This Saturday, preeminent fashion showcase, Envision, celebrates 10 years of driving Minnesota style with high fashion standards. Time and time again, this top Twin Cities style event has struck a chord in the creative community with its electrifying energy and quality lineup of local talent. In its 20 seasons, Envision accounts for representing 75 local designers and over 100 models in training while inspiring thousands of attendees and countless volunteer hours. In 2006, with a $400 budget to produce a small fashion show as a part of a big party produced by V2, Ignite Models founder Allison Vaillancourt created a fashion event that stole the show, and began the legacy that is now Envision
The first Envision wasn’t the same glamorous affair that the event consistently delivers today, but it was groundbreaking for its time. Incorporating elements from recent experience at Barcelona’s Fashion Week, the production company and soon to be successful modeling agency, Ignite, pulled together a hair and makeup team, curated a stirring soundtrack, and built a raised runway on the 50th floor of the IDS Center. A decade later, Envision’s designers are chosen through a highly competitive selection process, but in 2006, Ignite staff went door to door to different boutiques throughout Uptown and downtown Minneapolis in hopes of recruiting participants for the show. Some of these original designers and boutiques have grown hand in hand with Ignite Models and the Envision event, with successful local names such as Cliché and Kindred Folk participating in every season throughout the years. Envision’s first installment was at maximum capacity with the sold out show drawing 350 attendees. As the event steadily grew throughout the years, it has expanded and upgraded to various venues throughout the city. The IDS Center and Solera were the first Envision locations, and the gorgeous Graves ballroom, outfitted for the evening with a runway spanning over 60 ft, served as an elegant backdrop for the ever-evolving fashion showcase for years.
Now, the 10th anniversary season is expected to draw an unprecedented crowd of 1000 to Envision’s current home at Orchestra Hall. Featuring a white marble interior and floor to ceiling windows that look upon downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall serves as both the perfect mix of glam and urban and as a pristine canvas within which designers can present their innovative collections completely free of environmental interference. To outsiders, the Envision producers may seem like perfectionists as they work to seamlessly blend the show’s elements of fashion, music, and art. Not every aspect of the highly edited event has made the cut for future seasons though, with some notable and novel aspects throughout the years including a hair competition, live runway entertainment, and various sponsor booths.
As for what’s in store for Envision’s future, the producers at Ignite Models and V2 alongside collaborators at Public Functionary and throughout the city hope to keep pushing the boundaries of and fostering growth within the local fashion scene and to keep the experience incredible and inclusive for all. Although Envision’s founders hold a firm belief that a quality show doesn’t require scantily clad bikini models and shirtless men, surely no one will forget the hand painted speedo in Cory Linsmeyer’s SS16 Palomino Desert collection. Envision’s 20 seasons have created rich memories in the landscape of Minnesota fashion while constantly setting and surpassing local industry standards.
Envision’s 10th anniversary is a milestone of success in the Twin Cities style and art communities. Don’t miss the once in a lifetime experience of this special Envision season as it tops off the height of MN Fashion Week. The glamour of the evening will continue into the night for the prestigious show’s afterparty at The Exchange in downtown Minneapolis. Celebrating 20 seasons, 15,000 tickets, and a whole lot of hard work, the post-Envision dance party is set to make a comeback like it’s 2006.
By Allison Shilinski