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August 26, 2008

Campaigning for Cindy McCain

Do Republicans carry cheap handbags?
I spoke to the CEO of Lillian's, the designer inspired accessories shop, who is determined to lure Cindy McCain into the new Lillian's accessories shop on Grand Avenue during the Republican National Convention. The store, usually open just four days a month, will be open every day of the convention, giving McCain ample opportunity to shop.
Somehow, I'm thinking she's more likely to pop up at Neiman Marcus.

IKEA: a front for childcare

Stopped by IKEA yesterday in search of...what was I looking for? Oh, a couple of odds and ends like wooden hangers, a stylish dish drying rack (didn't find one) and nursery knick knacks (decided against them). Nothing urgent, but my almost 4 year old was with me, and he's finally tall enough to play in the IKEA childcare room where they have a ball pit he loves to jump in. He plays, I run errands, everyone is happy. Except, I wasn't the only parent with this idea. The wait for the childcare center was 40 minutes when we arrived around 11:30 a.m. on a Monday. And people were actually standing there, just waiting, because they don't take names. Seriously? Is it worth it? And are all these parents really in such need of new furnishings? I'm betting they just want the child-free hour, even if it means nothing more than browsing a mobbed furniture showroom.

Ruehl doesn't rule

Maybe there isn't life after distressed denim and cargo pants.
Finally got over to Mall of America to check out Ruehl No. 925 - Abercrombie & Fitch's attempt to outfit post-grads. Located on the second level of MOA outside Nordstrom, right next door to the other new A&F concept, Gilly Hicks, Ruehl clearly used the same design team, with a brick facade and a maze of dimly lit rooms. Nearly impossible to navigate with a stroller, which should matter, when you're trying to appeal to those of us beyond 21. I was expecting sophisticated new takes on basics for work and play. But the Ruehl wardrobe is designed for the dorm supervisor with a trust fund. Premium denim, lacy camis, cotton tops and sweats. Fewer logos than you'd find at the sister stores, but other than that, it's basically more of the same, plus handbags priced at $300 and higher. Just what we need.
One corridor over, Levi's has opened its first company store in town. Yes, more denim. But much less pretense.
Oh, and more jeans to come: True Religion will open a store at MOA in December. Other brands opening stores in the coming months include Nike, Columbia, Lush, Harley Davidson and Frederick's of Hollywood.

August 19, 2008

Oh, the models

One of my favorite things about the Glamorama post-party, held in the auditorium of the Macy's Minneapolis store and spilling outside onto the parking deck, is the models. They always show up, they always rock the dance floor and the rest of us just stand by and stare. You can't help it - even in their own clothes (often picked up backstage at designer fashion shows), they look fantastic, their moves are sexy and the seem just so unattainably  cool.  And tall.


The real killer is, they're super nice. This show is distinct in that the models get to show some personality on stage - dancing, smiling, riffing on the occasional air guitar.  So it tends to attract models capable of more than a pout. The cast spends a week in town leading up to the show and it's rather like camp - although several models swore to me it was lights out by 8:30 p.m. all week leading up to the show. Backstage, the guys were clowning around, the girls were mellow and everyone was eating actual food...Cheerios, eggs, sausage. It's just not fair.

