May 30, 2015

Party Seen: SF Fashion + Tech’s French Technique

SF Fashion+Tech gave us a reason to celebrate the fashion capital’s independence. In honor of Bastille Day, designers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and media gurus gathered in SoMa for some mixing and mingling, a Paris-inspired fashion show featuring the eco-friendly apparel of Palo Alto label Amour Vert and displays from Bay Area companies such as ModeWalk and LIFT by Yappo.

Below some images from the festivities. You’ll find more on our Facebook page.

A fashion show by Amour Vert capped off the evening.

From the Amour Vert fashion show

More San Francisco fashion events

Photography by Jennymay Villarete

Party Seen: Refinery29’s One-Year Anniversary

This past Saturday, Refinery29’s hyperlocal site in San Francisco celebrated its first birthday at Hipstamatic‘s lofty space in SoMa. The Haus of Hipstamatic offered a chic atmosphere with a festive photo booth, movie marquee near the DJ’s set-up and a cozy roof overlooking the dark streets and bright lights of the City.

Guests sipped on Kanon Organic Vodka and Lorenza Rosé, noshed on bites fromRice Paper Scissors, and danced to 90′s beats spun by DJ Sonny Phono (Ace of Base and Salt N Pepa, anyone?). Fashion was the common thread among the well-dressed guests. Want a trend report? Many women donned a bold lip, high-heeled summer sandal, and bright colors while gentlemen rocked well-tailored jackets and plaid.

Below, few pictures from the festivities.

You’ll find the complete set on our Facebook page.

Photography by Jennymay Villarete for SF Indie Fashion

Playful Chic: Vintage Joy Fall Collection

Designer Joy Fan’s just-released Vintage Joy fall collection is a welcome mix of the retro and the classic. Inspired by “the lifestyle of a Bohemian ballerina,” the neutral-loving line-up is both playful and structured, with tailored silhouettes meeting contrasting pieces full of movement and stylish swing.

Standouts include the sweetly sophisticated Lara jacket and belted Jean jumper, as well as the Edith dress in woven tweed and lace and the Vera jumper with trimmed box sleeves.

View the entire collection here.

More local designers

Photography courtesy Liz Caruana

Inside the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

The last word you’d think to associate with designer Jean Paul Gaultier is “mainstream.” Yet on the first floor of San Francisco’s De Young museum during Gaulterize Yourself, as six-year-olds and their mothers walked by decked out in feathers and wild makeup, it was easy to forget that the celebration was all in homage to the same man who brought us Madonna’s cone bras and a body suit with sequined pubic hair.  This free public event put on by the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance as part of Friday Nights at the De Young, featured not only the newly-opened exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk but also makeup artists and local designers transforming ordinary citizens into Gaultier model lookalikes.

Descending into the lower level, the true Gaultier aesthetic quickly revealed itself. It made sense, after all, to stick this exhibit in the basement: where else do you put S&M burlesque dancers, punk rock outcasts and a semi-topless warrior bride? And though seeing so many of the designer’s famous (and less famous) creations in one exhibit would have been thrilling enough on its own, this would not be a Gaultier event if there was not a new and unexpected twist.

Only Jean Paul Gaultier could take something as basic to fashion as a mannequin and turn it into something fresh and intriguing, if not also slightly creepy and unsettling.  Or as one woman described it, plain “scary.” But by projecting moving faces onto the blank, nosed masks of mannequins, Gaultier did just that. Wearing his creations were models that, while not technically alive, came a little too close for comfort to the real thing. And like the gut reactions we feel to many of his designs (picture a metal codpiece for men or a garbage dress for women à la Mugatu) the exhibit’s models straddle the line between feminine and masculine, traditional and modern, beautiful and grotesque. The digital display didn’t stop there: visitors will also find a moving runway and forty video screens. But it is the speaking, watching, emoting mannequins that are the exhibit’s most provocative technological element, and therefore its most quintessentially Gaultier.

And of course, there are the clothes. Each piece is a testament to the unparalleled creativity of a man challenging every fashion definition we know, forcing us to contemplate them, not allowing us to just move past them mindlessly like we do with so much we see in museums. Coupled with one of his most exquisitely feminine creations – a purple velvet dress adorned with his trademark cones – is the seductive 1992 photograph of the piece being worn by male model and Gaultier muse, Tanel Bedrossiantz. Whether in military-inspired camouflage, head-to-toe herringbone, or his oft-imitated sailor stripes motif, Gaultier isn’t just playing with gender norms, he is thrusting them into the public conversation, transforming the personal and private into the political and powerful.

Gaultier gives us revolution through fashion. He transformed the corset from a form of female oppression into a symbol of sexual prowess and dominance. He made a long skirt, put it on a man, and called it sexy. He showed us that the line between what is sublime and what is horrifying is largely subjective, and in this exhibit, dares us to join him in this warped reality, one that, despite being “scary,” is also unnervingly inviting.

More San Francisco fashion

Photography by Deena Shanker

Deena Shanker is a San Francisco writer who blogs and blogs and, uh, blogs. In fact, she has three blogs. You’ll find them and more about her online at

Party Seen: Free Dirt Apparel Launch Party

Free Dirt apparel on display for guests and newly anointed "Dirt Heads."

Party guest Michael Wasserman hams it up with the "Dirty Sanchez" T-shirt.

Local favorite Tnt Deejays helped the Dirt Heads shut the party down.

Party guests show off their Free Dirt hats on the dance floor.

This past Saturday North Beach played host as “dirtheads” flooded in for the launch of Free Dirt, a local brand with a healthy dose of in-your-face attitude celebrating the arrival of a new online store and men’s clothing line featuring brightly-colored jackets, hats and (it’s true) a t-shirt dubbed the Dirty Sanchez*. On the scene: friends, bloggers and photographers hitting the dance floor and downing mini tacos.

The Free Dirt Twitter feed was highlighted on the dance floor so partygoers could look for cues to throw up drawn-on finger mustaches for chances to win Free Dirt apparel. I tracked down designer Peter Vandendriesse to gain some additional insight into his dirt-y world:

Your clothing fits the high energy of your launch party. How do you describe the Free Dirt aesthetic?

All of our apparel features bright and clean designs influenced by the rural, gritty lifestyle. This matchup- rad meets rural – sets us apart from other brands and attracts the type of guy we hope to dress.

How did you come up with the name Free Dirt?

I founded the company a little over a year ago as a side project for my dirthead friends in Davis. These friends, who love to cause a ruckus, have a knack for making good natured people feel very uncomfortable. Their actions, and the sight of a “free dirt” sign on a long drive back from Vegas, are what sparked the brands creation.

Friends join Free Dirt designer and founder Peter Vandendriesse, who was sporting the Windsnapper jacket.

View the complete Free Dirt’s collection in the online shop.

Photography by Sara Iravani

*If we end up ranking in Google for this phrase, well, I guess that’s just gonna have to happen. A whole new readership awaits!