Monday, November 15, 2010

SF Style 2010: What Will You Be Wearing?

In the spirit of IFCSF and NYC's Fashion's Night Out, San Francisco Style is gearing up to be the fashion event of the year! Sustainability and design meet for one spectacular evening - Thursday, November 18th. Choose one event or choose all, but you don't want to miss this exciting night!

Here's the lineup of events for the night:

SF Style Pop-Up Store
November 18th from 5-11pm
San Francisco's Planning and Urban Research Center (SPUR)
654 Mission Street, San Francisco

Trunk show featuring local emerging designers plus host First Lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

Tickets: $6 suggested donation at the door


SF Style Merchant Stroll
November 18th from 5 to 11pm
Various boutiques across town will be open late to host events and special promotions to get your holiday shopping started early!

For a list of participating boutiques visit SF Style on Facebook and twitter@SFStyle2010.

Eco Fashion Show
November 18th from 7:30pm to 11pm
The Bently Reserve
301 Battery Street, San Francisco

Local designers will present eco-friendly collections in a dazzling runway show.

VIP party 7:30-8:30pm
General admission 8pm
Fashion show featuring sustainable designers at 9pm

Tickets: VIP $75 at the door and $65 advanced purchases
General $35 at the door and $25 advanced purchased
Student $15 with ID at the door

For more information on SF Style, click here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Divine Inspiration









I really must learn more about Amish quilting. If there’s one thing the 5th annual Discarded to Divine gala firmly implanted in my mind is that inspiration can come from anywhere and anything. True, the students who crafted their masterpieces out of discarded duds received their inspiration in the form of the De Young Museum, but turning the simplicity of the Amish into a va-va-voom one shouldered bias-cut dress that hugs in all the right places takes a certain kind of talent. For FIDM Student Nicole Villa, it was the piercing of the bodice that the quilts inspired in her “Abstract Symmetry.” For student Taisja Maxfield, also from FIDM, her “Beaded Silk Tulip Dress” didn’t revert to the bold color palette used in many of the other Amish inspired pieces – instead she crafted a thoughtful and elegant party dress, that had I received a bidder number, would have tried my fiscal best for.

Not that my bid was particularly needed. The event, held in support of The St. Vincent De Paul Society, raised close to $80,000 between the silent and live auctions. The now annual event, brainchild of the Society’s Sally Rosen has become more than just a charity fashion show. It’s provided a platform to show firsthand how easy sustainable fashion can be. As supporters of the eco-fashion movement we know that a key part of dressing environmentally chic is learning how to reuse and rework what we already have. What better way to be inspired by those old pair of Banana Republic trousers in your closet than watching a belted trench coat fashioned together from two linen tablecloths be auctioned off in a fierce bidding war for $1500?

The Amish-inspired pieces represented just a fraction of the collection students and guest designers (including local designers Colleen Quen and Christopher Collins, Project Runway alumni Sweet Pea Vaughn and Jay Nicolas Sario, and the event’s winner for Best In Women’s Daywear, Coral Castillo) created for the competition. While Project Runway’s recent favorite Sario showed a military inspired vest for the live auction, his cocktail dress out of tweed and Fiji water bottles (yes really!) was the talk of the pre-show reception and the source of many flashbulbs in the room.

One of my favorites, the Dreamscape Waterfall dress by Joseph Singh took in only $300 during the auction, but its Japanese Tea Garden inspired shimmers and colors reminiscent of a Monet painting were truly spectacular, if not a little too tame for the crowd who cheered for the edgier styles. Castillo’s “Green Butterfly” took in $800 but with over fifty pieces of fabric used to sew the tunic-style dress, well worth the cost.

While most of the designers opted for dressier pieces, Dawn Castel’s “Lavender Silk Jacket with Border Panels” was a popular bid for its casual coolness and detail on the sleeves and hem. And there was even something for the kids. Nancy Martin’s winning “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” was so mod in its swinging shape and blue quilted hexagon pattern I’m kind of hoping for an adult version. Sally Rosen should now feel fully inducted into the fashion community at the creation of The “Sally” Bag by Ray Gin. Practical and sturdy, I feel a collection coming on. I can’t forget to mention the jewelry and eclectic pieces of home d├ęcor that were also included in the silent auction. There was room for pillows, scarves and even a set of repurposed potholders.

And should we forget the true purpose of the event, Sally Rosen came up with the idea after feeling disheartened over all of the donations that were too dirty or worn to make any use of. By showing the recipients who are often “discarded” by society that they too deserve respect and dignity, their lives have the chance to be renewed. So who thinks fashion is superficial?

Photos by Warren Difranco Hsu/After5Media

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Night Under the Dome for Sustainability

Join the Innovative Fashion Council and Fashion Group International under the "Dome" at the Westfield San Francisco Shopping Center for cocktails, music, trends, and the future of eco-fashion. A panel of key influencers and educators will lead a discussion on the relevance of sustainability in the industry and share the latest trends. Panelists include:

Margaret Sche - former head of Fashion Direction for Forever 21 and fashion editor for FOAM magazine. Sche works with global retailers, designers and manufacturers in developing niche markets through creative direction, business strategy and market forecasting. She has partnered with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger,The Sak and American Rag and her fashion styling images have appeared in publications such as InStyle, Vanity Fair, Surface, Teen Vogue and Nylon.

