It’s one thing to write about fashion, quite another to have a knack for mixing it all up. I was wowed by the ensembles stylist Allison Werthmann-Radnich put together at today’s fall fashion shoot for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She is seriously passionate about fashion (don’t mess with her vision for Balengiaga paired with not one but two pair of vintage gloves), but understands what real women want, and how to make them look their very best. Watch as she finds a creative use for leg warmers that won’t have you looking like you’re headed to a Flashdance reunion party. See the fall fashion section in the newspaper on Sept. 26.
Tim Gunn was waiting for me in the green room at the Mall of America when I arrived this evening, a half hour before he was scheduled to appear in the MOA Rotunda where more than 200 fashion followers waited to meet him. I reminded him we’d had a lovely and lengthy phone conversation before his last visit to the Twin Cities and he immediately grabbed my hand and exclaimed “I remember!” Now, I’m not sure it was the most polite response but I couldn’t help it: “Yeah, right,” I chided. “No, I do,” he insisted. “Minneapolis is near and dear to my heart. My agent is from here and I think it’s just a wonderful city.” Charmed, of course. It’s impossible to emphasize enough how utterly likable Tim Gunn truly is. Talking to him is like visiting with your favorite college professor, which is exactly what he is. He speaks thoughtfully, he listens intently and he is incredibly humble – seeming almost embarrassed when I reminded him, “You’re Tim Gunn!” And because of that, he did not get to shop the MOA on this his very first visit. But he did get a K-9 division escort to the stage. Read my interview with Gunn – including the repercussions of his dishy new book “Gunn’s Golden Rules,” in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday, Sept. 19.
I've orchestrated fashion shoots at restaurants and parks, museums and zoos, but today's spring fashion shoot for the St. Paul Pioneer Press at the new Target Field has to be the coolest. Not necessarily the easiest, logistically, as we moved models and lights and cameras and the ensuing entourage from the
outfield to the dugouts and back again, but standing on the edge of that perfectly manicured grass, looking out at the stands and the skyline was awesome. Some favorite moments of the day: Being told to set up in the concession staging area, a closet without table or chairs, and ushering the entire crew – photographer, videographer, three hair and makeup people, stylist, assistant, two models, one model's dad, racks of clothing and a steamer – inside, only to find a team of concession workers in training who seemed quite confused by our unlikely presence; Wiping down a seat in the upper decks so a model could pose on it in a DVF dress; models barefoot in the dirt in front of the dugouts (shouldda been there, Mauer), eating cracker jacks by the first baseline, the president of the twins telling photographer Chris Polydoroff our models could sit on top of the dugout, but had better not stand on it; fireworks going off before one shot and dramatic orchestral music coming on during another. Salon owner Jon Charles kept gushing "Amazing, amazing," as we took in views from various sections and primped models in the sun drenched upper decks . "Do you like baseball?" I asked him. He responded, without hesitation, "Not a bit!" Today might have changed that for a few fashionistas. Now if only we could get the Twins to model…
Moneysavingmom.com, Couponmoms.com, Thriftymama.com, Mamabargains.com, Rentalcarmomma.com (my personal fave). As I was compiling a list of online bargain resources favored by the St. Paul Pioneer Press Store Troopers I was struck by how many are run by moms or are mom-oriented. Yes, I know: moms make most of the household buying decisions. Moms are out there in the trenches at Target every day. But to surf the online bargain world, you'd think moms were the only ones clipping coupons. Of course that's not true – every year when searching for the best bargain hunters to join the newspaper's panel I meet teenagers, single men, retirees and childless career folks who are passionate about pinching pennies. But there are always a lot of moms. At our recent tryouts, one of them summed it up for me in a way that made the dozens upon dozens of "mommy" coupon resources make sense: "I left my job to stay home with our kids," she said. "Saving my family money makes it possible for me to do this job."
Bring on the diaper discounts.
Thanks to everyone who came out to Mall of America Saturday for the Store Trooper Finals - especially the 28 amazing shoppers themselves. Narrowing the field to 16 is proving as excruciating as, well, paying full price. You can help by casting a vote here. Don't delay – the next panel of Store Troopers, who will spend the year testing products, services and offering their bargain hunting tips, will be revealed in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday, June 7.
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?
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.
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!
Tip of the day: don’t go lingerie shopping with a Victoria’s Secret angel when you’re seven months pregnant. Doesn’t do a lot to boost one’s self-image. I met up with model Selita Ebanks for a little lingerie talk before her appearance at the Mall of America Victoria’s Secret store earlier this week. She’s been an "angel" – sort of like a sorority, with less clothing, the usual scrutiny and more perks – for three years. Honestly, I hadn’t heard her name before the publicists started calling me about her appearance. But apparently, others know her, because two hours before she was scheduled to start signing autographs, fans – and not just the drooling male variety – were lining up outside the store. Selita was charming – even in her total adoration of Victoria Secret and all of its products. I’m inclined to believe her – all she has to do is point at something in the store and it’s hers. Read all about it in my "Shopping with…" column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press next Sunday, Jan. 27.
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