Monthly Archives: October 2013

In Review: Time/Travel

October 28, 2013

l’étoile Magazine
by Beth Hammarlund

Although Minneapolis and St. Paul are referred to as the Twin Cities, when it comes to fashion, almost all fashion-related events are held in Minneapolis. And it’s a shame really. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but I’m certainly starting to appreciate St. Paul more and more for its beauty and charm. So it was exciting and refreshing to see one of the best fashion shows I’ve ever seen in the Twin Cities, held in downtown St. Paul in one of the gorgeous historical buildings for which the city is known. Held at the recently renovated Union Depot, “Time/Travel” featured three-piece capsule collections from eight local designers custom-designed for the show. As a train whistle blew, Vision models emerged in clouds of smoke from behind screens projected with images of trains arriving. It was a charming, but not overly cute nod to the show’s theme and location.

The first looks to go down the runway were from boutiques OPM and Cliché, and the selections were a bit reminiscent of Parisian style meshed with Minnesota’s balance of playfulness and function. Models came down the runway in a wide variety of shoes from John Fluevog, a choice that gave the looks even more individual personality.

The eight designers presented three-piece capsule collections inspired by the past, present and future of travel, and half the fun of the show was appreciating how wildly different the eight interpretations were. Samantha Rei opened the show with a collection of outerwear inspired by the classic traveling trunks of Hermès and Louis Vuitton. The first look down the runway (worn by local treasure Ashlee Walker) took the inspiration literally. The rich brown coat adorned with leather and buckles was my favorite look from the designer. A charming bellhop-inspired number followed, and her presentation ended with a lively nod to Takashi Murakami’s iconic collaboration with Louis Vuitton.

Christopher Straub presented a socialite-inspired collection of ivory pieces, practically a 180 from his Spring 2014 collection. I was particularly taken with the first piece of outerwear, a delicate coat that mimicked the techniques echoed in his third piece, a gown that embodied his aesthetic. Mary Pranica further established herself as the local queen of knits with her collection of cozy dresses and separates. There was some beautifully intricate pattern work that nodded to Minnesota winters while remaining firmly chic. Nothing about the collection felt crafty or homespun. Ivan Idland’s three looks featured several of his signature shapes. I particularly loved a pair of tailored olive overalls with sheer paneling. Though the pairing with the multi-colored blouse made for an engaging runway look, in real life I would love to see these worn with a minimalist gray tank. And by that I mean that I want to wear those overalls with a minimalist gray tank. Ivan, call me.

Emma Berg’s looks in black, navy and white showcased the designer’s playfulness with shape and functionality. When she showed me her pieces after the show, I was quite taken by all of the functional details that couldn’t be featured in the runway walk. The complex design of her outerwear and her use of asymmetry were flawless. Her final piece, a white cocktail dress with sheer paneling and a minimalist bow in the back, was somehow both innocent and seductive, but there was nothing infantilizing or Lolita-esque about it. It managed to walk a fine line between sophisticated and coy.

Time/Travel awesomely nabbed designer Laura Fulk, a major creative force in the Twin Cities who’s been lying low the past several years. Her play on the theme incorporated the structural shapes she is known for, while incorporating images of newspapers and postcards into the textiles. Fulk is one of those designers who definitely have favorites when it comes to the shapes that she creates, but her inspiration varies so much from collection to collection that the work is always fresh and different. Lindsey Hopkins, the relative newbie of the bunch (though I’m sure she’s tiring of hearing that) showed a fire-inspired collection of black and ivory pieces which created an effect that was literally smoldering. The smoke-stained ivory darkened into ragged sooty edges featuring a razor thin strip of flaming orange. As models walked down the runway, it truly looked like their dresses were on fire. (I know it’s dorky, but it totally made me think of The Hunger Games. But that says more about me than it does about the clothes.)

Max Lohrbach offered the only menswear of the evening, showing pieces that were intimate enough to suggest a gentleman’s version of the vacation trousseau. A vintage-inspired one-piece bathing suit featured some suggestive details that elicited one or two gasps from the audience. I particularly loved the silk “Vacation tee” and the “Super 8” swim trunks. (And it should be mentioned that although I will never be one of those people that “woo” when male models come down the runway, I’m pretty sure that this crop of male models elicited an under-my-breath “day-um” from me.)

