Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

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April 28, 2008
Sacramento Fashion Week: The week that was

Lucio Montana

The inaugural Sacramento Fashion Week, presented by Magnum Opus, concluded Friday night at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria downtown with the full see-and-be-seen parade.

From my floor-level vantage point, the place was certainly packed, with quite a few folks watching from the library's balcony. No doubt the whole event owes a huge "thank you" to Grace Ballesteros for pretty much organizing the entire thing - much of it on her own time.

And, as with any first-time endeavor, there are always a few missteps: signs that won't stay put, microphones that crackle and, for lack of a better term, the occasional "performance" that seemed, well, out of place.

For example, I'm still trying to figure out why the fashion show featured a beauty pageant parade, which showcased Miss India America. Honestly, and with no disrespect, I've never heard of such a title. Fashion shows should first and foremost be about the local designers and their collections. Killing time before the first model hits the runway usually results in people sitting around talking to each other - or digging through goody bags.

Overall, however, the event was yet another big step in showcasing local designers whose efforts definitely should be recognized and appreciated.

Eight collections, broken into two parts, were featured. Of the first four designers, Preston Doh's Lucio Montana menswear (pictured) was a huge hit. Hands down. Why? Because you can always get lovely women's clothing. It's the rare show that features an entire men's collection that works from the first casual outfit to the show-ending tux.

Doh, originally from Malaysia, studied fashion design in Florence, Italy, and his impeccable tailoring was evident in every piece, especially the detailing on his men's pants and jackets. A flawless show.

I also mentally pulled out designer Nancy Wong's long-sleeve, full-length dove gray hoodie dress. Wong designs several collections, all under the Pegasus Maiden label. And, certainly Dee Aguilar's stretchy fitted dresses with multi-colored insets were comfy and cute. (Most folks would probably be able to pull off the look with about four inches of fabric added to the hemline.)

The show's finale featured the work of husband/wife team Michael and Sanea Sommerfield, who own Miosa Couture on Sacramento's J Street. They can add the word "couture," which defines a garment that goes above and beyond in terms of detail, fabric, hand-sewing, etc. Their gowns are red-carpet-ready, but most likely area residents know the Sommerfields for their exquisite wedding gowns, which closed their show.

My favorite? (And I'm not sure it's for a wedding): the white Swiss dot fitted dress that reminded me of Audrey Hepburn's wedding dress in "Funny Face." The model did the numerous layers of filmy fabric justice by twirling as she reached the end of the runway. What set the dress off was a beautiful fuschia bow at the waist.

Meanwhile, the other runway presentations were a mix of spring/summer looks that ranged from whimsical to practical.

My biggest gripe? The shoes! There's no getting around not looking at a model's feet when she hits the runway. And it appeared quite a few of the models Friday night were wearing their own version of a black something: pump, sandal, etc. Some were scuffed up. Others just didn't work with the outfits.

There are so many local shoe boutiques that probably would be willing to donate pairs that could be shared. I know going barefoot defeats the whole runway "walk" thing, but don't let mismatched shoes ruin a great outfit.

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