San Francisco, a city perhaps best known for its liberal idealism and
political rebellion, is finally making a bid for influence in the fabulous
affairs of international fashion. Even though the majority San Franciscans
would be inclined to publicly dismiss a preoccupation with style as ‘simply
frivolous’, most secretly worship at the altar of panache. In other
words, closet fashionistas run amok on the steep
hills of San Francisco.
From the Chanel inspired elegance of Russian Hill to the carefully constructed
slapdash punk-rock cool of the Haight, San Francisco
is secretly one of the chicest cities in the US. Numerous distinctive approaches to style
converge here to create a unique concoction of flair. The
first Fashion Week of San Francisco staged at the Palace of Fine Arts
was reflective of this eclecticism.
Colleen Quen jump started the week with a parade of
prim and proper dresses adorned with ruffles, high collars, and butterfly
sleeves. (Fashionlines predicts the designer’s
retro mini capes casually draped over these cute little numbers will
be the must-have item for the fall.) Overall the minimalist simplicity
of Quen’s daywear was a fine juxtaposition against the designer’s
jazzy evening gowns, in bright hues like lemon sorbet, flamenco red,
midnight blue and electric orange. Further, the designer’s flowing
chiffon skirts, smooth silhouettes and inventive cuts were well conceived
and skillfully executed.
Liz Bang’s swimwear line was a refreshing getaway
defined by color and energy. Bang’s playful satin bikinis, sexy
one-pieces, tropical sarongs, cozy terrycloth skirts and ultra short
shorts are just right for getting all the attention at the beach.
Fashionlines has featured reviews of the Rock&Republic line several times before. It is no secret that these rebels without
a cause, hailing form Los Angeles, have an unusual taste for irreverence.
Hence it was no surprise to us when R&R’s scantily clad models,
taking swigs from whisky bottles and smoking on the catwalk, made their
appearances. Denim pants and über-mini jean skirts, matched with
tattered and grease stained shirts, formed the backbone of this collection.
However, significantly more shocking than the clothes were the “accessories” carried
and the attitudes worn on the runway. The male models, whose torsos had
been airbrushed with grey metallic colors-- reminiscent of gunshot wounds--,
sported metal bars and pushed each other around, while the female models
fondled their breasts in sexually suggestive ways. Even though Rock & Republic’s
spectacle was not particularly tasteful it was certainly provocative.
What can we say? After all, all is fair in love and fashion!
The Art Institute of California show featured the work
of several new talents. The looks presented were rather distinctive and
covered a wide scope of individual styles, but in essence they were all
innovative and promising. Fashionlines especially liked
a multihued collage dress with a fitted bodice and papier-mâché skirts.
Besnik’s futuristic creations making ample use
of asymmetrical cuts, plunging necklines, cut-out panels and intricate
details gave San Franciscans a taste of the daringly risqué. The
derriere hugging jersey dresses, see through lace skirt-top ensembles,
lithe satin pants and fearless minis from this collection are definitely
not intended for the timid!
Evarize brought to life the timeless refinement of
Faye Dunaway in the unforgettable movie classic Bonnie & Clyde. By
resuscitating A-line skirts, long gloves, mini faux-fur stoles, and French
berets Evarize transported a transfixed audience to the glam of the 30’s.
Loungewear Betty spiced things up by bringing out the
frills and thrills of intimate wear. Teasing the audience with a procession
of flirty baby dolls, tantalizing knickers and sexy sleepwear Loungewear
Betty reminded us that it is possible to be irresistibly sexy and fashionable
in the bedroom.
Fornarina’s clothes heralded a return to the
bubblegum glamour of the 80s. Rehashing colorful stripes, polka dots,
checkers and floral prints Fornarina’s adorable circle skirts,
skinny Capris and cigarillo trousers revived the vibrant style of the
Like-A-Virgin days. Matched with candy-like accessories and a pair of
lovely pink shoes these retro pieces will allow fashion’s wild
children to have a little fun.
Zilda by Flavia, showed interesting alternatives for
independent career women, who refuse to look mediocre. Zilda’s
sensible two piece skirt suits, pencil skirts, fitted button-down shirts,
three quarter length jackets and chiffon circle skirts are conceived
to make intelligent women look alluringly chic. Devoid of overtly sexual
elements these attires rely on flattering lines and classic elegance
to make a statement.
Christina Hurvis stole the spotlight with her dazzling
evening wear and bridal collections. Working romanticism and poise into
every stitch of her work, this gifted designer brought to mind the effortless
beauty of Grace Kelly.
Hieros’ menswear line was a hunk studded deviation
from the lithe floral prints, elaborate evening pieces, and beautiful
wedding dresses that were ubiquitous throughout the weekend. Hieros constructed
a casually stylish look for modern day metrosexuals by matching colorful
shirts with understated khaki pants.
Lily Samii’s runway show was San
Francisco Fashion Week’s brilliant finale. Ms. Samii’s designs,
set apart by an impressive attention to detail, expert tailoring and
precise cuts, wove a web of runway magic one dress at a time. From the
green sleeveless keyhole dress that introduced the collection to the
more exquisite red carpet gowns, Samii’s work explored all aspects
of lyrical romanticism. Using opulent fabrics to her advantage, this
creative talent crafted luxurious looks reminiscent of Parisian women’s