The show’s timing and length were perfect, the music was on point, and the runway length ideal. The long terminal was an optimal setting and the lighting was extraordinary. (And when it comes to events like this, lighting can make all the difference.) It was clear that this was a show with a budget, and that budget was used beautifully. When it comes to ranking fashion events in the Twin Cities over the last ten years, Time/Travel is tied for first with my favorite Voltage shows. However, since Voltage is a joint presentation of music and fashion, when it comes to straightforward runway presentations, Time/Travel takes the cake. I hope that the Union Depot will consider making this an annual event, and that other gorgeous venues in downtown St. Paul take notice.

*It’s only fair to note that Time/Travel ‘s fashion director was l’étoile’s own editrix, Jahna Peloquin. I have tried to be as objective as possible in this review and I’m confident that if she were not involved, my opinions of the event would remain unchanged.

photo by AJ Olmscheid



What’s the History Behind the Passenger Trains at the Union Depot?

October 25, 2013

Minnesota Public Radio
By Liala Helal

A question about the history of Amtrak passenger trains in the Twin Cities surfaced this week after we published a story about the trains moving from their Midway station in St. Paul to the St. Paul Union Depot later this year.

Did Amtrak’s Empire Builder train ever use the St. Paul Union Depot station? Now, we know the answer to that question is: no.

We heard from several sources that the Amtrak Empire Builder train is returning to Union Depot, after leaving the station in 1971. And that seemed to be the popular belief. Although the Empire Builder did in fact use the station, it was not an Amtrak train at the time.

We posed the question to Amtrak staff, and even they had to do some digging to find out. So, why is the history of Amtrak in the Twin Cities so confusing?

Steve Glischinki, a correspondent for Trains Magazine, contacted us and said Amtrak never used the Union Depot, and explained why there is so much confusion about it. Glischinki is the author of eight books on railroads, the latest being “Minnesota Railroads: A Photographic History, 1940-2012” published last year.

He says the Empire Builder did in fact use the station starting in 1929 — but that was when the train was owned by the Great Northern Railway, and later Burlington Northern. And when Amtrak took over the train in 1971, the same year that the last passenger train left the Union Depot, it actually moved the Empire Builder over to a Minneapolis station — the former Great Northern Station.

“In fact, at the time, St. Paul was upset that they were being ‘skipped’ by Amtrak for Minneapolis,” Glischinki wrote to us.

Then, Amtrak moved to the Midway station in St. Paul in 1978, where it still runs today, he said.

Glischinki says he witnessed the last train leaving the Union Depot before Amtrak started in Minneapolis.

He wrote:

I was standing on the platform of the St. Paul Union Depot on the evening of April 30, 1971 when the last train left the depot, and saw it with my own eyes.  I was 14 years old at the time. The next day my dad drove me over to the Minneapolis GN Station, and we watched the first Amtrak train to arrive. I have a photo of that event taken by a Star Tribune photographer that is on page 153 of the book I wrote last year “Minnesota Railroads: A Photographic History, 1940-2012” which shows the first Amtrak train breaking a banner that says “Minneapolis Welcomes Amtrak” that was taken on May 1, 1971 at the station in Minneapolis.

“I think one of the problems here is that 42 years have passed since the last train used the Depot, and people jumble the facts,” Glischinski wrote.

Union Depot Celebrates Fashion Through Time

October 23, 2013

The Union Depot in St. Paul is hosting a fashion show that travels through time – a blast from the past for some, and new inspiration for younger fashionistas. Designers were asked to be inspired by both time and travel elements in their creations, and each interpretation amounted to something unique.

The Time Travel fashion show is slated for Wednesday night. General admission is $12, $28 for VIP tickets. Eight designers and tons of great looks will be on display from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The bags in the show were brought in from St. Paul store J.W. Hulme Co. on 678 West Seventh Street — a nod to the theme as travel and timeless design come together slung over models’ shoulders.
View video:

Glass Sculptures Light up St. Paul’s Union Depot

October 15, 2013

Pioneer Press
By Leah Smith

Even on a cloudy day, Ray King’s glass “clouds” shine in an array of colors in St. Paul’s Union Depot.

King, the famed light sculptor, is installing his newest project this week at the entrance to the remodeled train station. Hundreds of bits of glass form clouds that reflect the light from outside.

Called the Twin Waves, the sculptures are “floating waves in space,” he said.

King, who is based in Taiwan and has worked on projects around the globe, got the idea for the St. Paul piece from a Twin Cities woman in the Hmong community.

“She told me that there’s a saying: ‘Even though the sky is cloudy, there is goodness behind,’ ” King said.

Two of the main glass colors are blue and yellow, which are traditional Nordic colors.

That was unintentional at first, but King was happy with the small details that represent the diverse community of St. Paul.

Suspended 10 feet above the floor, each “wave” is made up of 1,250 glass pieces and will be 26 by 13 feet.

