Arts of Fashion Foundation Emerging Designers Push Boundaries with “Tension”

San Francisco-based non-profit organization, Arts of Fashion Foundation, celebrated the 10th anniversary of its annual student design competition and symposium this weekend, presenting a body of innovative work from students around the world.

Designs by Xiaotian Zhang (Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology), winner of the Arts of Fashion Paris summer MasterClass award. Photo by Margo Moritz.

Held for the first time at the San Francisco Art Institute, the picturesque campus served as the ideal backdrop for a weekend of inspired creativity. The two-day event  featured fashion lectures by designers, educators, and industry experts—including the CFDA’s  Steven Kolb and Arts of Fashion founder Nathalie Doucet—along with fashion exhibitions by emerging designers.

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Charlotte Ronson Spring/Summer ’12 Trunk Show at Azalea Boutique

Top from Charlotte Ronson Spring 2012 collection: Ultra-feminine and all about the details. Photography by Edric Itchon.

While London-born designer Charlotte Ronson has climbed the fashion rank for several years, with major collaborations with Sephora and Uniqlo pushing the brand out into the mainstream as of late, Ronson still manages to maintain that authentic indie vibe that suits San Francisco’s never-too-done aesthetic.

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Macy’s Passport 2011: Bruno Mars, Far East Movement, and Fall Fashion

Bruno Mars at the Orpheum Theatre (Photography by Edric Itchon)

Bringing San Francisco’s fashion forces to their feet on Friday night at the Orpheum Theater, musician Bruno Mars headlined Macy’s annual Passport Presents Glamorama, the annual HIV/AIDS fundraising event that tours four cities across the country in September.

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Why Alexa Chung’s Capsule Collection for Madewell should be called: “Things I like to wear by Alexa Chung.”

It’s always a curiosity meeting celebrities, especially ones you’ve already formed opinions of well before you’ve ever actually ever seen them in person or talked to them. I get a huge kick out of times when I expect someone to be one way, and they turn out to be completely another. Meeting stylesetter Alexa Chung  at Madewell on Thursday night was sort of in that “didn’t expect that” category.

Former MTV host, model, and designer/it girl Alexa Chung at Madewell in San Francisco. Photo by Michelle Drewes.

In town for a personal appearance, on a national tour,  to fete the launch of her sophomore capsule collection for the prep-meets-indie-hipster retailer, the 27-year-old model/host/designer/it girl surprised me with her quirky personality (at one point she was doing the Charleston in between signing autographs) and her rather relaxed attitude (she’s a New York transplant but didn’t seem the least bit rushed even as crowds were hovering during our couch interview).

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New York Fashion Week Street Style

As seen on sfgate.com’s Unzipped September 21, 2011.

Manhattan’s Lincoln Center Plaza was a veritable feast for the eyes throughout New York Fashion Week with stylish guests, who were busy on their smart phones or hailing cabs, dressed in bright pops of color and playful prints. Even in the unseasonably hot fall weather, a gaggle of industrious fashion bloggers—cameras in tow—lingered each day outside the theater awaiting the sartorial parade to begin.

Erin Gee, 27, Vancouver, and Niki Blasina, 26, Vancouver.

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For trendy lush eyelash look, the options abound

As seen in the San Francisco Chronicle September 18, 2011

Lashfully Lounge in Cow Hollow district, SF. Photo courtesy of Lashfully

Nerissa Pacio Itchon, Special to The Chronicle

 
Call it the Kim Kardashian effect.

National mascara sales are on the upswing; salons specializing in lash extensions are hitting critical mass; doctor’s offices and cosmetics companies are finding big business in lash growth serums; and semi-permanent mascaras are picking up steam, proving that women are willing to try almost anything to achieve the lush, defined, cheek-grazing lashes that the reality TV stars have helped usher in as the beauty standard for the Tinseltown set.

“It all started with the media and celebrities endorsing prescription Latisse,” says Liv Contreras, a veteran licensed aesthetician and co-owner of Lashfully beauty lounge in the Cow Hollow district. “Then the Kardashians were the ones to really bling out lashes, making strip lashes, extensions and the whole lash trend even more popular.”

As Hollywood-averse as San Franciscans may seem, city dwellers have been quick to jump on the lash bandwagon. Lashfully, which Contreras opened almost 10 months ago with former client Matana LePlae, is one of at least a dozen lash-centric salons that have popped up recently in San Francisco, feeding the growing demand for lash enhancements.

Since the opening of Lash Lab nearly two years ago, bookings at the Cow Hollow salon have doubled to an average of eight to 10 clients per day, says 31-year-old owner Judy Anderson. Her team of five full-time licensed aestheticians focuses solely on lash extensions, and appointments fill up nearly four weeks in advance.

Although lash extensions have been around for decades, the service is starting to go mainstream with increasingly more options available. For women willing to spend the time and the money, it remains a popular, if not a downright luxurious, service.

When done properly, the painstaking process requires a licensed aesthetician to use precision-point needle tweezers and medical-grade glue to attach synthetic, animal or real human hair extensions to each lash. Devotees say the results are worth it.

“I love getting a look I can’t get by simply using mascara,” says Elena Greco, director of brand relations at San Francisco-based online beauty community Beautylish, who visits a salon for lash extensions every two to three weeks. “Also, I like the option of waking up and walking out the door without having to apply eye makeup.”

To read the rest of this story, go to the Sunday Style section on sfgate.com.

New York Fashion Week Accessories: Crowd Favorites

Aside from the obvious attraction of being among the first to view the new spring/summer 2012 collections on the runway, Fashion Week is truly inspiring for the parade of fashion that goes by in the crowds—on the street and especially in the shows. I’m always drawn to accessories and how people express their creativity, stepping up a great outfit to the level of truly fabulous. I’ll have a post up this week for the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Unzipped blog on street style trends I spotted on the Lincoln Center plaza, but for now… Here are some snapshots of show-goers I saw sporting some of the most covetable accessories of the season.

Perfectly pretty bow at Herve Leger by Max Azria

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NY Fashion Week: More lines, Central Park, and Scenes from 9/11

Today’s the first morning I’ve had all week to really sit down, look at all the images my husband Edric and I have been taking…and write. I needed to pull out for an hour and get some kind of semblance of my normal routine in San Francisco, so I went for a long  run in Central Park, grabbed a breakfast sandwich at a liquor-store-deli after, (which had a line out the door–so I figured it must be cheap and/or good!), and stopped for a Starbucks iced coffee (it’s pushing 80 degrees with high humidity).

A view from my run this morning through Central Park.

 

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Tracy Reese’s Nature-Inspired Collection and NYC on 9/11

Tracy Reese was the first show I attended this week at the Lincoln Center Theater, and it happened to fall on 9/11. I was curious to see what might be in store for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy in the U.S. city hit the hardest.

Sunflower print blouse, cropped high-waisted pant, and mustard anorak by Tracy Reese. Photography by Edric Itchon.

 

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Parachuting into New York Fashion Week: Backstage and Beyond

I parachuted into New York Fashion Week on Saturday, with the Spring/Summer 2012  shows already under way. So far, the collections I’ve seen have proven to be playful, exciting, and colorful—all that you’d expect from the season.

Backstage tonight at Marc by Marc Jacobs.

 

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