SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR Gavin Newsom as one of the special guests
in attendance, the Gen Art "Fresh Faces in Fashion" show
began with a formidable and solid start on October 15 at the Regency
Center in San Francisco. The twice-yearly fashion show presented
four emerging designers chosen from over 150 entries submitted to
the non-profit arts group which showcases up-and-coming talent in
fashion, film, art and music. Featuring their respective spring
2005 collections, here are this fall’s selected rising stars within
the fashion realm.
Kicking off the show was none other than Christopher Enuke’s
Oligo Tissew spring 2005 collection. A Gen Art alumnus, Enuke is
famous in the LA fashion scene with
his Oliver Twist line, dressing for stars like Lenny Kravitz. Ever
the eccentric, passionate artist that he is, Enuke’s designs were
definitely wearable in the casual-chic mode, with his red signature
back pocket stitching branding some of his denim pieces.
Paired with slinky knit sweaters, his unusual
detailing stood out in strategic areas, such as placing slimming
darts in the knee area or contrast stitching on the jeans cuff.
One interesting piece that Enuke featured was a denim miniskirt
that had a thin layer of tulle underneath to put a girlish yet punky
twist to the overall look. All in all, the spring collection is
a refreshing departure from all the deep dark hues we’ve been used
to seeing for the current season.
Latifa’s spring 2005 designs pays homage to an organic, natural
world that inspired the volumes and silhouettes of the hand-finished
silks and finely felted wools of her collection. Self-described
as an extended reflection on our relation with the natural world
her pieces also serve as a formal interaction between nature and
the human physique.
One great example of that is the sumptuous Peacock
hand-painted felted merino skirt with the matching Shantung silk
bustier. Another beautifully wrought dress was Latifa’s dramatically
black Decoupé dress, made with felted, laced cut-out merino
and taffeta sillk. The showstopper of her entire collection was
the felted merino ivory wedding dress. Its clean, simple lines with
a laced découpé effect conveyed an elegant image of
soon-to-be matrimonial bliss. If I were to wear such a dress, I’d
totally want to get married in a redwood forest, pretending to be
a fairy princess bride. As a newcomer, this designer is definitely
one to watch for in the near future.
One of the best surprises of the evening was the raw yet refined
presentation of Tressa Williams’ Fierce Couture collection. Not
just for fetish fashion connoisseurs, Williams’ designs are actually
quite wearable for the fashionista seeking an edgy look to complete
her wardrobe. Her dramatic evening gowns, skirts and dresses focused
on sweeping graphic lines and bold colour contrasts.
Using asymmetric designs in the vivid palette
of black, white and red Latex, they are truly sexy garments that
are made to draw attention to the wearer. One of my favourite pieces
was her black and white Latex floor-length halter gown. The tailored
cut of the entire piece clung to every curve of the model’s physique,
oozing sensuality with each step she took down the runway. Another
great piece was the red and black diamond detail gown. I am not
a real fan of latex-based garments, but after watching the Fierce
Couture show, Williams gets a big thumbs-up from me.
Well-known in San Francisco’s fashion industry, Roger Alan’s
Hieros line was the only menswear collection being presented for
the entire show. Having mentored many local designers in the past,
Alan finally decided to focus on his own creations, which became
his Hieros spring 2005 line.
Consisted of fitted shapes to put an edgier spin
on the casual–sporty theme, his stretch button-down shirts were
sharp and bold with contrast details. The lavender stripe shirt
with contrast placket was really smart-looking paired with a lavender
shirt with a super collar and cuffs, which was then completed with
herringbone denim jeans. The pink stripe cowboy shirt was another
new look, which was nicely contrasted with white pants with besom
welted pockets. For a snazzier look, the tan gabardine jacket and
pinstripe wool pant ensemble worked very well to create a slightly
more dramatic aura. With such creative vision, I am hoping Alan
will continue to be an influence in the local fashion scene.
Following the Hieros show was newcomer Cari Borja. A believer
in adding an element of drama to each of her creations, Borja’s
theme for the spring consisted of combinations of slinky satins
and heavy brocades.
Her pieces had just the right splash of colour
by incorporating contrast stitching in a few of her garments. This
is evident in Borja’s cloud blue peau de soie double ruffle
skirt with brown contrast stitching and rosettes. It is dramatic
enough to go partying, yet functional enough to also wear it to
a soirée beforehand. The bronze satin gown with quince satin
jacquard godets was another standout from her line, shimmering with
flowy lines of fabric. The winner of her collection was the gorgeous
ruby red satin gown with amethyst plaid jacquard panels, which had
a smoky glamour to the entire piece. With all these beautiful gowns,
one can hardly wait for Borja’s next season’s offerings.
If I were to wear such a
dress, I’d totally want to get married in a redwood forest, pretending
to be a fairy princess bride
ABOVE: Erika Gessin of Mystery Girl Productions and friend;
Mayor Gavin Newsom with the author.
Bell by Alicia Bell
Rounding out the stellar ensemble of designers was Alicia Bell,
who put a feminine and elegant finish by presenting her Bell spring
2005 line. Another Gen Art alumna, Bell featured French tulle and
laces, evoking girlish daydreams of romance and whimsy. One truly
feels like a modern-day princess when you slip into one of Bell’s
rich silk tweed suits, which consisted of a tailored jacket paired
with an A-line skirt. A sexier variation of that ensemble had a
mini-skirt instead of the chaste A-line. Bell’s line also featured
a girlish French cotton tulle and lace evening dress with a butterfly
brooch, which was by far my favourite piece from the entire collection.
With a vintage twist to her look, Bell’s fabulous creations made
me want to flirt and dance all night …•
Tami Yu is a special correspondent for Lucire,
working with San Francisco editor Catherine Rigod.