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Ali Shops Blog

Archive for September, 2009

Michael Kors returns (finally) to Project Runway this week and wastes no time beating up on Minnesota's Christopher Straub. TV Guide network has the clip.

Meanwhile, fellow MN designer Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman is moving out after getting ousted last week. He joined Alexis and me on Shop Girls Saturday to talk about life after Project Runway…and bad teeth. Listen to a podcast of the interview. Plus, read about one of his unlikely upcoming projects here.

New store for StyledLife

Monday, September 28th, 2009

StyledLife has announced the opening date for its new store at the Galleria: Friday, Oct. 9. Finally – more space for the jewelry, bags, belts and scarves to really shine, and room for new categories, like leggings. Can't wait to see it!

Patina shops local

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Interviewing Sarah Nassif of Rectangle apparel led to an interesting scoop this week: Patina plans to open a new concept store called Shoppe Local a couple doors down from its store at 50th and Bryant in South Minneapolis. The new store will feature clothing, jewelry, home decor, gifts and more from local designers (attention, MN designers: they're still looking for product, so get your samples over there, pronto!). Yes, Patina knows other retailers in the Twin Cities (Design Collective; Gallery 360; i like you;) already specialize in local design (bet they're not so thrilled about this development, either), but Patina hopes to bring the quality work happening here – and there is a lot of it -  to a broader audience. Why separate local? For one, it's trendy – more than ever, consumers want to support the home base and buy items that have a story. Adds store manager and buyer Ann Seehof, "Patina has grown so much and has so much merchandise, we can't feature everything we want." The new store will have its own aesthetic: more modern and sparse than Patina stores. It is expected to open by mid-October. will keep you posted!

Get ready for designer deals in Maple Grove

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Designer deals can come from the unlikeliest of places: like Fargo, N.D. Their prized shop MODE is opening its second outlet on Main Street in Maple Grove on Oct. 14. The store sells brand new designer overstock at 50 percent off - think premium denim, luxury handbags and trendy casual apparel for women as well as men, children and some maternity. I spoke to the enthusiastic owner and it sounds like she's prepared to open with a bang. Watch for grand opening details on

Christopher Straub, the salesman

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


"Project Runway" designer Christopher Straub was a popular guy at the MNFashion Week Charmed Life event tonight at International Market Square. I'm guessing he'd like people to be as interested in his sassy handbags as they are in his sudden celebrity. He was at the event to sell, but graciously chatted with fashionistas and posed for pics. He's been very loyal to the local fashion community, even as his star continues to rise, but something bigger is brewing. Straub said he'll have an announcement soon about an accessories deal with a "major retailer." Stay tuned!

Charmed Life

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


Another  MNFashion Week event, another cool crowd peppered with designers, stylists, models and generally fashionable people like MPLSART director Emma Berg (pictured) in a Max Lohrbach creation from Design Collective. The event was Charmed Life at International Market Square, a marketplace featuring boutiques including Il Vostro, Omorphia, Blacklist Vintage, and Second Debut. Elsworth was there representing men's fashion (if only I could get my husband to dress like Elsworth's Jordan Filas – pictured).


La Bratique's bras were a hot seller – guess when a girl finds the right bra, it doesn't matter if she's in a crowd. It was especially fun to see the many designers and product developers based here in the Twin Cities, including luxe bags from Post Dash and the edgy but affordable bags of adrienne. Lots of great things brewing in town!

Coco & Lolly

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


Since there seems to be no end to our appetite for accessories, women's chain New York & Company wanted in on the action. They've rolled out a new concept, Coco & Lolly, at five malls nationwide including Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka. The intention is to bridge the gap between fast fashion cheapies and designer merchandise. My question: is there really a gap, with accessories so readily available and clothing stores beefing up their selection as well? It comes down to the goods, and the convenience: Coco & Lolly offers classic and trend accessories organized around five "lifestyle zones" (I bet that took a lot of meetings to come up with): workday, date night, weekend, yoga lounge and commuter. Prices are in the $30 to $100 range. Nothing I needed to buy thisminute, but lots of items, like clutch bags, belts and scarves I certainly would wear. The build your own necklace, with charms and chains to choose from struck me as Claire's for grown-ups. The little giftables are a nice touch – boutique-y items you wouldn't expect to find at the mall.

Thymes Every year around this time, the inquiries start to come in: "Do you know when the Thymes Warehouse Sale is happening?" Indeed I do. Happy to be the first to announce the sale that shoppers anticipate as if it were Christmas (sort of is, with prices so low) is scheduled for October 8-10 at a new location: 1546 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis. Major discounts on lotion, washes, gift sets, home fragrance, candles, travel kits and much more from the Minneapolis-based bath and body company. Want a reminder the week of the sale? Sign up for the AliShops weekly update and you'll never miss a great sale, shopping event or store opening again!

Low-down on the newspaper dress challenge

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Thank you, Project Runway, for showing us last night that there is a future for newapapers…in fashion. I asked Minnesota contender Christopher Straub what became of his spectacular feathered gown made entirely of newspaper (thinking it would be perfect for the next Pioneer Press ball…um, if we had such a thing). “The network owns it,” he said. Well, at least he got to hang with guest judge Eva Longoria Parker…right? That would be a no. The designers didn’t actually get to meet her.

Floating heels hit the suburbs

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Floatingheel You've seen them in magazines and probably figured the preposterous
heel-less heel would never make it off the pages. But StyledLife associate Allison Werthmann-Radnich rocked Fendi's floating heels for a
fashion seminar at the Galleria yesterday…and didn't stumble even
once. Floatingheel2 She paid just $80 for them at designer resale boutique June and rounded out the look with a $10 dress from The Clearance Rack at 35th and Nicollet in Minneapolis layered over long and short sleeve tops and French Connection Liquid Leather pants from Macy's. You've got to admire the effort – and the fact that she stood on her tiptoes in those shoes all day long. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved