Black Hearts Ball 2016 - Fashion Week Minnesota Spring 2016

Held outside of it’s usual Valentine’s Day weekend spot and instead during Fashion Week Minnesota Spring 2016, the third annual Black Hearts Ball occurred on April 15, 2016 at Muse Event Center in Minneapolis. 

The idea of the Black Hearts Ball is a formal black and white party centered around a runway fashion show set to opera music.  

Black Hearts Ball masterminds Thom Navarro and Tim Navarro.

Black Hearts Ball masterminds Thom Navarro and Tim Navarro.

I have attended the Black Hearts Ball in the past, but was less than impressed with the first iteration.  There were a lot of growing pains for the organizers and I definitely was empathetic, but unfortunately it turned me off to the following year’s event; despite great experiences at other events by the same group, like ICONS.  

After getting to know some of the organizers and designers, and wanting to experience as much of the second FWMN as possible, I decided to go ahead and book tickets to the third Black Hearts Ball.  

The event was put together mainly by Tim Navarro and Thom Navarro and was hosted by makeup artist Tressie Schnieder.  Seven designers sent mini collections (three looks each) down the runway.  The looks and styling at Black Hearts Ball were more avant-garde than at other shows, truly stepping into the art part of fashion.  At least one designer showed at the Ball and Envision (Lauren Kacher from Form Over Function) and she debuted different looks at each show.  


Mixing floral prints with leather harnesses hadn’t crossed my mind until seeing the collection from kozol. 


Designer and artist Lucie Biros was one of the first fashion designers in Minnesota I was exposed to and I’ve loved watching her work develop.  Her line was formerly known as Punkktual and has shown at Voltage: Fashion Amplified in 2013 as well as a couple of RAW Artists Minneapolis showcase events.  She recently relaunched her brand as OtherRealm. 

Sarah Furnae 

Sarah has shown at Envision in the past - I remember beaded and iridescent details so what she showed at Black Hearts Ball seemed about right. 


Lux Et Voluptas 

I loved the rose motif and the flow of different fabrics together. 


Yessenya’s looks were distinct in the use of white in contrast with bright colors like red, light blue, and yellow.  I am still very into the waist detail on the red pants with the bow back of the white top.

Form Over Function 

I fell in love with Form Over Function the first time I saw the line at RAW: Exposure.  The androgyny and rock n roll inspired pieces combined with the contrasts in materials really attract me, and the performance aspect to the line’s runway segment was also interesting.

Danielle Everine 

I’ve seen some of Danielle Everine’s pieces at other shows but especially loved the hair and makeup styling here.  And those (hand painted?) pants. 

Right after booking tickets, I asked Thom if “Black and White Ball” meant literally black and white, or just formal and black tie.  After confirming I needed a black and/or white outfit, I decided that instead of wearing the same old little black and white dress, I opted to rent one from Rent The Runway*.  I rented two dresses, opting to wear the more flattering and festive.  

The dresses: “Camille” by Nha Khanh and “Spiderweb Gown” by ML Monique Lhuillier.

The winner: 

Photo by Chloe Krenz Photography.  Vegan leather clutch by  Stella Grey , bracelet from TJ Maxx.

Photo by Chloe Krenz Photography.  Vegan leather clutch by Stella Grey, bracelet from TJ Maxx.

Kate Spade  phone case , YSL pumps 

Kate Spade phone case, YSL pumps 

Spike earrings by Goldfine, embellished  industrial barbell  by Metal Mafia from Body Art Forms, neon lipgloss by expressions. 

Spike earrings by Goldfine, embellished industrial barbell by Metal Mafia from Body Art Forms, neon lipgloss by expressions. 

I loved that the “spiderweb” lace hem complemented the Swarovski Crystal Patina spike earrings I bought from Goldfine:

After this Black Hearts Ball experience, I’m hoping to make it to the next one! 


*If you sign up via my invite link, you will get $30 off your first RTR rental and I will get $30 off my next one.  

Fashion Week Minnesota Spring 2016 Recap

Spring 2016 marked the second official Fashion Week Minnesota.  There seemed to be even more people and more events than before and I hope the energy throughout the fashion community stays this strong moving forward. 

