Tuesday's San Francisco Opera Designer Fete wowed the arts contributor crowd with a wide representation of designer dresses and gowns. Organized by the San Francisco Opera Guild and featuring a long list of couture designers, the event showcased a variety of options for Fall 2007 and enticed the attendees to open up their pocketbooks and buy gowns for fall's upcoming galas.
Designers represented included (in order): Monique Lhuillier, Melinda Eng, Zang Toi, Carmen Marc Valvo, Azzaro, Stephen Yearick, Naeem Khan, Pamela Rolland, Robert Danes, Redux Charles Chang-Lima, and Badgley Mishka. Carmen Marc Valvo, Robert Danes and Zang Toi all were present. Nordstrom sponsored the event, along with United Airlines, the Nob Hill Gazette, J Vineyards & Winery, Boisset America, and DeLoach Vineyards. (Ah, if I'd only been able to try all of the wines!)
Two things happened at this year's show: 1) I decided it's my favorite philanthropic fashion show put on annually (although I haven't seen them all yet, so this could change) and 2) I found a few new designers to covet. Pre-show, patrons are provided with the opportunity each year to browse the gowns on racks in a salon before entering the ballroom. This is wonderful because you can see the exquisite beading and details that are not obvious from a distance.
I found two gowns I would love to have in my closet: an aubergine short puffed-sleeved lush silk gown with Venetian glass decoration around the neck by Naeem Khan and a cream Redux Charles Chang-Lima dress covered in gorgeous lace with spaghetti straps. If I could have afforded either, I would be already planning the rest of the ensemble for the next gala.
The theme of this year's show - "Ode to the Goddess" - was brought-out in Grecian urns on the tables filled with flowers and a unique circular fabric column-like fixture at the head of the runway. A dramatic blend of classical and dance music filled the room as each designer's set of models came forward. A few nearly fell, tripping over the long gowns.
A few clear trends emerged in terms of styles for fall evening wear. The first was belts. Many of the gowns had embroidered, beaded, or satin belts. Several dresses were embellished with lace. Common colors included browns, blacks, grays, blush, and metallics. I love the words used in the program to describe the gowns and colors, like 'stone' and 'raspberry'. Enticing words to draw in shoppers at one of the best San Francisco fashion events of the year.