Lynda Grose - Co-founder of ESPRIT's ecocollection line and identified in 2008 by the Financial Times as one of the "green power brokers." As a practicing designer, consultant, and educator, Lynda has worked with clients ranging from artisans and farmers to nonprofits and clothing companies, including UNDP, The Sustainable Cotton Project, Aid to Artisans, Gap Inc, Market Place India, Patagonia, Green Peace, 13-mile Farm, and Shayan Craft Center.

Amy Williams - Current chair of CCA's innovative Fashion Design Program, Amy also served as senior lecturer for Fashion Design at Otis College of Art and Design and a lecturer at FIDM Los Angeles, where she was noted as "faculty member of the year." Her work as a designer has been photographed for WWD, California Apparel News, Active Sport, Vogue, Elle, and Glamour, to name a few.

Plans for San Francisco's first official "Fashion's Night Out" on November 18th will also be announced so don't miss out on this exciting event!

Date: Tuesday, May 18th
Time: 6-8:30pm
Place: The Dome, Westfield Mall - 865 Market Street, San Francisco

Reserve your spot by May 17th and order tickets here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming Up – The IFCSF and Bloomingdale’s Team Up for an Earth Day Cocktail Party Plus Give Two Take One at Academy of Art

Join members of the Innovative Fashion Council and author Bertrand Pellegrin for an Earth Day mixer on Tuesday, April 20th hosted by Bloomingdale’s San Francisco. Pellegrin, global retail strategist and image consultant, will present his latest release Branding the Man: Why Men Are the Next Frontier in Fashion Retail and discuss his thoughts on why men should be a key target audience for fashion retailers.

Enjoy wine and appetizers plus a chance to win great raffle prizes including two tickets to the upcoming FGI/IFCSF trend event! Bloomingdale's will also offer $15 off every $100 spent during the event. Join us and celebrate what makes San Francisco the epicenter of eco-fashion and innovation.

Where: Bloomingdale’s 3rd floor, Westfield Center, San Francisco
When: Tuesday, April 20th from 5:30-8pm; FREE

Thanks to our sponsors and supporters: Fashion Group International, Bloomingdales, San Francisco's Office of Small Business, San Francisco's Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Kaboodle, and 7x7 Magazine. For more information, click here.

If you're tired of your clothes but too eco-minded to shop for new ones, stop by the Give Two Take One clothing swap event hosted by Academy of Art University on Saturday, April 17th. AAU is teaming up with St. Vincent de Paul Society for a very fashionable event where you get as good as you give! Drop by the New Montgomery Gallery between 11am and 4pm with your almost perfect condition clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories. For every two items donated you'll receive a voucher for one item to choose for yourself. Once you're out of vouchers, you can purchase any items left for cash value. All remaining donations will go to St. Vincent de Paul's. With a Beauty Bar to freshen up your weary face after sorting through clothes and jazz provided by The Sebastian Parker Trio, I'd say your Saturday's sorted.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coming Up - Lovesick on Valentine's Day

This could be your most interesting Valentine's Day yet. Lovesick III, a fashion show/lingerie/trunks show event comes to Club Mighty on Valentine's Eve with live music, multiple DJ sets, an art installation and kissing booth. Designers include Alexandria von Bromssen, Miss Velvet Cream, Richard Hallmarq, Miranda Caroligne, Kayo, Medium Reality, My Dirty Dishes, Jasmin Zorlu, Ghetto Goldilocks, Tamo Design, Gallerah Designs, Invisible Hero & more. Musical performance from The Goldenhearts and a performance by Bad Unkl Sista round out the evening. And did I mention a kissing booth? All presided over by Mistress of Ceremonies Emily Morse from Sex with Emily.

Tickets are $20 and available here. The night begins at 7pm and goes until....whenever.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

High Fashion’s (re) Evaluation.

Saying sayonara to possibly the most mental year in recent fashion history—with luxury brands throwing up their hands to stay relevant in this era of fast fashion/slow economic times—YSL revisits the most innovative trend to emerge from last year, high fashion’s foray into eco-chic.

Just before the end of last year, designer Stefano Pilati rolled out YSL’s New Vintage Collection II. The latest collection, which consists of 121 limited edition pieces priced lower than the typical ready-to-wear collection, is available at YSL flagship boutiques in Paris, London and New York. The first collection, a surprising logical and balanced answer to the green fashion paradox, debuted at Barneys in June and sold out before most of us could get a gander in. As before, the capsule collection is recreated from unused archived fabrics that were fated for “le trash can” and cut into updated version’s of YSL’s classic silhouettes.

