Joynoelle
 

Minneapolis-based fashion designer Joy Teiken delighted the hometown crowd with her spring 2010 Joynoelle ready-to-wear and bridal collections, shown Thursday at Gallery 13 in Minneapolis. Lots of fitted bodices and feminine details went into these utterly lovely, wearable dresses. She called it "Pretty Little Houses" in response to Vogue editor Anna Wintour's comment that Minnesotans look like little houses. Look at these pictures, Ms. Wintour! No really, look. So, a Minnesota fashion show isn't going to make a career like one in New York can do, but it does make a difference in terms of respect, buzz and sheer energy. "It's like a dance performance," Joy said of her fashions. "You just want to get it in front of an audience." She had a lot of local support, from individuals and companies. But for fashion to continue moving in the direction Joy is trying to take it locally, the big money sponsors are going to have to step up…and get us out of our little houses.

Photos courtesy of Sohail Akhavein for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. See more in the paper on Sunday, Oct.11.

I got a sneak peek of the new StyledLife at the Galleria in Edina and was most impressed – not just by the dynamic space, but the thought that went into planning every last detail down to the juxtaposed glass panels to suggest both a masculine and feminine aesthetic. Owner Kevin Quinn has put everything into this gorgeous new store and it shows. Beyond the superhero-sized door and cool, clean ambiance are a lot of insightful decisions sure to make a big difference without the average customer having the faintest idea. Some SL secrets:

  • Two doors. If you miss – or are intimidated by – the enormous main entrance, there's another way in just a few feet away. The Galleria resisted, but Quinn convinced them it would make a difference. So many people look, hesitate, but keep walking, he observed in his old space. "I honestly believe I could have made hundreds more sales if I had a second point of entry." Now, he'll find out.
  • Commerce Free Zone. He could have filled this space with $50,000 worth of designer bags. Instead, Quinn made the conscious decision to devote prime floor space to an inspiration wall. There's a bulletin board of cool designs, a statement about the store, information about charitable giving and the element sure to garner the most attention: a desk where visitors are invited to write down their "fashion fears." Best one each month is worth a $50 store gift card. Brilliant.
  • Branding. Lots of stores sell accessories. Not a lot of independent accessories stores specialize in designer brands. To make the distinction clear, the big names – Valentino, Pucci, Missoni – will be tastefully identified along the wall. Not only to let you know the store has them, but to make shopping easy for the luxury customer who knows what she wants and doesn't want to be bothered.
  • The reality shelf. We love the look, but not all of us can afford it. SL offers some less expensive (still not cheap) options, but you won't find them side to side with the designer goods. When Quinn tried placing designer scarf next to less expensive scarf, the pricey one didn't sell. Even a customer willing and able to drop $350 is going to have second thoughts when confronted with the $100 option. So the "fashion" alternatives will have their own section further back in the store.
  • The $68 necklace. SL didn't have these when it opened three years ago. But times have changed and so has the customer's mindset. The $68 price point is one Quinn finds most shoppers see as accessible. It's an amount you might spend on a whim. Knowing those items are there puts customers at ease about the more expensive goods they are then more likely to buy.
  •  The $38 and $48 sunglasses. You'd expect a store selling $1,200 handbags to offer equally luxurious shades. Nope. There are plenty of places to get those. And Quinn knows his customer is making choices. Splurge on the bag; go budget friendly on the glasses. His have the designer look without the price since they are manufactured in the same factory that makes Prada.
  • The three-way. Mirror, that is. It didn't dawn on Quinn he'd need one of these in a store that doesn't sell clothes, but a woman wants the full view, even when considering a bag, a scarf, a belt. Now she'll have it.
  • StyledGift. This is a new category that Quinn finally has space to introduce, but he's doing it in a very disciplined way. You'll only find gifts that tie back to fashion, like a purse hanger or pretty compact.
  • The front desk. It took a lot of convincing for this one to fly at the notoriously strict Galleria, but Quinn is a firm believer in having staff positioned where they can greet every customer – without getting in their face.
  • StyledLook. At the back of the store is a generous space for the other critical piece of Quinn's business: wardrobe consulting. It's quiet and can be closed off. Here, Quinn and his associates will work one on one with women who want help getting their life and look, well, styled. Take advantage of the free 30-minute session.