Samantha Rei - id.ego Homecoming & Elixery Lipstick Release 

Sketches from Samantha Rei's id.ego collection. 

Sketches from Samantha Rei's id.ego collection. 

While not part of the “official” FWMN lineup, Samantha Rei’s Elixery lipstick collaboration launch and id.ego collection homecoming (after walking the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week) event was a great way to get in the spirit.  The collection was paired with John Fluevog Shoes and three custom created lipstick shades from Minnesota based cosmetic line Elixery.  

The three Elixery + Samantha Rei lipsticks 

The three Elixery + Samantha Rei lipsticks 

I tried on all three lipsticks and ended up buying one - the deep burgundy shade "Quantum."

Look from Samantha Rei.

Look from Samantha Rei.

The event showcased the collection at Samantha Rei’s North Loop space and featured pop ups from Fluevog and Elixery, and also newly launched Minneapolis goth-y jewelry line Anhedonie.  

Fashion Week MN - Kickoff Party 

The “official” Fashion Week opener was the kickoff party at Cliche.  I’ve seen Cliche’s offerings at Envision and passed by the store on the bus, but have never actually stopped in until the event.  The DJ was setting the tone for a week of local fashion by dropping a lot of songs by local musicians, which I loved.  


The current longest running fashion event in the Twin Cities, Spring 2016 marked the 19th season of Envision.  There were fewer designers showing than in past seasons, but the audience was bigger than ever.  Still a really big fan of everything Lauren of Form Over Function is doing, and loved/hated finding out that a lot of the pieces Kjurek showed had already sold when I inquired about them a few days later.  

Challenger Collection - Kandler 

Some looks from Kandler's Challenger inspired collection.

Some looks from Kandler's Challenger inspired collection.

Luci Kandler held an informal open house displaying her latest collection not only on mannequins and hangers, but also on live models.  In addition to the clothes, the prints that she created by hand were displayed - on canvases and as backdrops.  

At first, I was a little taken aback by the inspiration of the collection being the Challenger explosion, but her further exploration (as documented in CityPages) into human fragility made it somehow less taboo.  There was a lot of thought put into the collection, but it didn’t seem over designed.  

The pinks and blues made it fun for spring, combined with the grey and black make it easy for anyone to wear.  Mostly, I loved all the different uses of texture - from the tinsel-y top, to the mesh, to the embossed leather.  


The second installment of The Scout Guide + The W Hotel’s #Minnstafashion was a lot bigger than the first one.  I got there a bit late and missed some of the highlights, but there were pop up shops from Flirt Lingerie, Martin Patrick 3, and more.  

I moved to Minnesota without knowing anyone here really and met a lot of the people I like to spend time with through social media, so a night out at a social media themed fashion event was a great way to spend an evening.  

Photo by E3 Photography. 

Photo by E3 Photography. 

If you know my sense of style, you know that sometimes I love an outfit that makes my undergarments part of my outfit.  This DVF wrap dress had a really deep V in front, so I layered a Uye Surana cami over my bra and under the dress for coverage.   

Black Hearts Ball 

The third annual formal black-and-white affair headed by Tim and Thom Navarro usually takes place on or around Valentine’s Day, but this year it took place near the end of Fashion Week Minnesota.  

Black Hearts Ball is basically a dressy party centered around a runway show set to classical and opera music, and it’s amazing.  

I rented a ML Monique Lhuillier dress from Rent The Runway for the event and loved both the dress and the experience!

The Shoot: Part II 

A sequel to the Fall 2015 event, The Shoot aimed to show the behind the scenes magic behind a fashion photo shoot.  There was coffee and a pop up shop with clothes from ACG and Workerby, lipstick from Elixery, jewelry from Neal Jewelry, and headwear from Ruby3.  Spring weather was in full effect which meant a couple of food trucks even popped up outside.  

The Shop provided a way to shop local designers while at The Shoot event.

The Shop provided a way to shop local designers while at The Shoot event.

I don't really wear hats, other than the occasional beanie in winter, but I like this one by Ruby 3. 

I don't really wear hats, other than the occasional beanie in winter, but I like this one by Ruby 3. 

Projectors displayed the photos as they were being taken.  All of the work that goes into a lookbook shoot tends to be appreciated in the finished product, but not necessarily noticed - all of the styling and editing takes time and it was fun to take an afternoon to get a glimpse of the action.  

