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Photographs by Winston Swift Boyer

On May 25 th, San Francisco hosted a fashion congregation, second to none. As the world of moda watched, celebrated designers, editors, and retailers gathered in this spectacular city to watch the fashion students at the San Francisco Academy of Art University showcase brilliant collections.



The man of the moment was Azzedine Alaïa, legendary for his form fitting creations sculpted out of elastic fabrics. Flying in from Paris to handpick an apprentice from the Academy’s graduating class, Alaïa confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that SF fashion is a force to be reckoned with.

Following the dazzling defilé de mode, distinguished guests were received at the Farallon Restaurant by Professor Patrick Suppes, his wife, publisher and editor in chief Christine Suppes and the Academy for a candle lit dinner, highlighted by impeccable style, delightful conversation and blood-red roses and peonies.



Azzedine Alaïa and his long time friend, Carla Sozzani of Milan’s supreme boutique, 10 Corso Como, were the guests of honor. While the dynamic duo illuminated the room with a powerful presence, the guests surrounding them enjoyed culinary delights, fashion talk and each other’s company.

The witty fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, Suzy Menkes was among the notable guests. Highly respected in the industry as a candid voice with a sharp tongue, Ms. Menkes lived up to expectations, wowing avid listeners, including Merces Freemon, with candid opinions and critiques.



Dear friends Ralph Rucci and former supermodel Tatiana Sorokko were also in attendance. Following the opening of his new painting exhibit at the Sorokko Gallery and his new boutique in Neiman Marcus, Mr. Rucci beamed with delight. Next to the glamorous Tatiana, striking in a floor length Alaïa caftan, sat SF society ace Denise Hale, considered by many to be one of the best dressed women in the country. Also at this table was Susan Casden of Los Angeles and, James Galanos, renowned couturier to Nancy Reagan. Humble and gentlemanly to the core, Mr. Galanos, replied, “Here, I am in the presence of other great designers like Mr. Alaïa and Mr. Rucci,” when retailer extraordinaire, Wilkes Bashford, proposed a toast in his honor.



Harper's Bazaar Editor in chief Glenda Bailey shared a table with Christine Suppes, as well as Leah Garchick, Vanessa Getty, Marilyn Kirschner and Peter Price. Deeply moved by SF’s fashion icon Jane Gillespie, once a Paris correspondent for Vogue as well as a beloved friend to Coco Chanel, Bailey was overheard telling the forever chic Ms. Gillespie that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York would be very interested in her wardrobe, rumored to contain pieces hand-tailored by the unforgettable Mademoiselle Chanel.


Indeed, the Academy presence in the room was the main cause for celebration. As the eminent illustrator and Fashion Director Gladys Perint Palmer asked all Academy affiliates to rise, the audience hailed the rising fashion warriors with a thunderous applause. It was utterly poignant that Simon Ungless, Director of Graduate Fashion and an inspiration all design students, shyly remained seated. Indeed, just as University President, Dr. Elisa Stephens described it, the true stars of the evening were the relentless workers who had made the Academy fashion show a reality.


The evening was undoubtedly a star studded affair. Hosting some of the greatest names in the fashion industry, the Suppes and the Academy of Art University had celebrated an art form that gives many lives true meaning in elegant style.

Fashion is an incurable disease, igniting the souls of chosen individuals. Otherwise, how could we explain getting up every morning to strive for excellence in every word written, every garment made and every student educated?

Read about the show >



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