The artwork will set off the interior of the depot, which opened last year after a $243 million remodel.

“The sculptures complement the scene when we have weddings or banquets over the weekend,” said Julia Handal of St. Paul, a waitress at Christos, a restaurant in the depot.

Twin Waves cost $200,000 and is the latest of several large artworks to be installed at the Union Depot. The first was “Side Track” by Tim Prentice, a $200,000 work created from hanging aluminum poles that represent a flowing railroad track. The final two installations will be an interactive multimedia project and six murals by Ralph Gilbert. Each of those projects cost $150,000.

The artworks are being purchased through a $1.25 million art grants program at Union Depot established by the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority.

King’s installation is expected to be complete by Oct. 20.


For more information on Ray King, visit

Caption: Philadelphia light sculptor Ray King shows off his partially completed work, titled “Twin Waves,” which he is installing this week in the Fourth Street entry of the newly restored Union Depot in St. Paul on October 14, 2013. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)

Union Depot is Hosting a Special Day for Pooches and Their Owners

October 9, 2013

 “Doggie Depot” Event to Include Pet Adoptions, Dog Costume Contest, Canine Training Demos, Grooming, Pet Photos, Veterinarian Advice and More

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – (October 9, 2013) – On Saturday, October 26, the historic Union Depot in downtown St. Paul will host its first-ever “Doggie Depot” event with fun for all pooches and their owners.  This free event is open to the public and will include many activities with representatives from area canine-related organizations and businesses.  Doggie Depot is a celebration of October being Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month.

Secondhand Hounds, Wags N Whiskers and the Pet Project Rescue will be at the event with rescue dogs available for adoption, and myTalk 107.1’s Alexis Thompson and KS95’s Staci Matthews will judge a Doggie Costume Contest.  Guests can learn obedience training tips from the owner of The Canine Coach; treat their pooches to a Pet-a-Cure and feathered wings (the hottest doggie ‘do) by staffers from Cocobear Boutique and Pet Care; and have their pets’ photos taken by LMJ Photography.   There will also be service puppy training sessions with Can Do Canines and demonstrations by the St. Paul Police Department’s K-9 Unit.

In addition, Dr. Emmy Hartman from St. Paul Pet Hospital will host an “Ask the Vet” question-answer consultation with guests. There will also be trick-or-treating for owners and their pooches. Guests will have the opportunity to make dog treats to take home and visit with a pet communicator.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Waiting Room at Union Depot.  Guests are encouraged to bring their dog in costume to participate in the costume contests which take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.  There is convenient guest parking in the Union Depot Parking Garages with entrances on Kellogg Boulevard East at Sibley Street, Broadway Street and near the Lafayette Bridge.  For more information about the event, please visit

Union Depot Presents Time Travel

October 8, 2013

Inaugural Fashion Show Channels the Decades of Union Depot Travel with Fashion From Vintage to Futuristic Styles

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (October 8, 2013) – Time/Travel, Union Depot’s Inaugural Fashion Show, gives Twin Cities fashion enthusiasts the opportunity to see high-end fashion styles inspired by the decades featuring local designers’ very own inspirations come to life on the runway. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Waiting Room in Union Depot. Because of the elaborate lights and audio visual, there is no admittance after 7:45 p.m. Tickets available at

The travel-themed runway show is inspired by the past and future of travel in the recently renovated Union Depot with original clothing designs by top local designers Christopher Straub, Laura Fulk, Emma Berg, Samantha Rei, Lindsey Hopkins, Max Lorhbach, Ivan Idland and Mary Pranica. The models will walk the runway in decade-inspired designs with luggage provided by J.W. Hulme Co. Styles will be curated by stylist, Jahna Peloquin, and choreographed by Vision Management Group.

Guests will walk into the venue and experience a truly historic depot with musical street performers, train attendants passing complimentary hors d’ouevres and a cash bar. General admission will be $12 and VIP seating will be $28 and includes a swag bag filled with high-end goods and a complimentary drink.

WHAT:        Time/Travel Fashion Show

WHERE:     Union Depot, 214 E 4th Street, Saint Paul, MN 55101

WHEN:        Wednesday, October 23

Doors: 7:00 PM
Show: 8:00 PM

Because of the elaborate lights and audio visual, there is no admittance after 7:45 p.m.

PARKING:  Union Depot parking entrances are located off Kellogg

Blvd. E. at Sibley St., Broadway St.; and near the Lafayette Bridge

TICKETS:  General Admission: $12

VIP: $28 (includes complimentary drink)