Saturday, April 25, 2009

Academy of Art University Designs Take the Stage

A packed house. Tickets sold out for weeks.  Without a doubt, this will be a show to remember.  

And once again, the Academy did not disappoint. 

There's a reason why the Academy of Art University presents at both New York and San Francisco Fashion Week, year over year.  The talent displayed at the Academy's Annual Graduation Fashion Show on April 23rd was a sneak peek into what this year's Fashion Week may include.

Graduates of the Academy of Art University showcased their inspiration and hard work in styles reminiscent of Prada, Elie Saab, and Donna Karan to name a few.

Imagine this...
Andy Warhol-esque elements, mixed with a bit of the 80's, were present in a colorful Fall collection fit for the slopes of Tahoe.  Plaid silk suit designs from Yu Qi Tan's line brought me back to Wunderkind.  A hot military look with twist (think G-Star meets William Rast) showed that bright + muted colors are the perfect match.  Capes with futuristic cocoon-like hoods paired with dresses in quilted fabrics were made for Christian Dior.  And the textures in 
Bridget Miranda Sidden's sleeveless dress rivaled that of Rodarte.

But when you thought you'd seen it all, the Academy ended the show with a jaw dropping jewelry collaboration project.  Amazingly stunning jewelry designs had us captivated.  Designs including the gold leaf (dress) embellishments and the jewelry corset that lifted the dress edges causing a billowy wing effect blew us away!  

Two words sum it all up:  absolutely fabulous.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Your Scraps are My Couture

The De Young Museum hosted a special preview last Friday night for the upcoming Discarded to Divine event on May 7th. Presented by the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the annual event invites both amateur and professional designers to transform discarded and donated clothing into custom couture pieces. The pieces are then auctioned off at the gala through a silent auction and fashion show with proceeds given to helping the poor and homeless.

The free preview was held in conjunction with the De Young’s increasingly popular Friday night event and drew quite a crowd. Guests waited in a long line wrapped around the main lobby to get inside the small space showcasing the designs, and competed with the crowd taking in the swing dancing and live band. Once inside, visitors were given the opportunity to view the pieces close up, each displayed with information on the original materials and outfits used along with the designer’s inspiration. The theme for this year was the De Young itself, with inspiration taken from exhibits both past and present. You can imagine what an impact the recently closed Yves Saint Laurent retrospective made on the participating designers.

A few stand out pieces included a plaid ruffled Edwardian jacket by Stephanie Hoffman, Holly Fowler’s Arc Dress with George Saxe’s inspired sharp angled lines and geometric design, a stunning black and white draped gown with a tartan flair by local French designer Christiane Parker, and a silk evening dress named “Heaven Beside You” by Jacqueline Canlas in many hues of blue. In addition to clothing, designers also contributed with accessories and home furnishings, including an amazing art deco inspired lamp created from men’s pants with a feather effect by interior designer Agustin Sanders.

Tickets for the main event are still available. This year’s Honorary Chair is Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Special Guest Designers include Sweet P (from Project Runway Season 4), Cari Borja, Louisa Parris, and Kailia Footwear. Members of the jury include the De Young Museum’s Jill D’Allessandro, 7x7’s Nerissa Pacio, Zem Joaquin and the IFCSF’s very own Yetunde Schuhmann. To buy tickets, click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pampering the Modern Man

The urban professional man lives on the cutting edge.  Fashion forward, early adopters who are sought after, never seeking.  Leaders, not followers, who are iconic in style and substance.  This is the Modern Man. 

On April 9th – 10th, Graffiti PR and the W Hotel San Francisco hosted the 2nd Annual Styling the Modern Man Series.  Portraying elements of a Men’s Fashion Week, the Series illustrated a cohesive and compelling brand concept composed of vignettes, presentations, and fashion shows catered to the Modern Man.

Day One of the series showcased four vignettes focused on the needs of the Modern Man.  

Mr., the upscale barbershop and urban lounge, was doing onsite ‘clean up’ with a trim or shave; Bella Pelle fixed up the brows with a quick wax; Therapeia provided relaxing massages; and Twilight Sounds presented the ultimate in-home experience…how cool would it be to heat up the pool/spa, turn off the lights, turn on the tv/stereo, and pull up the shades all with a few button clicks on a single remote control?  That’s what Twilight Sounds does.  While you imagine this, picture yourself relaxing in a chic, modern David Mast Design layout.  Combined, these four vignettes provide an intimate visceral experience that lets you live the life of the Modern Man…at least for a few hours.

