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Oct 08th
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The Thistle in the Kiss

AE_Stripe_Fashion_ThistleLocal designers team up for a fashion show at Stripe
Roughed up hair, gorgeous painted faces, ruffled frocks, modern, cutting-edge leather accessories—it all makes for the type of fashion shoot you’d see in Vogue magazine. Or, you can just walk down the street and see such innovative fashionable concepts come to life at Stripe, as the one-year-old popular clothing and housewares boutique in Downtown Santa Cruz, debuts its first runway show at 8 p.m. Friday, July 9 at 107 Walnut Ave. (Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets are $10.)

What makes this fashion show different than some of its predecessors in town is that the team behind it have been planning this project for months, and they’re going for genuine fashion—no thesis student art projects here—rather, you’re going to get a taste of something you might find at Bryant Park during fashion week in New York, meaning that this is indeed something you’ve never seen before in Santa Cruz.

In the spotlight, dressing a stream of endless beauties, is local designer Alexis Meschi, who GT dubbed Santa Cruz’s “It Girl” when we met her earlier this year and learned about the inspired designer, who’s also a mom to three young girls. Meschi is the creative force behind her one-woman company, Lex Designs, and her work has gained attention in town for its romantic, modern, vintage-looking aesthetic. She creates ruffled shirts, flowing dresses, peasant blouses, modern skirts, pleated purses and much more. Meschi has designed an entire new collection specifically for this fashion show, which has been titled, “The Thistle in the Kiss.” (The name of the show captures the aforementioned fashionable essence of “roughed up beautiful.”) Each of her pieces will be on sale following the show. There’s a purple dress with rows of spiraling ruffles (in different purple hues) that looks like it just got shipped in from a major fashion house—yes, it’s that pretty. There’s a flowing white gown with cinching and pleats that could be a knock-out party dress, an informal wedding gown, or a chic summer frock. And there’s much more.

Accompanying every item that Meschi has designed will be remarkable accessories by Nuala, a line created by Terry McInerney, also a local mom who doubles as a master craftswoman and creates purses, clutches, cuffs, and a whole lot more, all out of leather that would otherwise have been thrown away. McInerney’s work has been in demand at Stripe, but the designer has taken her style to another level. GT recently got a glimpse at something that’s sure to have fashionistas fighting over—it’s a thick, brown leather cuff, with an asymmetrical finished edge, some hardware, and a functioning watch smack in the middle of it. It’s rough and beautiful (and so is the rest of her line), just like a thistle in the kiss.

And topping things off will be jewelry designs by the masterminds behind Stripe—owner Suna Lock, buyer and manager Dana Norrell, and employees Julianne Castro and Leda St. John. Already known for their knack at creating an eclectic and romantic line of their own jewelry, these designs will round out the fashion show with aplomb.

Mixing together such diverse creations including ruffles, leather and vintage jewelry, requires the skill of someone who comprehends fashion, its malleability, and its need to also be cohesive at the same time. That person is Castro, who is spearheading the show—which has been an enormous but thrilling undertaking.

“We realized that we had a lot of talent in the store coming from local designers … and we thought … let’s put them all together and have a fashion show,” Castro says. “This benefits our local designers. … There is so much creativity and art in Santa Cruz, and we hope that people will get excited about fashion … and realize that there’s talent everywhere. It doesn’t have to be Gucci or Prada. Your next door neighbor could be just as creative and talented.”

Castro goes on to explain that while some people might view fashion as material and wasteful spending, she counters that argument and explains that it’s another type of art, “and a form of self-expression. I don’t think [a fashion show] is any different than watching a live band or going to see a movie. It’s someone’s creative, inspired idea that they are manifesting to share with the world. … This is different than anything people have seen in Santa Cruz before.”

The Thistle in the Kiss fashion show by Stripe is at 8 p.m. Friday, July 9, at 107 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz. Doors open at 6 p.m. (Come early for appetizers and drinks, and to secure a good vantage point.) Tickets are $10. Live music by local band Tether Horse. For more information, visit or 421-9252 or visit

Comments (2)Add Comment
written by Karen R, July 01, 2010
The Stripe team is brilliant and the show is going to be extrodinary! Good luck ladies smilies/grin.gif
written by Deva B., July 01, 2010
Sounds like a really fun, fashion forward event for Santa Cruz!

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