Northside SF  

The Stylehound
Bay Area designers shine at San Francisco Fashion Week
From summer to fall and back again

By Alison Dunn

Black lace is a popular feature in the feminine designs from local designer
Vintage Joy
photo: Mario Esco

San Francisco Fashion Week has returned. After an unfortunate two-year hiatus due to lack of sponsorships, the year’s event, aptly named “The Reinvention,” made its debut the last weekend in July at the new Vitaminwater Social Club, a pop-up venue in North Beach. Produced by the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance Inc., it was an a not-to-be-missed event.
Friday night’s ready-to-wear show began with, a Sausalito-based online retailer, presenting a collection of their website’s hottest designers: Clu, a brand known for their soft and silky knits, showed an array of draped jersey suitable for work or play, andGenerra demonstrated that jackets continue to be strong with their faultless white trench, perfect for the temperate climate of San Francisco. Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent was an array of playful slip dresses in all colors of the rainbow.
Dresses with intricate lace overlay and feminine cinched waists shown by Vintage Joy had me rethinking my own simple, silk minidress that I had so carefully chosen for the night. Designer Joy Fan showed that adding a vintage brooch, or letting the scallopedhem of a slip peek out beneath a dress is a great way to bring any look up to date. Models in fedoras from Oakland-based Work Clothes proved that hats are still strong for the upcoming season — fitting for our city that sees its first rays of summer in September. Their novel approach to the fun flavors of summer (think ice-cream-cone printed cover-ups and boyish suspenders paired with Bermuda shorts) was the perfect conclusion to Friday night’s show.
Saturday’s avant-garde collection was bold, creative and culled from a chosen group of San Francisco’s best in emerging designers. Kathryn McCarron proved that knitwear can be sexy. Red lace popped against oversized Flashdance-era grey jersey. Looking ahead tonext season, sporty looks are still strong, but with a feminine twist. You still can wear your grey jersey but don’t forget to pair it with your black kitten heels.Although black, fashion’s most loyal color, dominated the night, 18-year-old Alyssa Nicole went against the grain by showing a collection of pink party dresses suitable for any girl vying to be the belle of the ball. Layers of cotton-candy-colored tulle bounced across the runway filled with models sporting sweet updos and fuchsia stained lips. Embrace this pink revival — these splashes of color will make those neutrals that we have been stocking up on since early spring really pop.
The collection from Chan.nel Karama Ltd. by S.F. native LC Skinner was certainlynot for the faint at heart. Gravity-defying shoulders, vinyl distressed leggings, über-tight iridescent minidresses — office wear it was not. On its own, each piece (minus the show-stopping black-netted face mask worn by one model) was surprisinglyvery wearable. The puffed-sleeve jacket could be worn over a simple tank with cigarette pants that would easily translate to a date-night outfit, while the sheer cutout dresses could be layered with a belted menswear-inspired cardigan to create a modern look.
With all of this exciting, new inspiration from Fashion Week, what does this mean for our own closets? With fall soon upon us, we hope to have many sun-filled days under bright blue skies. While the rest of the country is ready to don thigh-high leather boots, our challenge here in figuring out how to stay on trend while keeping all of the wintrywool at bay. Fortunately there are still ways to keep it cooland still look like you are part of the season. Rather than buying a camel-colored wool coat (the must-have piece for fall 2010), opt for a lightweight camel capelet instead. Try open toed shoes with a matching stocking to give the illusion of a boot, which will offer your feet the necessary breathing room should the temperature rise above 80 degrees. Orwear your favorite motorcycle jacket with a lightweight dress to get that chic rock ’n’ roll vibe without the weight of heavylayers underneath. The hardest part? Resisting the urge to buy all that fall fashion has to offer!

Alison Dunn lives in the Marina. A reformed shopaholic, she now shops her own closet and writes about fashion’s latest must-haves instead of buying them. Contact her through


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