I feel like I never caught up on rest after FWMN, but that’s okay because I’m happy to ride the energy of all the creativity and inspiration the designers, producers, and everyone in between have sparked.  

Supporting Minnesota fashion doesn’t end when fashion week does. There are events with local makers, artists, designers, and boutiques year round!  Some upcoming highlights include SAZONmoda’s debut fashion show on May 5, Ruby3 and Allegra Lockstadt’s Kentucky Derby themed party + pop up shop on May 7, various pop-up shops and open houses (including Tessa Louise and Hazel & Rose) during Art-A-Whirl on May 20-21, and FGI Minnesota's "Runway to Ready to Wear" presentation on May 24. 

Harnessing the Invisible Force at Fusion + Fashion

The 10th annual Fusion + Fashion design competition, hosted by the Northland Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), was held on November 13, 2015 at Muse Event Center in Minneapolis.  

As the name implies, the competition/fundraiser fuses fashion and interior design by encouraging teams to create garments using construction materials.  It’s like a Project Runway unconventional material challenge, but with more time.  

I’ve mentioned Fusion in previous blog posts about fashion events in Minneapolis, but hadn’t had a chance to attend let alone compete until this past year.  It was a really fun way to combine my career in building design with my interest in fashion.  

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Minnesota chapter sent an email looking for team participants and I quickly responded.  For me, one of the major draws to a career in building design was investigating green building design practices in order to see past buzzwords and greenwashing to get to facts and what makes for good design.

Fitting to the venue, this year’s Fusion theme was “Find Your Muse”.  I brought my interest in fashion to the table and started thinking of picking a designer like McQueen (which another team ended up doing) or a location like London, but that made me think of Stella McCartney which brought me to eco fashion to tie it back in to USGBC, then I thought to bring it back to local and thought of Yevette Willaert

The rest of the team was more focused on the message of USGBC and started brainstorming ways to present a garment that promotes the USGBC mission: "to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.” 

Our main idea focused on renewable energy - specifically wind energy.  We went through several iterations of this theme, from a reversible jacket/cape with functioning solar panels, to a motorized wind turbine, and I think something with grass.  

As a team, we decided to meet weekly.  There were five of us at first - four girls who were either interior designers or had a background in interior design, and myself.  A couple weeks in, I brought on two more team members - fashion students at the Arts Institutes International of Minnesota.  I had met  one of them, Cobilee, while volunteering at Tim and Thom Navarro’s LARK fashion show.  She brought her roommate/best friend Anyse.  Cobilee is also in support of a shift to eco/ethical fashion, which fit with the USGBC team.  

The Team:

  • Anyse Mellott - The Art Institutes International

  • Christine Hoene - Design Innovations

  • Cobilee West - The Art Institutes International

  • Elizabeth Mauban - LHB, Inc.

  • Jennifer Brundell - Kraus-Anderson

  • Lynn Skowronski - Senior Lifestyle Design

  • Marlene Hernick - MOH Design, LLC 

The team, minus Lynn and Cobilee.  Photo from Marlene's Facebook. 

The team, minus Lynn and Cobilee.  Photo from Marlene's Facebook. 


Together, we pared down the ideas from previous meetings to be a simple dress with flowy chiffon surrounded by a structure resembling a vertical wind turbine.

Concept sketch.

Concept sketch.

From there we decided to run with the idea of “harnessing the invisible force" as our muse.  Lynn found this really cool wind study that helped shape our design and general concept statement: 

We also wanted to somehow incorporate the glass of a LEED certification plaque, and planned to do so with a jacket or cape made from leftover glass bead wallpaper Christine had from a home improvement project.  

Other building materials we obtained were recycled plastic pellets and yarn (donated by Tandus), and recycled plastic wall covering (Bolyu), scrap metal (and the labor to cut the pieces down were donated by Metropolitan Mechanical Contractors, Inc), and hinges/other items purchased from a hardware store.  Chiffon and other fabrics were purchased as well.   Additional donations from LHB were used for tickets to the event - team registration allows for a certain number of models/team representatives, additional attendees must be ticketed. 

Yarn made of recycled plastic, which eventually gets made into wall covering.