August 18, 2008

Hanging with Cyndi Lauper


I tried - and tried - to make arrangements to go shopping with Cyndi Lauper when she was in town last weekend for Macy's Glamorama, but I got denied. Time is always tight, I realize. But Lauper's "people" wouldn't allow Macy's to schedule any interviews during her visit. Come on. She's coming to town to PERFORM. She's headlining a CHARITY EVENT. She has a NEW ALBUM. And she won't talk to reporters? Please. I think most of the time, those decisions are made by managers and publicists who want to make themselves seem useful. The star is never even consulted Sure enough, after the show in the VIP suite at the fab after party at Macy's, Lauper agreed to a sit down with me. She's really adorable - tiny and with killer legs. Her eyelashes were so thick, I worried she couldn't see. But she found her way to a chair - her feet were killing in those platform heels. "What are you drinking?" she asked me. Wild and crazy cat that I am, it was straight up water. "That sounds good," she said, and two bottles of FIJI appeared. At first, she started referencing some producers on her new album and the divisions between pop and dance and I worried our discussion was going nowhere fast. I expected to throw her a few fun questions about fashion, the '80s and hair dye, but instead, she wanted to talk politics, motherhood, gay rights, the upcoming election. Read all about it in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday, Aug. 19 and online at Twincities.com. Cyndi was so cool, so down to earth, I think we'd still be hanging out if publicists and security detail hadn't been glaring at me to hurry it up. Me? Cyndi was the chatty one!

2 legit for me


I was surprisingly amused by MC Hammer's performance at Glamorama. He's aged well - looks buff (thanks to daily workouts, vitamins and fish oil), still has the stage presence, the humor and the dance moves. But, um, I'm not expecting an invite to join the entourage. My "reporter" title seemed to put the Hammer on edge when we spoke after the show. Or was it my reference to the VH1 special about his dramatic fall from fame and fortune? Come on, I'm a reporter - I had to ask. "Only reporters like to talk about rise and fall," Hammer retorted. "The kids, you say 'Hammer time,' and they dance." And yes, he's quite proud of Cameron Diaz's "U Can't Touch This" dance scene in "Charlie's Angels." Oh, and take it from Hammer - who performed in loose white linen pants and donned designer denim for the rehearsal and after party: parachute pants are making a comeback.

Glamorama '08

Macy's pulled off another Glamorama on Friday, and it was a blast. The show had an '80s theme and the crowd took it quite literally, showing up in hot pink leggings, some bad prom dresses and yes, I even saw a unitard. (Get a look at what the Glam crowd was wearing in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday, Aug. 18 or online at Twincities.com.) Thankfully, the runway fashions were decidedly more contemporary, with just a few '80s hints, like plaid pants and biker jackets. I loved the flowy, slightly bohemian dresses from Tibi. SportMax had more tailored dresses that looked great as well. I was less keen on Ports 1961, a newer label with a lot of hype, but others around me seemed to like it. Designers featured in the show weren't quite as exclusive as some recent years, but you know, that's not all bad. It's nice to see some fab looks on the runway that are almost attainable. And they did include Donna Karan, Celine and Marc Jacobs. Every year the question is asked: will this be the last Glamorama? And every year, the Minneapolis team works with fewer resources and stretches them farther than ever before. Who knows what next year will bring, but for now, Glamorama remains the most fashionable ticket of the year in this town - and its impact is felt even in the chicest circles of New York.

August 11, 2008

Spot a (sort of) star at the mall

If you happen to be at Mall of America tomorrow between 2 and 7 p.m., keep your eyes peeled. A bunch of sort-of-famous actors will be swinging by to swim with the sharks at Underwater Adventures and perhaps ride a coaster or do a bit of shopping. Here's the list; prizes for anyone who spot them all! (not really.): Adrian R’Mante from "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "Desperate Housewives" kids Andrea Bowen (Julie Mayer) and Julie Mayer (Danielle Van De Kamp), Blake Lewis and Chris Richardson from American Idol’s 6th Season, Denyce Lawton of "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," supermodel Marcus Schenkenberg and Wesley Jonathan of "What I Like About You."
And you thought the people watching would happen during the RNC!!!

August 05, 2008

Way to go, Max's

It's easy to get caught up in the designer chocolates at Max's. But there are other reasons to check out this St. Louis Park shop, which offers an elegant mix of jewelry, art and chocolate. Max's was recently named one of the top retailers of 2008 by Niche magazine. The award recognizes retailers who are committed to fair business practices and to growing the North American craft community. Only 33 galleries and stores throughout the country received the honor. Seems the occasion calls for...well, chocolate!


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