Photos by Kondrya Photography

Signature Styles

Over the past few years, Sacramento has grown into what I lovingly refer to as “A City of Weeks.” We’re always eager to support local businesses and artisans by attending hour-long, day-long or even week-long extravaganzas based around some of our favorite things: cocktails, beer, coffee and food (I’m lookin’ at you, Bacon Week). And as it celebrated its 10th year, Sacramento Fashion Week was no exception.
Launched in 2006 as a way to highlight and bridge gaps between the fashion industry and emerging designers, models and stylists, SACFW has provided an opportunity for newcomers to work alongside seasoned professionals, gain exposure and stimulate the economic growth of Sacramento fashion. Similar to New York Fashion Week, SACFW was a seven-day event with daily forums, boutique shows, model boot camps and beauty workshops all in the spirit of high fashion. The end of the week was the culmination of these events, with showcases featuring looks from each season.

I was honored to attend the weekend Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter showcases, which were located in a warehouse across from a strip club on Richards Boulevard (yeah, I thought that was weird, too, but it worked out), feeling slightly silly in my vintage blouse with a discreet coffee stain and a blazer that was Target circa 2010—nonetheless I was eager to see what the designers had in store for me. After I snagged a few delicious mini cupcakes and macarons generously provided by Ettore’s, I soaked in the weekend’s festivities and came up with a list of the top 10 looks. Sorry I ate all the sweets, guys. Kind of…

It did not take long to realize why Ettore’s had a delicious set-up of free cupcakes and macarons in the lounge area. Not only were they sponsors for SACFW, they also collaborated with the first designer of the Spring/Summer showcase, Yennie Zhou, to create a dress and headpiece made of layers of sugar flowers and macarons. Modeled by none other than the wife of Ettore himself, Meggan Rush-Ravazzolo, this elaborate and corseted dress was an architectural masterpiece and perhaps the star of the entire weekend. And let me just say: it takes a bold woman to balance a massive cake on her head. While not a functional piece, the dress resonated with what the MC, Bethany Crouch, said during the intermission on Friday, “If you’re wearing it, own it.”

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Nina Brown’s “Brownskin” line of stretchy retro-inspired sportswear wowed me with the way she played up the Pantone Colors of the Year for 2016—pink (“rose quartz”) and blue (“serenity”). I absolutely loved this pink jumpsuit with a halter strap and white and blue sashes tied to the waist. It brought to mind a ‘70s roller rink on a Friday night. Her other pieces were made of similar color tones and open necklines, making me eager
for summer.

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As they energetically sashayed down the runway, GoldMark had an array of fun pieces that somehow managed to make burlap look comfortable enough to dance the night away while wearing. While the piece I chose here is not a dress, I can see dancing the night away in these cream silk trousers with the colorful wrap blouse. The long train accentuated the model’s movements and created a vision of the carefree spirit and the designer’s mission: to find inspiration in the parts of life least expected.

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Daniel Laukat’s line made me gasp. And I’m not the type to get all bleary eyed over a dress, but his stunning wedding frocks drummed up some serious nostalgia for me; they reminded me of … my grandma. Each piece was delicately upcycled from heirloom laces and fabrics—it was as though every model was wearing their grandmother’s gown from the ‘20s. With a modern fit and whimsical flower pattern, this gown is highlighted by a fringed and perfectly draped shawl. I said I would never get married, but if it means getting to wear one of Laukat’s dresses, I don’t know … any takers?

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Francis Wright, aka “The Queen’s Chair,” delighted me with these high-waisted pants made from heavy and ornate fabric that reminded me of the decorator fabrics in San Francisco’s garment district that I could never afford, but drooled over anyway. The deep hues were accentuated with a gauzy, sheer top that creates a unique silhouette, and perhaps the best feature of this outfit was the accessory: an oversized red bag that begs to be taken on a weekend adventure on the railways.

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Latiya Gholar’s line featured stunning pieces that combined Islamic cultural dress with American cultural dress. The women were covered from head to toe in fabulously movable fabrics ranging from peaches and creams to bold reds and blacks, each accented with gathered silk gloves. As they drifted and danced around each other like graceful swans, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the mesmerizing piece here in airy layers of creamy fabrics, accentuated by a golden belt and shimmery accents; the traditional hijab was modernized with pearl beads that made the wearer seem like a beautifully mysterious princess.

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Just when I thought I couldn’t be more surprised by the theatrical nature of a dress made of confections, Lena Trotsko’s line took the runway by storm—all of her pieces were inspired by Malificent. Models were transformed into the mistress of evil, with long black hair perfectly twisted upward toward the sky to form those iconic horns. The hair and makeup may have been whimsical, but the pieces themselves were elegant and functional; flowing black evening gowns, fitted silk cocktail dresses and feathered bustiers in deep purples and blues were complemented by dramatic capes. While I would wear any of these pieces, the one I loved the most was this gorgeous floor-length purple dress where dark meets light: the deep purple contrast of the dramatic neckline contrasted with the soft purple pleated skirt striped down the middle. While the feather headdress isn’t necessarily great for every day, this ensemble would be a showstopper at any cocktail party. Cape optional.

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Mai Vang’s line was one of the most ready-to-wear of the Fall/Winter showcase, with sporty asymmetrical frocks that could easily be taken from the office to a night on the town. In intense primary blues, each piece had delicate appliqué flowers playfully accentuating the necklines and hems. The dress I chose featured one of the details that I noticed throughout the weekend’s showcases: playful necklines and peephole shoulders. I loved the way the flowers added an extra feminine touch to this springy dress.

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Jumpsuits aren’t going anywhere. They’re versatile, easy to wear and can be worn year-round when paired with the right accents. So I loved the way Karisa Gold put her own elegant spin on the pant jumpsuit with wide legs and a high neckline. This piece was all business in the front and a party in the back with a deep V-cut and side cut that lent a nice feminine balance to the tailored masculine silhouette and long leg.

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While most of the designers stuck to primary colors and textures, Eshonna Trice offered a breath of fresh air with her line of pixelated color block prints and fearlessly hip-hugging dresses that made me swoon. The color block dress I chose had unique mesh panel arms that truly accentuate and celebrate curves. Black leather gloves added a little extra sass to the splashes of color this look brought to the showcase.

    Mollie Hawkins

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    Sometimes I read comic books and pretend I'm impervious to danger. Then I spill coffee on myself.