to close its regional headquarters in Minneapolis, was what happens to events like the holiday show and Glamorama. We got one answer today, albeit one that raises as many questions as it answers. Glamorama will go on this year, Macy’s says. Mark your calendar for 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15 at the Orpheum Theatre. You’ll want to be there – if for no other reason than to see how well they can pull it off without much of a local team left. Read more in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
You won’t have to go to Macy’s for BCBG Max Azria. The popular and accessible fashion line will open its first stand-alone shop at the Galleria in Edina in April. Finally! It will be located near the new Crate & Barrel store, which is opening in March. And stay tuned for additional announcements – there are two more storefronts to be filled in Galleria’s new Crate & Barrel atrium. Look for more details on the BCBG shop – and what it means for the BCBG boutiques in select Twin Cities Macy’s stores – in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Give me a minute to cool off. I just visited Gilly Hicks Sydney, now open at Mall of America (second floor, west side near Nordstrom). In case you’re not familiar with this brand new chain, there’s a squad of sorority girls in camisoles and lounge pants to greet shoppers with "Welcome to Gilly Hicks. We’re the cheeky cousin to Abercrombie & Fitch." Anything Abercrombie left to the imagination – and we all know that wasn’t much – is revealed at its new women’s lingerie shop, which is filled with $13.50 cotton panties – you’ve never seen so many boy shorts – and $29 bras. The store takes its design cues from Hollister – it’s a dimly lit tangle of boudoir-like suites decorated with sketches of mostly naked men. Sexy, for sure. So who is going to shop here? The bras don’t seem to come in DD cups and you’d be hard-pressed to find many women over 30 who would dare to wear those short shorts. Teens are clearly the target – and if their parents didn’t already loathe Abercrombie, they will now. (Don’t tell Mom about the naked video on the Gilly Hicks website or she’ll really blow a gasket.) But of course, this is Abercrombie marketing, and enraging parents with overtly sexual marketing to teens is the tried and true strategy. Whether you’re a mom, a teen or somewhere in between, let me know what you think of this new shop (we’re one of the first four cities in the country to get it) – I’ll be writing about marketing lingerie to teens in my St. Paul Pioneer Press Savvy Shopper column.
Bjorling & Grant owner Ian Grant is about to become a TV star: his pilot, "The Deal Hunter with Ian Grant" was picked up by the Travel Channel for an eight episode series to begin airing next fall. The show will follow Grant on buying trips around the globe. Good news is: his exotic finds will continue to make their way back to Twin Cities shoppers.
He’s already got plenty of fans – the first episode aired during the Travel Channel’s Pilot Week and viewers were invited to give Grant’s show and several others the thumbs up or down.
I cautioned the affable Grant about letting stardom go to his head. "You’ve seen our offices," he said, referring to his less-than-pristine showroom in a low-profile St. Louis Park office park. "So it’s safe to say it’s not going to my head."
We’ll hold him to that. Or demand an extra discount.
Rosedale Center has long been a more pleasant, updated place to shop than, say, Southdale. And it’s finally getting the stores and amenities that will keep shoppers on the east side of town (watch out, Mall of America!). The mall announced Tuesday that J. Crew, Sephora, White House/Black Market and C.J. Banks will open at Rosedale this spring, along with Rocco Altobelli Salon & Day Spa and Flame, a new restaurant from Hemisphere Restaurant Partners. And of course, Lucy is already there – MOA doesn’t have that one!
Kiddywampus, the Edina toy store that has vowed to donate all profits to children’s charities, is moving from its obscure spot behind the Convention Grill to a larger space on Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park, about a block east of Trader Joe’s. Key dates: moving sale, March 3 to 8; first day open in St. Louis Park, March 11; grand opening party, March 15. Watch for more details on the sale and the new store at AliShops.com. You can also check out Kiddywampus online at www.kiddywampus.com.
Clearly, Twin Cities shoppers have strong opinions about Macy’s. So now that you’ve had a few days to process the news that Macy’s North – the division based here in Minneapolis – is being eliminated, what do you think? Can shopping at the department store get any worse? Hard to see how this move is going to help with the kinds of gripes we frequently chat about here – lack of adequate (and informed) staffing, lack of interesting merchandise and so on. So what do you think? The message local execs had been pushing in the face of constant complaints was that they were like us – they lived here, they remembered the glory days of Dayton’s and they were trying to give us what we wanted – despite the corporate culture. With that no longer possible, will you continue to shop there? If not, where will you go instead? I really do want to know – your thoughts could be part of a column I’m working on for the Pioneer Press.
Stepping into the new J.B. Hudson store on opening day Tuesday, I felt like I’d been transported to Chicago’s Michigan Avenue – and that’s saying a lot for Nicollet Mall, which recently weathered the closing of Crate & Barrel and just can’t seem to find the shopping groove you’d expect in a respectable downtown. The jewelry store has a big city, luxurious feel that is desperately lacking in downtown Minneapolis shopping. Let’s hope this is the beginning of more good shopping to come. While I like convenient suburban parking as much as the next shopper, there’s just no substitute for a stately downtown presence. Read more about J.B. Hudson on AliShops.com.