Yarn made of recycled plastic, which eventually gets made into wall covering.

Cobilee and Anyse measured out patterns for the scrap metal and the pieces were cut by Jennifer’s contact for a project.  Having dedicated people with experience in garment production tasked with making the dress proved really helpful - we didn’t have too many hands trying to do one thing or too too much pressure on one person, as I was told was something that had happened on past/other teams.  

Cobilee making modifications to the metal pattern.

Cobilee making modifications to the metal pattern.

Assembling the turbine inspired structure.

Assembling the turbine inspired structure.

The wind turbine structure was a challenge.  We wanted a metal that was lightweight enough to walk with and also to bend, but that flexibility meant giving up the ability to be rigid enough to support itself. Figuring out a structural support system (where the support points would be, would it be held with wire or with some type of rebar, how many points/pieces, would they be taped, glued, or screwed in, etc) and finally putting it together were definitely the more tense moments of construction.  

We used strips of scrap metal that were twisted and rotated to form the turbine shape.  The strips were fastened to a scrap metal belt that we lined with the recycled carpet wall covering, to make sure it didn’t scratch or otherwise injure Christine.  

Structure coming together.

Structure coming together.

It was 10pm the night before the competition and our structure still wasn’t quite put together, but I hoped that the girls available the next day for finishing touches could make it work after some rest and with fresh eyes.  (They did, with some help from an "invisible force" on a project site.  Hint: in addition to some sturdier support sticks, it also involved good ol’ duct tape.)    

The original idea of a cape/jacket made with the wallpaper didn’t quite work out, but backstage, some accessories were made with the material instead.  

Glass bead wallpaper "bracelets"

Glass bead wallpaper "bracelets"

Runway music was chosen by each team and submit with other project requirements (like material and sponsor list, photos/video, inspiration, and concept statement) a few weeks before the event.  We chose a song based on our wind theme - Scorpion’s “Rock You Like a Hurricane”.  

Hair and makeup followed the wind theme and 80's vibe as well - we went with big dramatic hair and a monochromatic look, except for one accent color.  Recycled plastic pellets were used on her face and the yarn was “tangled” in her hair.  Eyeshadow and nail polish in a coordinating color were also used.

Big hair, don't care. 

Big hair, don't care. 

I loved the creativity on the runway!  Our design was pretty cool, but there were some other absolutely amazing pieces on the runway that night.  Minnesota creatives exist outside of the typical art/fashion/music realms, and into architecture and interior design so this was a great way to tie it all together.  

Show finale

Show finale

After the runway show, I texted and social media-ed our vote code, but we did not win “People's Choice”.  We did however win “Most Unique Building Material” for our use of scrap metal.  

Christine accepting the award sash for "Most Unique Building Material". 

Christine accepting the award sash for "Most Unique Building Material". 

IIDA Northland Fusion + Fashion Winners 2015: 

Overall, participating in the Fusion + Fashion competition was a fun experience I am happy to have been a part of.  I will definitely have to evaluate my workload as the season draws nearer to decide if I will do it again - I would have liked to dedicate more time last year.  If I do decide to participate again, I promise to blog about it sooner than five months after the fact 😜

Save the date for the 11th annual event - it will be held Friday, October 28th, 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Twin Cities Fashion Events - Spring 2015

There may no longer be an official Twin Cities Fashion Week, but there is still a lot of talent and energy in the Minneapolis-St. Paul fashion community.  

I’m finally making my move to Minneapolis this weekend and it just so happens that a string of exciting local fashion events kick off right when I get the keys to my new digs. 


Thursday, April 23 

House of Gina Marie + Ruby3 Trunk Show 
Sip on champagne and peruse a Kentucky Derby inspired collection featuring hats and fascinators with coordinating Allegra Lockstadt prints by Ruby3 will be available at June Resale, as well as Gina Marie sample sale pieces and limited edition items from the latest collection. 

More information: 


Friday, April 24

Fashion Revolution Day 
This global initiative to bring the issue of supply chain transparency and ethical sourcing to the forefront of the fashion industry really reminded me of why I started this blog in the first place.  Started after the Rana Plaza factory complex collapse in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013, Fashion Revolution Day challenges consumers to think more about how their garments come to be.  This year, they challenge us to ask “Who made my clothes?”.  The free Minneapolis event will be at the Minnesota Textile Center and includes a runway show featuring participants in recycled/repurposed/handmade/thrifted/fair trade/eco/organic/ethically made clothing, pop up shops from local vendors, and screening of Cotton Road - a documentary which follows cotton from farms in South Carolina to factories overseas.

