MIM Rocks Fashion Show: A Spring Fling of Weirdness and Goodness

Last thing's first. On our way out of Phoenix Fashion Week's MIM Rocks Fashion show, who should we find trotting alongside us but a pair of Baseball Wives: Erika Monroe Williams and Maggie McCracken.

After hearing a pre-show announcement that the wives were in the audience, we'd kept our eyes peeled (and watched our backs).

As far as we could tell, there were no dramatic incidents. And we failed to catch a glimpse of Tanya "The Cool One" Grace. So, really, the point of relaying this tidbit is to serve one little purpose. Last night's fashion show was the sort of event where you could stumble upon quasi-famous reality television stars. Consider the scene set.

MIM Rocks Fashion showcased four collections of spring looks assembled by two-person teams composed of a stylist and either a boutique owner or designer.

While the show didn't harness a totally global perspective like its venue -- a museum that boasts instruments from every continent -- it did offer up varied and unexpected style perspectives from a handful of places (and, of course, a dash of requisite weirdness by way of between-shows entertainment). 

In particular, the two singers who performed during the evening: One performing the National Anthem and the other milling about the audience, crooning in French. For us, they only served to break up the mood of the show, but, in and of themselves, they were nicely executed.

Now, for the fashion.

Mexican designer Alma Primero and Fawn Cheng took on a sensual but demure Latina outlook, styled with chunky jewelry from Virgins, Saints, and Angels, lots of red lipstick, and hair slicked back into big doughnut buns.

Primero's well-fitting evening dresses were striking in their long lines and simple palate of white, red, black, navy, and awe-inducing metallics. Our favorite look of the collection was a light, delicate midnight blue and black jumpsuit.

Later came Vintage By Misty and Ginger Murphy exploration of women's American style in chapters: military, '70s boho, American chic, and poolside. Honestly, there wasn't a poorly assembled ensemble in the mix, and the progression through themes was a thoughtful touch.

With summer on its way, it was tough to resist the splashy prints and maxi skirts from the pool-focused section of the show. The pink and purple floral tie-waist ankle dress and the airy, collared (was it linen?) jumpsuit made it onto our lust-after list.

Boutique Bounty Hunter and Brian Swan's Drive-inspired menswear ensembles echoed the movie's All-American rugged masculinity. We were excited to hear that Swan drew on the film (based on a novel by Phoenix-based author James Sallis) for inspiration in styling Bounty Hunter's loads of leather jackets, Gosling-worthy gloves, v-neck tees, and jeans, because the two are a spectacular fit. Swan's small dapper touches showed that, with fabulous pieces, it's easy to jazz up menswear.

Flown in from France, designer Caroline Monick closed out the show with her collection of sugary sweet, courtesan-inflected mini dresses styled by Jill Laine. Monick's clearly a designer with a point of view, influenced by artists Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, and a love of satin and sweet colors.

We found that the simpler Monick's designs were (and the more they veered away from her penchant for seamed striping) the more wow factor they had. Stand-out pieces included a baby pink peter pan collar dress (pictured on page one of this review) and what looked like scarves printed with Monick's name serving as a halter top and a skirt-short bottom. We'd love to see more from the French designer, in a greater range of color and fabric.

Overall, MIM Rocks Fashion was an impressive showing of style in the Valley -- a place where we can say, without a doubt, caring about well-crafted, uniquely styled clothing is on the rise.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski

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