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September 8, 2008
Tara Bradley hits big time in New York


Randy Brooke photograph

No, I'm never going to wait in line behind Vogue editor Anna Wintour to interview Tara Bradley. I'll never believe Anna's all that.

But one thing's for sure: Tara is all that and can no longer be considered a "local" designer."

With Friday night's show under the tent at Bryant Park at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, Tara, 25, (pictured left) moved from Land Park to Central Park in a stiletto moment.

Her senior collection, which she designed for graduation from San Francisco's Academy of Art University, debuted to a throng of media - both in the audience and back stage - including Women's Wear Daily and other notable fashion mags.

Tara, who moved to the city in June, has been working for esteemed French designer Catherine Malandrino, whose own spring 2009 show was Monday. However, on Friday, it was Tara who was one of nine AAU students to make the cut to show her own collection at fashion week.

Her parents, Claudia and Erv Bradley, left Sacramento last week to be a part of Tara's big night. But, as it is with fashion shows, they didn't see much of their daughter beforehand.

"It was a whirlwind trip, very exciting," Claudia said Monday, after returning from New York on Sunday. "She stayed at our hotel because of the late nights and her commute home to Brooklyn. But it was an amazing experience."

Claudia says the reviews came in quickly, and Tara was one of two AAU designers mentioned in WWD.

"There was so much press backstage before the show," Claudia says. "It was really overwhelming."

In fact, Tara wore a dress she designed and wound up having most of her interviewers asking who the designer was. "Me!," she answered.

A shoe glitch in the show, which featured about six outfits, proved no problem. A model's shoe fell off, but the other models picked up the pace - either taking off their own shoes and carrying them or moving on as though nothing had happened.

Tara's parents and roommates hung out backstage and helped gather her collection after the show. Hailing a cab, they took off for one of the favorite local pubs where San Francisco designer Sara Shepherd and friends gathered with the Bradleys for dinner and drinks. Erv Bradley's treat.

With her employer Malandrino's show on Monday, Tara still worked until about 3 a.m. Sunday morning. During the Malandrino show, she assisted as a dresser backstage. She told Claudia afterward that it's amazing how fast the clothing changes take place!

"It's hard work but she loved the excitement of it all. Tomorrow (Tuesday) she will be helping to take photos of all the outfits and will then be in on the meeting where decisions will be made on which things will actually go into production," Claudia says.

On a very positive note, Malandrino's lead designer loved Tara's collection, calling it "very European."

"When you hear that, you never know what might happen down the line." Claudia says.

Neither of Tara's parents had been to New York in a long time, but they decided to do the whole sight-seeing bus tour. At one point, Claudia's emotions got the best of her.

"I started thinking, 'Our little girl is living here in all of this. She's doing it and is not phased by any of it.' I'm so proud of her because she's so mature and ready."

To see a gallery of Tara's New York fashion show, click here.


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