More information on the Minneapolis event:   
Facebook Event:  

More information on the Fashion Revolution (and to find events in other cities):  


Saturday, April 25 

North Loop Spring Crawl

Named one of Thrillist’s “Coolest Neighborhoods in America”, the North Loop/Warehouse District hosts a bi-annual “Crawl” through it’s various boutiques, studios, and businesses.  Collect stamps on a passport that can be obtained at any of the participating retailers for a chance to win a $500 grand prize gift basket while exploring the neighborhood.  Stores such as Roe Wolfe, Martinpatrick3, Statement, and D.Nolo are part of the crawl, all offering their own discounts, specials, and giveaways.  I’m especially excited about this since the North Loop is not only home to awesome boutiques, but also the awesome place I’ll be working.

More information:


Tessa Louise Art Opening
One of my favorite Twin Cities fashion designers, Tessa Druley of Tessa Louise, will be showcasing sketches at Showroom inspired by fashion - her own designs and the ones that excite her.  

More information: 
Facebook Event: 


Sunday, April 26 

Presented by Sarah Edwards of I Am Kindness, the Sunday brunch-time event celebrates style at every age at the Varsity Theater.  Food, giveaways, hair and makeup, local pop-up shops, live music, dancing, a photo booth, a fashion show, and a screening of “Advanced Style” are all part of the fun.  
P.S. The event falls on Sarah’s birthday!

More information:
Facebook Event: 


Wednesday, April 29

RAW Artists Minneapolis Presents: EXPOSURE 

EXPOSURE brings art, fashion, music, film, photography, hair & makeup, and performance art together at the Pourhouse.  Designers include Punkktual (who I remember from Voltage 2013), unisex (and totally badass looking) Form over Function, and Duluth-based, steampunk inspired designer Patricia of Chemistry Fashions, working with No One Fashion.  

More information: 
Facebook Event:  


Thursday, April 30

Hardt Jewelry Showroom Opening
Drinks, apps, prizes, and new pieces await at the grand opening of Hardt Jewelry’s showroom at the Northwind Lofts.  Even more importantly, a portion of the proceeds of all sales from the night will go to Reclaim - an organization specializing in mental health care for LGBTQ youth.  

More information:
Facebook Event: 


Saturday, May 2


The biggest bi-annual fashion event in the Twin Cities returns to Orchestra Hall for Spring 2015. A runway show featuring looks from local boutiques and designers is presented in the dramatic glass atrium.  Part of each ticket sale and all of the proceeds from the silent auction during the event benefit Public Functionary.  Live entertainment by Monsieur Adi and an after party at Coup d’Etat are included with ticket purchase.  Check out my recaps of Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Fall 2014 and be sure not to miss Spring 2015! 

More information:
Facebook Event: 


Sunday, May 3 

RISE: Advocacy Through Design Fashion Show 
University of Minnesota's FAB (Fashion and Business student organization) hosts an annual fashion show/scholarship competition/fundraiser.  Looks from local designers such as Tim+Thom and a student designer scholarship competition will be presented. Additionally, delicious doughnut pop-up by sssdude-nutz bakery will be available at the event.  Proceeds from the event benefit Dress For Success-Twin Cities, the local branch of the global organization that “promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help them thrive in work and life." 

More information:  
Facebook Event:  


This list is not comprehensive (so much talent and energy in the MSP area!) and may be updated as I find out more information. 

There are also some events of interest that fall out of this range but are worth mentioning, such as the Eye Candy | A Design Showcase of student-designed garments made of nontraditional material at Weisman Art Museum on April 22, ACG Designs Trunk Show on May 7, Design on a Dime youth fundraiser/fashion show in St. Paul on May 7, Minnesota History Center’s Inspiring Beauty: Fashion Show and Exhibit Preview for the “50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” exhibit on May 21, and the 2nd Annual Minnesota Fashion Awards/Rumble on the Runway later this summer on August 21.