From last spring's suffocation theme to Tuesday evening's chic office separates, chunky knits and asymmetrical coats - what a difference a year has made for Minneapolis designer Laura Fulk. She's got financial backing and is focused on polishing her line for retail sale. She showed great promise, expert craftsmanship and a flair for putting on a solid fashion show.
A wave of black lycra is about to sweep through the Shops at West End. Lululemon Athletica opens Friday, April 23. Click here for info on opening festivities (forget the yoga - I'm going for the free eyebrow waxing!). Actually, I was at West End last night and already spotted a crew of women shopping Anthropologie in their cropped exercise pants and zip up hoodies. And that was after visiting the new "inspired activewear" boutique Maha! in Wayzata, where owner Krista Fragola called herself the anti-lulu because she offers yoga pants and activewear from lesser known brands you won't see everywhere. Even anti-lulu means more yoga pants. Is studio-to-street dressing a trend, a way of life or a sign of laziness? Weigh in!
Soma Intimates, Chico's answer to Victoria's Secret, will open its first Twin Cities location Wednesday at Rosedale Center. The store offers bras, shape wear, lounge apparel and more with modest, but not matronly styling. Most bras go up to a 40 or 42, DD or DDD. Stop by April 14 to 28 for this grand opening special: Get a free bra with a $50 purchase.
The "Lu" of plus size fashion e-tailer b&lu has parted ways with her Twin Cities-based sister, moved to Green Bay and launched her own contemporary plus size line: Lucie Lu. The similarities are undeniable: modern, feminine looks driven by style rather than size. Like b&lu, Lucie Lu is extremely price-conscious: Dresses for $39; jeans for $42. Where b&lu is quite whimsical, Lucie appears to be going for a somewhat more refined look, offering blazers with sheen and cable knit cardigans in addition to smart dresses and chic tops. Sibling rivalry looks to be a boon to the 1X to 5X fashionista.
When Fox 9's Alix Kendall asked if I could round up some affordable plus size fashions for a segment Wednesday on "The Buzz," my goal was to avoid Lane Bryant. Don't get me wrong - I think LB has some great, trendy looks for reasonable prices - it's just difficult to imagine a curvy woman that has not already shopped there. Plus size shoppers are compelled to stick to the malls: the department stores and a couple of chains, like Torrid along with strip center staples like Catherine's - seem to be the only options. That's why I was so pleased to be able to pull spring fashions from two Twin Cities-based boutiques: Corset in Hopkins goes up to size 3X or 18 on most items and larger sizes can be ordered. Maple Grove-based Bandlu.com (pictured), an online boutique (I keep working on them to open a store) takes its inspiration from Anthropologie, but in sizes up to 5X and at prices that rarely climb over $60. Some additional local resources for larger sizes: - Nani Nalu at 50th & France for swimsuits that fit D-cups, and larger
- La Bratique at 50th & France and Allure on Grand Avenue in St. Paul for lingerie in sizes the department stores don't offer
- Plums Plus Size in Columbia Heights for consignment clothes (several other consignment shops have a plus size section, including Clothes Mentor with five locations and more to come and Upscale Consignment in St. Louis Park, Woodbury and Inver Grove Heights)
-Andrea's Vintage and Bridal in Minneapolis sells some plus size vintage wedding gowns
-LaRue's in South Minneapolis offers artfully made, natural fiber clothes in larger sizes
Of course the reality is, the broadest selection of plus size options are online. A few with some momentum: Abby Z. on HSN, Ashley Stewart, Roamans and eShakti. Also check out Igigi and Kiyonna.
Can't say I'm surprised: popular Highland Park boutique Stephanie's is closing its 50th & France location. Perfect example of success at one store not guaranteeing another. Stephanie Morrissey has such a great eye for fashion that it seemed like a sure-thing to bring her well-edited assortment across the river. Unfortunately, she didn't follow and her absence was obvious. The Edina store lacked the warmth and personality you feel in St. Paul. The clothes don't sell themselves - even when they're adorable. The Edina inventory will be absorbed by Highland in the coming months (translation: no blowout sale). Currently, the winter 50-70 percent off sale is still on at both locations, and some new merchandise for spring will be brought in at 50th. "We're in no hurry to leave," Morrissey said. But when they do, lines only carried at 50th, including Tibi, Genetic Denim and Shoshanna will be available in St. Paul. And while no other street addresses are planned, Morrissey is turning her attention online. She plans to open an online store and expand her inventory for that venture, while holding on to price-friendly but fashion forward brands like Costa Blanca and Urban Behavior as well as the tried and true Nicole Miller, Susana Monaco and James Jeans. Sounds like a plan.
It's been 12 hours since the Golden Globes and replicas of some red carpet dresses are already in production for eDressme.com. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so the big winners are Sandra Bullock's strapless purple chiffon Bottega Veneta and Kate Hudson's structured white Marchesa. Really? Expect a second wave of replicas after Joan Rivers gives all the dresses the once-over tonight on E's Fashion Police.
The secret is out: Victoria's Secret is introducing a collection of shape wear called Secret. It hits stores Thursday. Shape wear from VS is so obvious and yet so tricky: to admit that a VS girl needs any amount of sucking in puts the cellulite-free fantasy franchise at risk. But leave it to Victoria's: they've found a way to make girdles sexy. There's the "Cheek-a-Boo" mini skirt with thong (trying to imagine walking in that) and the "You're Busted" push-up cami. Sassy. Reassuring to know that even angels can use some smoothing and smushing. Yet somehow I can't help but feel that the high waist shaper brief is going to make me feel that much less like a supermodel.
Never fails: the larges are last to go. Talked to boutique owner Jada Breuer of Karma on St. Paul's Grand Avenue about what's left on the clearance rack and predictably, it has more to do with size than style. "The XL girls are fine with their size and snatch them up, but I always get stuck with the larges, even if they are on the small side." So while the deals pile up on the sale rack, size large girls are either squeezing into mediums or not shopping until they drop a few pounds. Breuer admits she has occasionally resorted to cutting size tags out of garments and usually, they sell. If women could just get over the number, Breuer promises, "you could totally hit the jackpot with markdowns!"