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March 16, 2007

Fashion Week Live - Gorgeous in San Francisco

Last night's Fashion Week Live event measured-up to all of the glamorous hype and advertising. As I explained in yesterday's post, the event featured a variety of American designers and highlighted models Naomi Campbell and Gemma Ward. Two other big name models in the show included Tyrese and Alek Wek. As nothing of this scale had ever been attempted in San Francisco (to my knowledge), cars piled up in the sunny Marina in anticipation of the well publicized fashion spectacle.

Bright lights, cameras galore, loud, booming 80's music remixed with a deep bass dance undertone, and Fort Mason became home to a thundering, flattering bazaar of fall's most glittering fashion designs. Peter Som headlined the event; local designers Colleen Quen and Lily Samii also presented designs. All three were present. Other designers included, roughly in order, Marc Jacobs, Anne Klein, Badgley Mischka, Tuleh, Jovovich-Hawk, Kim Jones, Isaac Mizrahi, Ellen Tracy, Chaiken, Nicole Miller, Derek Lam, Luca Luca, Nanette Lepore, Zac Posen, Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, Heatherette, Tracy Reese, Charles Nolan, John Varvatos, Rag & Bone, adampluseve, John Bartlett, Thakoon, Tory Burch, Chado Ralph Rucci, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Zegna, Michael Kors and Naeem Khan.

Several familiar faces from the San Francisco social and philanthropy scene attended, including Vanessa Getty and my personal choice for best dressed woman in 2006, Karen Caldwell. Apparently SFluxe agrees with me. An active member of the San Francisco Ballet Auxilliary, I learned yesterday from Karen that she's also mother of two boys, leaving me even more impressed as she always looks amazing.

My fashion compatriot, Melissa Black Palacek, local stylist (whose clients include both moms and dads, I learned), and I arrived just as the champagne pre-party was becoming packed. We downed some delicious appetizers served by the nicest catering staff I've ever met, then spent a bit of time people-watching as we sipped our bubbly waiting for the show to start. Not surprisingly, most attendees chose black dresses, the majority of which were well-selected. As usual, a few women selected shoes they couldn't quite navigate, so the intended effect of their ensembles was ruined by their inability to walk.

Some concoctions left us baffled - such as a blue vinyl micro mini and a cream ruffled gown - but for the most part, this crowd knew how to dress. And it was refreshing to see so many well-dressed men in attendance, I might add. Although I have to note that one man was wearing the same exact fabric in his shirt as I had two years ago in a maternity blouse.

SV moms wanted to know what we chose to wear. Knowing the fashion crowd in SF can show-up in anything from jeans to couture, I aimed for the middle ground with a Nicole Miller black skirt, a black and white print blouse, vintage Banana Republic (for Pamela H) metallic belt, my trusty black leather Manolo Blahnik slingbacks and classic, can't go wrong, black "caviar" Chanel handbag. Melissa wore a wool peasant-style tunic by French designer Manoush, with Italian over the knee socks and brown suede flat heeled boots.

As eight o'clock approached, show staff invited us into the main tent where a white runway spanned the length of an Olympic pool, surrounded by several rows of black seating on both sides. Since we procured our tickets early, Melissa and I sat centrally on an aisle, just a few rows from the front. The view couldn't have been better. First down the runway, Naomi Campbell sauntered in a sleep Marc Jacobs black knit dress, fitting her curves beautifully.

The initial segment of the show highlighted "black and white", featuring an Anne Klein cream and black ensemble, a gorgeous black wool coat by Michael Kors, a skirt by Isaac Mizrahi that resembled a crossed sheepdog and poodle. That one didn't quite make my shopping list for fall. Yaz and Eurythmics dance blends filled the pavilion as the models traversed the runway with ease and style. Hats abounded, along with svelte, long gloves. The show lasted nearly an hour with other sections featuring color, day, cocktail and evening attire.

Highlights of the show for us were pretty much everything by Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. I wanted to take home Chaiken's high-waisted, gray wool pants and Derek Lam's denim skirt. Melissa liked the glitzy cuffs and Luca Luca pieces. Gemma Ward, who is phenomenally gorgeous in person, took my breath way at the end of the show in a black gown by Zac Posen. It looked as if it was made of paper mache and had wings and a flowing, ruffled tail.

Although the show primarily profited its IMG World parent company, Children of Shelters benefited some from the event. Sponsors included Sephora, Mercedes Benz, Swarovski, and DHL. The gift bag, heavier than a backpack full of books, contained tons of make-up and skincare products by Stila, Bliss, Sephohra, Dr. Perricone and Cosmedicine, a bland Mercedes Benz Fashion Week golf shirt, notepads by DHL, blingy Swarovski keychain and a giant catalog from Saks. That's the one area where the event could have been improved.

For thirsty fashion watchers, this event served as a pitcher full of juicy eye candy and the audience was nearly as fun to watch as the catwalk. Since all of the clothes featured were from fall/winter 2007 collections, it will be interesting to see which of the pieces from the show will end up in San Francisco as August comes around. Overall, Fashion Week Live was the best fashion show I've ever seen and definitely worth the time, travel and money to attend. I'll be in line next year if they return to the Bay Area.


Sarah Granger's next fashion report will be following Jr. League of San Francisco annual fashion show next Saturday. Coming soon is her fall/winter 2007 fashion trends list at sairy.com, and look out for her new fashion blog, produced with Beth B. launching soon!


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