Day Two of the series provided presentations from Celebrity Hair Stylist Kevin Josephson, from #1 rated television shows including Blow Out and Girls Next Door, who gave tips & tricks on grooming, styling, and secrets of the Hollywood elite; David Mast, from David Mast Design, whose 21st century designs create a sanctuary in one-of-a kind pieces, discussed modern design and its influences on the Modern Man's life.  Fashion shows by ON THE FLY and ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR closed the series event.

Best described as a union between Tommy Hilfiger, J Crew, and Phat Farm, On the Fly clothes are designed for work or play with a laid back attitude.  Fresh, fun and simple.  

Designed by a DJ, Artificial Flavor combines elements of G-Star mixed with the classic styling of Calvin Klein.  (It’s no wonder this brand is focused on remixing classic garments with a retro flair!)  Summed up:  lightweight fabrics made for lounging in muted colors that pop. 

So there you have it, the basics of what any man needs:  clothes, home and personal care.  With all this special treatment, how will the Modern Man fare next time?  The good news:  Graffiti PR is in the planning stages for the 3rd Annual Styling the Modern Man Series.  And, they’ll be expanding to New York and Los Angeles.  The bad news:  You’ll need to wait for next year to see it.  Stay tuned….

Monday, April 6, 2009

Going Green Never Looked So Good

Going Green. Seems like an overnight success, doesn’t it? It's the perfect 'feel good' notion. And nowadays, we all need a little bit of that, right?

Fine jewelry makers Amber Marie Bently, Alberto Parada, Dawes Design, and Zultanite Gems LLC are ‘minimizing their footprint’ by creating handcrafted sustainable fine jewelry in 100% recycled precious metals, fair trade gems, and conflict free diamonds.

C5 Company showcased extraordinary pieces from these designers at the Sustainable Fine Jewelry event at the W Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday March 19th. As each jewel illuminated brightly from each table, it was clear this was not your ordinary jewelry event. The innovative designs, craftsmanship, and intricate details of each piece were spectacular.

Amber Marie Bently’s couture jewelry line, borne of Aruyveda and Eastern cultural influences, resonates a classic, old world charm. Aside from using recycled gold, and sustainably harvested gemstones, Bently carefully selects and interviews each gem dealer to confirm the gems are fair trade and conflict free.

The “Green” goal of Alberto Parada is to educate consumers and jewelry store owners on where product comes from, how it was made, and what effect it has on the environment. By using 100% recycled HARMONY gold, Parada avoids any contribution to environmental destruction and waste caused by precious metal mining. Described as ‘everyday elegance’, Parada’s self-taught design skills has led to receiving the Eco-Friendly Jewelry Design Award, as well as being the featured jewelry designer in the 1st ever Green Fashion Week in Seattle in Oct 2007.

Versatility and simplicity are key components of Dawes Design, created by California local Jennifer Dawes, who started in her own backyard studio. Manufactured locally, Dawes uses responsibly mined stones with recycled precious metals, and conflict free diamonds. Spending an average of 2-3 hours per piece, Dawes’ full collection is designed for ‘stacking’ where you can mix and match different pieces to create unique combinations.

A captivating kiwi green in daylight, and transformation to a luscious brownish-raspberry in incandescent lighting, Zultanite Gems are truly one-of-a kind. Completely untreated, these color changes occur naturally. The mystery behind this lies in the cut of the gems. As noted by top-notch gem carvers in Canada and Asia Pacific, Zultanite gems are intricately cut in the cleavage of the gem, this enables it to shine brighter than most.

Aside from using recycled precious metals, Zultanite Gems’ Owner Murat Akgun ensures these fair trade gems are conflict free; since he owns and operates the mine in Turkey, the origin of these gems. In support of the employees, he provides cash bonuses, social security, benefits, and improved wages ranging from $700-$3000/month (average minimum wage in Turkey is $450). Additionally, Akgun gives the community food and supply donations while continuously building and developing shelters, roads, and schools for the locals.

The work of these amazing designers can all be found at the C5 online boutique. Plus, C5 donates 5% of their sales to Under the Baobab Tree (UTBT), a non-profit organization that provides education and economic opportunities in African communities.

Now, isn't that something to feel good about?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Eco Citizen & Branch Team Up for a Month of Cool

Two of San Francisco's most chic emporiums of sustainable design are teaming up for a highly curated collection of furniture, gifts and housewares. For the month of April, Eco Citizen will feature a "shop within a shop" from Branch, a local online store that sells stylish and sustainable items for the home, including these bunny egg cozies just featured on Ecofabulous. Eco Citizen will also have their collection of highly coveted clothing on display, with designs by Sara Shepherd, Linda Loudermilk, and Jules Elin. Eco Citizen hosts an opening night event on Friday, April 3rd from 6-8PM.