Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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December 9, 2007
'Paparazzi & Pumps' a shining success

Cole Garcia photograph

A standing-room-only crowd of fashion-hungry folks were treated to what can best be described as a "Wow!" show Friday night at Faces nightclub in midtown.

That's when the work of five local designers took to an elevated catwalk at the "Paparazzi & Pumps" show. (I was told more than 700 tickets had been snapped up for the event, which was sold-out.)

If you didn't snag a seat, you were either standing around the stage or watching from overhead - or headed home.

And, yes, there was plenty of "paparazzi" to go around. Photogs and videographers took in every model's step. The show, co-hosted by recording artist T.C. Ellis and an exhuberant, scantily glad Golden, a poet, was fast-paced, even though it took past the 7 p.m. start time to get all the attendees checked in.

The five holiday/winter collections were each unique and, very much like the season-ending finales of "Project Runway," the designers - Tomicko Abella, Dee Aguilar, Monte Christo, Richard Hallmarq and Steven Willey - told stories through their fashions.

For example, Willey's "interpretation" of the colors and whimsy of "Alice in Wonderland" was perfect, opening with a sweet blue and white dress (albeit shorter than what Alice might have worn!). His green, "caterpillar" ensemble was stunning. My personal favorite was the "Queen of Hearts" black leather swing skirt with a red heart on front. Willey turned traditional winter white into something both elegant and holiday-appropriate.

Aguilar's promise of darling dresses for New Year's proved one of the show's highlights. Her attention to detail turned neutral tones, including black and white, into fashions that are sure to sell - and quickly. Perfectly embellished and well-accessorized, Aguilar knows how to finish an outfit from head to toe. Not sure you could wear her dress as modeled? Try them with a pair of jeans.

I haven't seen Christo's work in a few years, so it was a treat to see what he's been up to. I can say that one of the first outfits he debuted - a short sequin ensemble with the back dropped out - was a show-stopper. Christo has a knack for creating the perfect chemise, a silhouette prone to looking sack-like if you're not innovative. Much of what he offered could move comfortably into spring 2008.

Abella stuck to her fashion game plan, and with success. She opted for sexy, flirty fashions for the holidays, including fanciful bustiers and numerous pieces that could easily translate from daytime to nighttime. In particular, her use of embroidery demonstrates a hand-sewn touch that requires time and discipline. Like Aguilar, Tomicko also does the cocktail dress in styles you won't see on anyone else at the office soiree.

The show ended with designer Hallmarq's myriad take on red and black houndstooth. He had given us a sneak preview of one the dresses last week but, on Friday night, he continued the theme with a beautiful mix of styles - using the same fabric. The models get kudos for interpreting the looks in different ways. Only Hallmarq could come up with enough patterns - and ideas - to use up a bolt of material.

(And kudos to the five local salons that particpated. The models' hair and makeup were stunning.)

I spoke with Hallmarq on Saturday, and he was pleased with the show - especially the efforts of all the designers.

"It speaks to their individual strengths and also to how much Sacramento has grown in terms of wanting shows like this and the fashions that result from all the hard work," he says.

As for the collections, he says each designer will decide which pieces will be sold at DV8 Boutique (1050 20th St.) in the Marrs Building.

"I think everything will be ready for customers by Tuesday," he says.

Stay tuned to 21Q: I'll give you updates from the store, as well as hours when the designers' fashions will be available.

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