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October 31, 2008

Your designer castoffs wanted

Resale shopping has never been cooler, making this a great season to clear out your closet. A new upscale consignment boutique, June, is opening in LynLake in a few weeks. Right now, the shop is interested in buying your designer clothes and accessories (no Gap and Banana, thank you). Call the store at 612-354-3970 to arrange a drop off. June buys outright - so you don't have to wait to collect. And watch AliShops.com for details on the store opening.

Vote Tote Poll

Votetote I needed a couple of political themed products beyond the basic t-shirts for an article I was writing this week for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. I recalled the fun Freddy & Mac Vote Totes,  $25, available at the Russell + Hazel store at 44th and France on the Edina/Minneapolis border. (Yes, they do have a few non-R+H products.) The Democrat totes are long gone. A few Independents remain. But the Republican totes? No need to hurry - they're in long supply. Maybe Elizabeth Hasselbeck would want them?

October 24, 2008

Well hello, OPM

Opmshow I must admit, I didn't expect the crowd. OPM, the new designer boutique at Excelsior & Grand in St. Louis Park, packed the house for its grand opening fashion show on Friday night. The young and fabulous were out in full force, noshing on pink frosted cupcakes, sipping cocktails and drooling over the endless parade of designer bags. A darling Catherine Malandrino black cocktail dress with white stitched details was my favorite, and actually surprised me by being only $500. There were a couple of other noteworthy party dresses and a great sweater or two, as well as whole bunch of skinny pants and slinky tops. I've been wondering if this store will catch on, situated as it is, at the back of the Excelsior & Grand development, which hasn't turned out to be a hot spot for retailers, and with its luxury price points in this economy. But, if the crowd that attended the show can afford to shop the store, they just might make it. In any event, it was an auspicious start - I applaud OPM for pulling out all the stops and throwing a fab, free party. We can all use more of those.

October 21, 2008

Clinton Kelly at MOA

Clintonkelly_2 I've walked through Mall of America with a lot of celebrities, from Paul Reiser to Paula Deen, but I can't recall anyone - even Geraldo Rivera or Kellie Pickler - attracting as much attention as Clinton Kelly did when we shopped together tonight. Perhaps it's the fact that the "What Not to Wear" star stands a head above most of the crowd (literally - he's 6''4), or perhaps its the fact that reality shows on cable tv get aired over and over and over, but Clinton got recognized everywhere we went. Everywhere, that is, except Villa Pizza where we stopped for a slice. Guess it's not the most obvious place to catch the author of "Freakin' Fabulous," which he was at the mall to promote. (I offered to at least take him to Wolfgang Puck for some halfway decent fast food, but he was much more concerned with the "fast." Didn't even bother with a drink.) Because they see him week after week helping schlumps look better, his fans are not at all shy to approach, and Clinton is most courteous - offering compliments (he swears he never lies - it's his rep at stake) and remaining patient through technical difficulties (why is it always so difficult to get a point-and-click to work at critical moments?) We bumped into a woman who had come in from Chicago just for his book signing (she works for the airline, at least). Clinton seemed more amused than surprised. He knows he's fabulous...that's the whole point. But his genuine desire to help others be better versions of themselves makes him extremely likeable. That, and the occasional snarky comment about someone's bad shoes or hair. I've got lots more...read it in my Sunday "Shopping With..." column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press next week.

October 14, 2008

Galleria expansions

Bumped into Galleria execs doing a bit of pre-shopping at StyledLife on Tuesday. They were gushing over the hats, the bags, the jewels and I must admit, so was I. The store opens Thursday (right across from Tiffany's), and it's a sure hit. Saw many pieces I wish I could afford - a spectacular $500 jeweled flower bracelet Carrie Bradshaw would have forfited her rent check for, some grommeted brown leather bags at the same price point. But I was pleased to see that owner Kevin Quinn is sensitive to the current economy. He's added Hillary Radley (yes, the coat maker) bags - super chic at around $200; some amazing chunky silver necklaces and bracelets for less than $200; a must-have long, drapey sweater for $148 that I want to wear all winter long; and the earring bar, with prices around $40.
It's no wonder the powers that be at Galleria are celebrating with a bit of shopping, in addition to getting StyledLife (they weren't the only mall in town to vie for store number two), four expansions are in the works. Oh Baby! will be a traffic nightmare no more when it moves to a sprawling spot across from BCBG next spring, broadens its assortment for infants and toddlers and adds bedroom accessories. Sister store Scandia Down is also moving to the BCBG cooridor with a larger space to showcase its luxury European bed and bath lines. L'Occitane is also doubling its size, as is InVision optical.

An opening at Southdale?!

Almost fell off my chair when I read the press release: there's a store opening this month at Southdale! Yes, Southdale: mall of a thousand vacancies, mall of lost dreams and forgotten promise. Southdale is getting a Bare Escentuals - creator of bareMinerals, the popular mineral makeup. It's not the first in town of course - MOA already has one. But unless Sdale pulls off a major - major - turn around, it should get used to seconds.

October 07, 2008

Open this week: Garage, Container Store, West Elm

Amid a flurry of local boutique openings (in case you've fallen behind on your AliShops.com reading: Belle Reve, OPM, Pursecution, Eco-tique), there are some new chains to shop as well. Canadian-based Garage is now open at Mall of America (first floor, North side) featuring trendy fashions for teen girls (stop by from 1 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 18 for a fashion show, celeb makeovers, music and prizes). And on France Avenue in Edina where the Centennial Lakes theaters used to stand, West Elm is scheduled to open Thursday, Oct. 9 and the Container Store will follow on Saturday, Oct. 11. Check Sales/Specials for details on the Container Store's opening festivities.

October 06, 2008

Designer sample sales - online

On "Shop Girls" Saturday, DailyCandy editor-at-large Dannielle Kyrillos revealed her favorite online resource for designer deals: Gilt Groupe, where luxury brands are sold for as much as 70 percent off retail. Only catch: you need an invitation to access the website. Well, here's yours. Lucky magazine arranged for all of its fashion followers to join Gilt this month. Under  "Lucky Breaks" on the magazine's website this month, you'll find your invitation. Thanks, Lucky.

October 03, 2008

Taste of Grand: Restyled

Tasteofgrand When I joined the St. Paul Pioneer Press back in - eek - 2000, covering fashion in St. Paul was no easy feat. I remember attending the annual Taste of Grand fashion show and hearing my mom's old line playing in my head: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Back then, there wasn't much "fashion" happening on Grand Avenue - certainly nothing anyone younger than, say, 80, would have been interested in.
My, how times have changed. Thursday's show at Macalester's Kagin Ballroom (what a cool space) was thoroughly modern, from the DJ spinning hot tunes to the cage dancers. From Karma and Quince (what an under appreciated gem) down the avenue to Picky Girl (pictured), there was enough fashion to feel legit - and make me want to shop.
Unfortunately, the event didn't draw a huge crowd. The $30 ticket could have played a roll in that. But even more so, I think Grand Ave. needs to figure out its audience for this event and market it accordingly. (Were men aware there would be models in bra and panty sets from Flirt?) I just don't think enough shoppers realize how hard they're trying or how much fun they could have had at this energetic event.


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