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Fashion Forward

AE_fashion1RoseSelleryFashionART Santa Cruz Runway Show may be the most enchanting fashion spectacle in town
The style conscious among us have just spent the last few days reveling in the razzle-dazzle of the New York Fashion Week runway shows that stream oh so glamorously across the Internet. We have been accosted with everything from Derek Lam’s ’60s-inspired minimalism to Charlotte Ronson’s ladylike grunge, the likes of which have been touted as the new staples we simply must possess in our closets come spring 2011. But as the ostentatious hullabaloo of New York Fashion Week dies down, what is a fashion-minded girl to do without the prospect of another runway show until the London Fashion Week commences in mid-October? Local fashionistas need not resort to a three-week period of melancholy because Santa Cruz has a chic extravaganza of its own to fill the gap.

The FashionART Santa Cruz Runway Show—now in its fifth year—cleverly combines fashion and art to create a matchless mélange of style and design. The best and the brightest of the local fashion and art scene coalesce to give outsiders a glimpse into their unparalleled creative zones. Wearable art combines tastefully with multimedia and couture pieces to create a fashion show vaudeville of sorts. This year, four fashion designers and 15 artists will be participating, marking 2010 as the largest FashionART show yet. “We have so much support from the community,” says Melissa Johnson, event coordinator for the FashionART Runway Show. “Definitely every year the designers have developed, making every year bigger and better.”

AE_fashion2MichelAngeIn fact, the fantastical production planned for this year blows the first year’s show right out of the water. The man responsible for the yearly fervor that is the FashionART Runway Show is Angelo Grova, owner of the renowned MichaelAngelo Gallery and live-in artist studios on River Street. “The first year we had the event, we held the show at the MichaelAngelo Gallery,” Grova shares. “We had about 700 people attend in the parking lot. But last year over 2,000 people attended when it was held at the Civic.” Considering the lengths taken to ensure that this, the five-year anniversary show, is the best yet, Grova anticipates that this year’s attendance will surpass that of last year.

Sure, this is Santa Cruz and not exactly a fashion capital, but before you naysay fashion as a peripheral aspect in the scheme of life, you should know that this particular show is fashion for a cause. Revenue from raffle ticket sales will be entirely donated to Los Amigos de los Ninos (Friends of the Children)—a nonprofit organization that sends reading programs into local grade schools and also assists challenged children and children recovering from abuse. “Considering all the funding that’s been cut [in California] it is a very relevant program,” Johnson explains. Last year, FashionART Santa Cruz raised over $2,500 for Los Amigos de los Ninos, a sum they hope will be even higher this year.

AE_fashion3CharlotteKrukTina Brown, a local personal stylist, is the designer coordinator for this year’s show. Her experience stems from gigs including working on runways in San Francisco for the likes of Giorgio Armani and the Museum of Modern Art. “There’s nothing like the excitement backstage before the show,” Brown says eagerly. She goes on to share that there are four designers in this year’s show, each with a completely individual aesthetic. “The styles are very different from each other,” Brown explains. “We have one designer from Brazil who is doing very organic pieces that are made from Brazilian fishing nets, one who’s doing more classic shapes from tweed and faux fur, another doing gorgeous plus size jersey dresses in silk, and the last is doing one of a kind recycled pieces,” she concludes.

The show is called FashionART, meaning that the 15 artists participating will make up a bulk of the presentation. Genres as diverse as installation art, ceramics, jewelry design, wearable sculptures, photography, mixed media and painting will be represented in the show, and creatively interspersed with fashion, lighting, video and music to create an audiovisual feast.

The pool of talented artists and designers that participate in FashionART are culled from a wide array of locales—both locally, in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the state. Whether it be local trunk shows, art student graduation shows or artists in residence at MichaelAngelo Gallery, the team of FashionART coordinators always has their eyes and ears open to rising stars with a blossoming talent. “Each year it has been getting better and more refined, with more people involved,” Brown says matter of factly. With a handful of participants going on to do both national and international fashion and art shows, you can be sure that the participants in FashionART Santa Cruz are high caliber. “There’s really no other event like this in Santa Cruz County, so more fashion designers and buyers are starting to come. More of the community is involved in the show every year.”

Brace yourself Santa Cruz—the FashionART Runway Show may not yet have the clout of the fashion scene in fashion capitals such as New York, London, Paris or Milan, but the overall aesthetic is undeniably infused with a laid-back flair that is perfection for our beachside way of living. Fishing net dress anyone?


FashionART Santa Cruz 2010 Runway Show is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Trunk show immediately follows. VIP tickets, which include a VIP reception, wine and hors d’oeuvres, gift bags, reserved runway seating and an after party invitation to Café Lucio, are available through fashionartsantacruz.com. Buy tickets at the door or online at santacruztickets.com. For more information, visit fashionartsantacruz.com.
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