Best of the Twin Cities 2011

150 things to be proud of because they're ours


The top local salons, boutiques, and retail destinations

Local Fashion Moment: Anne Cramer & Her Iconic Skirt

It’s her skirt; we’re just wearing it. And wearing it. Minneapolis designer Anne Cramer (pictured) had a breakthrough year, earning international raves and record orders for her spring Flynn skirt: an A-line with wide stripes in bold colors. Her follow-up fall/winter collection proves that Cramer is no one-hit wonder. She reinvented the Flynn as a floor-length skirt—same flattering style, but in rich neutrals. There are silk shells and cashmere sweaters to match, and true to Cramer’s style—classic with a playful twist—she suggests finishing the look with a silk streamer in bright turquoise, yellow, or orange. “You’re a gift,” Cramer declares. “Wrap yourself up like one.” Available at Melly, Galleria, 952-929-9252, annemcramer.com

Shopping Mall Wing: MOA’s First Floor South

Lay down the marble, hang the chandeliers, and the luxury stores will follow. There’s been a flurry of openings since Mall of America remodeled its south wing. Desigual, Superdry, A/X Armani Exchange, Michael Kors, and Stuart Weitzman are among the new reasons to shop MOA. As if you needed another reason. mallofamerica.com

Store For Play: Kiddywampus

This St. Louis Park toy store feels more like a community center, and loitering is absolutely encouraged. Enthusiastic owner Amy Saldanha is constantly introducing new products, trying a science experiment, hosting story time, or inviting customers to a class that promises to expand a child’s horizons. There are play tables, art rooms, and a playroom perfect for groups (or an impromptu hour’s worth of parental sanity on a rainy day). Icing on the cake: Kiddywampus donates all after-tax profits to charities benefitting children. 4400 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-926-7871, kiddywampus.com

New Retail Concept: dpHue

Rare is the store that hasn’t been done before. dpHue, which launched this fall in Maple Grove, has single-handedly created a new beauty category: upscale home hair color. In sleek surroundings, customers get an on-the-spot color consult from a licensed colorist and walk out with a custom blend for about $40. It’s more pleasant and educational than reading boxes in a drugstore, and it’s less expensive than a salon. We’ll buy it. 7808 N. Main St., Maple Grove, 763-447-4727, dphue.com

Men’s Salon: Gent

Tasteful surroundings. Upscale products. Quality services. Plus, sports on a big screen, iPads for surfing, and a putting green. Gent Cuts and Grooming, at Victoria Crossing, has created an engaging salon experience for men that doesn’t seem gimmicky. 867 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-797-4294, gentcg.com

Local Shopping: Corazon

We’ve been fans of this gift store since it first opened in the Warehouse District several years ago. Now resettled in Longfellow, Corazon has really hit its stride. Owner Susan Zdon has smartly partnered with local artists and small companies to create goods that are not only made in Minnesota, but are often exclusive to her store. It makes objects bought here that much more compelling. 4646 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-276-0198, corazononline.com

Beauty Classes: Root Salon

Give a girl an updo, and she’ll look pretty for a night. Teach a girl to do her own updo, and she’ll be camera-ready for every special occasion thereafter. Root’s talented team of stylists, led by Jim Koktavy, shares tips and trade secrets. (There’s typically a fee, but that includes styling.) Leave looking your best—and stay that way. 499 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-0200; 4289 Sheridan Ave. S., Mpls., rootsalons.com

Store Café: Patrick’s at Bachman’s

Enjoy quiche and salad or snack on cookies and tea while surrounded by fresh plants and flowers. Yes, there is a place in Minnesota where you can dine in the garden year-round. Patrick’s, at Bachman’s Minneapolis flagship, is the rare store café that could make you forget you came to shop. 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-861-7600, bachmans.com

Specialty Bra Fitting: La Bratique

For too long, women who needed a D-cup or larger had trouble finding even a basic bra in stores. La Bratique’s discrete setting, one-on-one service, and massive assortment of larger-size bras, both fashionable and functional, are a true revelation. Owner and fit expert Tracy Anderson takes the angst out of bra shopping. 5007 France Ave. S., Mpls., 612-325-6620, labratique.com

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