Political posturing It's an election year, so the Minnesota History Center's RetroRama is getting political. The annual fashion flashback is celebrating politics, protest and power plays -- right down to how democracy is expressed through fashion. In a runway show produced by Anna Lee, local designers will present their diplomatic looks. Here's a preview.


Blasphemina's Closet,


Inspiration: Prohibition

How it translates: "I wanted to do a '20s-style dress because I do a lot of drop-waisted dresses. I came across a flapper-style dress with a pannier (the crinoline Marie Antoinette would wear) underneath. I based the dress on a whiskey barrel so I used moiré, which has the essence of wood grain. There will be a big reveal with a tear-away skirt."

Christopher Straub


Inspiration: The Kennedys and Camelot

How it translates: "I am inspired by pieces from the exhibit that were part of the campaign to get John F. Kennedy elected, namely the 'Vote for JFK' buttons. I created fabric that evokes the enthusiasm of the country at that time. My design is done in the style of the classic Chanel suits that Mrs. Kennedy was so often dressed in.



Inspiration: Equal rights

How it translates: "I chose the equal rights amendment because it falls directly in line with my feminist fashion perspective. Gloria Steinem with her confident and tailored look is a primary inspiration. Mixing in looks from female musicians of the 1960s adds a daring and tenacious element that was integral to the equal rights movement.

RetroRama: 7:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651-259-3015, $15 tickets, minnesotahistorycenter.org. Fashion shows at 8 and 9 p.m. Additional activities include Blingo, shopping with Blacklist Vintage, the Spectacle Shoppe and Flamingo's Divine Finds, retro cocktails and make-your-own souvenir accessories projects.

Beauty and the blog

Putting on makeup isn't rocket science, but a degree in astrophysics certainly doesn't hurt. Just ask Bailey Brown. The Minneapolis-based beauty blogger (www.makingupthemw.com) recently graduated from the University of Minnesota with that major. Brown's blog has really taken off, so much so that she's in the running for Allure's national Beauty Blogger Awards. Online voting (www.blogger-awards.allure.com) ends on Monday. We got the scoop on some of Brown's beauty picks.

Q How did you become a beauty blogger?

A About three years ago, I got hooked on watching makeup tutorials during my study breaks. I was mesmerized by how these men and women could transform their faces using only makeup. My interest soon turned into an obsession, and my friends and family (who apparently have a lower tolerance for conversations about lip gloss and bronzer than I do) encouraged me to channel it into a blog.

Q Does your science background help you?

A At first I loved makeup because it seemed so completely different from anything I do in a quantum class or physics lab. But when I started reviewing products for the blog, I noticed that the same analytical skills I used to second-guess experimental results helped me cut through some of the gimmicks brands use to lure consumers.

Q What's your philosophy toward beauty?

A Whether you're rocking no makeup or an exotic eye and a bold lip, if you feel beautiful and confident, you're doing it right.

Q What trend are you trying out?

A Orange is the hue to have, but I haven't shed my winter-white skin tone yet, so I'm working it in very subtly into my blush and peach-toned lip colors.

Q Best new finds?

A For lips: Maybelline just came out with fun, bold lipsticks in their new Exotic Escape Collection. They feel like a lip balm but wear like a lipstick and they let you rock summer brights on a budget. My favorite shade is First Class Fuchsia.

For nails: Orly's Beach Cruiser, a neon-pink shade that also could double as a good reflector for biking.

For hair care: I have fine, thin hair that frequently falls flat. That makes a root boost or volumizer an essential part of my hair routine. Aveda's Phomollient Styling Foam does the job.

Q Do you always wear makeup to class?

A I do, but not because I feel I have to. For me, putting makeup on is like having a cup of coffee in the morning or reading the newspaper. It's a nice way to wake up and zen out before I meet a busy day.

Q What are your career plans?

A I'm looking at jobs that relate to my analytical and computational background, as well as my love of beauty. I've found a few possibilities, but I'm still waiting for a beauty blogger/lab technician position to open up at NASA.



CLC traveling trunk show at Parc Boutique: Former Minnesotan Karen Cayetano Leano's collection of jewelry, including some pieces created for the event, are discounted from $39 to $169.

Through May 31, 320 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls.; 612-353-4966

Cynthia Rae closing sale: Discounts on all merchandise start at 25 percent off. Continue shopping the line through the website www.cewelgirl.com.

2817 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

Give, Get and Save the Rainforest: Contribute $3 to the Nature Conservancy at Macy's and receive a savings pass for 15 to 20 percent off storewide.

Through May 31, all Macy's stores, www.nature.org.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177 • sglassman@startribune.com • Twitter: @sararglassman