The final diagnosis is that a consumer’s relationship to fashion has changed profoundly. The current feeling or trend is that shopping to excess is old hat and seeking out classics or cherished vintage pieces is the sane solution to last year’s fashion meltdown.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fifth Annual Gorgeous & Green Eco Fashion Show


A recent event held by Global Green in San Francisco distilled the pre-conceived notion that eco fashion and the City By the Bay lack the style and glamour of high fashion.

Global Green’s 5th annual fundraiser held last week at San Francisco’s W Hotel proved that sustainable clothing and its Bay Area-based design community can be just as inspiring and directional as what you may find in the latest issue of Vogue or Vanity Fair. The W is the 7th hotel in the nation to receive LEED certification. Event co-chair Nadine Weil was delighted she didn’t have to worry about the trash being properly sorted for recycling afterwards.

The evening’s event brought out San Francisco’s eco-heavyweights, society luvies and dedicated followers of fashion to support both green styles and the designers dedicated to producing them in the Bay Area. The handpicked group of designers, who highlighted two or three looks from their recent collections, couldn’t have asked for a more receptive audience. The ongoing sustainable design story has, up to now, been about the composition of elements—organic cottons, silks, natural dyes, a mind for preventing waste and local construction—but what really made this show exciting (my feelings echoed by the visceral buzz amongst the audience) were the fresh proportions, cutting-edge artistry and undeniable design values of the dynamic looks coming down the runway.

Co-chair Zem Joaquin green lit the fast–paced runway show with a simple directive: “Think about what you are wearing and be conscious.” The opening looks included a succession of alternatively ruched and flowing washed silk gowns from Robin Brouillete and Leila Hafzi. The dresses were exquisite and fitting for an evening reception, but what eco-fashion really needs is to feel essential. To my mind, separates are the smart women’s response to the economic fallout of the last year. Clothes women can wear to get things done! Right on cue, Nina Skarra’s jaunty, sustainably-sourced sweaters came down the catwalk, providing a nice break in the sea of gowns.

Local favorite, Carja Borja wowed the crowd as her scarlet plaid ensemble came down the runway. The voluminous skirt and jacket (did I just see the outline of a totally wearable bustle go by AMAZING!) skillfully cut to flatter the body contrasted perfectly with the black silk tank awash with tiny ruffles.

Two of the night’s standout looks came from Casey Larkin’s dynamite Mr. Larkin line. The white Chloe jacket with cutouts and delicately molded shoulder pads is a wearable and (less expensive!) take on those beloved by Balmain. The other piece, an organic knit lace dress appeared off runway, worn with requisite rock-star aplomb by guest Josie Maran, model and creator of epononymous eco-cosmetic collection.

The jewelry and accessory pairings were particularly inspiring. A sartorial match made in heaven was Litter’s punk-edged jewelry, its sultry pieces proving themselves a siren call to Sara Shepherd’s lady-like tailoring and immaculate seams.

While the pneumatic models showing Yves Behar’s PACT underwear came dangerously close to undermining the evening’s achievements, the interjection of levity served as a reminder of the work ahead necessary to develop the Bay Area as a destination for all things eco-fashion. The sense of lightness—of not taking things too seriously—is an element to embrace rather than reject if we want to see change in terms of S.F. having a strengthened fashion identity.

The universe’s ironic ways of directing things, a.k.a those delicious instances of life imitating art, were illuminated as Zem introduced the work of artist Sage Vaughn. His delicately rendered images of butterflies are the perfect motif for eco fashion’s current metamorphosis. Only now is everything falling into place: better fabrics, greater interest by designers and increased consumer awareness. It indicates that this is an idea whose time has come to an industry newly challenged by a more value-orientated consumer and the plaintive wail of Mother Nature.

Lighter in celeb quotient than previous years, the event’s focus was on celebrating the achievements of our green fashion community and seemed to highlight that 2009 was the year when Bay Area eco-designers, like Mr. Vaughn’s fragile yet transcendent butterflies, emerged from their cocoons.

It was great to see 10AK designers Priscilla Guimarais, Kumiko Haruyama, Nui Tanapornwattana, Audrey Wang and Tramaine Tillman enjoying themselves. One of the dresses created this summer by the band of Academy of Arts students was fashioned out of hospital scrubs and worn by actress Ginnifer Goodwin at the 20th Anniversary Environmental Media Awards in Los Angleles.

It was a pleasure to speak to Rachel Mann and Mackenzie Burdick of hot body jewelry line Litter at the event. Their line, which artfully decorated Sara Shepherds runway pieces, is made from re-salvaged second-hand and flea market finds. They hit fashion editorial paydirt this year when Wintour it-girl, Lauren Santo Domingo spotted their designs on a trip to San Francisco and asked them to collaborate with one of her new favorite designers, Christian Cota for his New York Fashion Week show. The rumor is NYC fashion peeps plan to steal them away--we hope they stay…

One player the SF fashion scene will loose to NYC is dapper stylist, Lo’renzo Hill White, who also does double duty championing local fashion talent. “It’s great to see society step up for the green cause, and it’s nice to see them in cocktail attire,” he enthused. He’ll be leaving for NYC this spring, but we both agreed, he’d need to watch this space!