Santana Row hosted its fifth annual Fall Fashion in the Park event on Sept. 11-12. The show, featuring such top labels as Anne Fontaine, Cole Haan, St Croix, Brooks Brothers, Lucy, Furla, among others, benefits four South Bay non-profits: Breathe California, Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, Junior League of San Jose and San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Patrons were treated to a night under the stars, with paper lanterns floating on the gentle breeze. Fashion lovers mingled in the intimate courtyard, sipping wine and chatting with Santana Row retailers. With warm summer days soon giving way to chilly winter, toasty coats and knits were the first order of business. I visited a few of the boots to get the flavor of the season's hottest offerings.
SFBayStyle: So what can we look forward to tonight from Anne Fontaine?
Mercedes from Anne Fontaine: You’ll be seeing Anne’s new fall collection, called “Black Pearl.” Black Pearl is actually inspired by jazz. So whether it be some of Anne’s favorite songs, the musical instruments, or what the musicians might wear when they are playing at dinner parties, you’re going to see really fun frilly blouses, cool sleeves representing trumpets or piano keys ... you’re also going to be seeing her collection of handbags, which are amazing.
SFBayStyle: Is the bowtie making a comeback?
Representative from Franco Uomo: It’s becoming a necessary wardrobe requirement for guys now, and it is really creative. The fabrics they have now are unbelievable. Men can easily incorporate bow ties into their wardrobe. It’s not the geeky style any more. It’s chic, and you can wear it in different ways, like a woman’s lipstick. It’s an accessory—not super expensive, but it’s going to change the look of your outfit.
SFBayStyle: What will we see from Furla?
Chris from Furla: You’ll see our fall/winter collection of large crocodile printed leather bags in cherry, onyx, and cobalto, which is an incredible blue.
Mindful of how much wine I was quaffing, I went in search of some tasty hors d'oeuvres, and I was not disappointed. As I noshed on the bruschetta and lump crab cakes, Chef Russell Johnigan of Maggiano’s tempted me with his ever-popular Four Cheese Ravioli. “Tonight, this dish has definitely been a favorite,” he said, smiling. I couldn’t agree more.
I then caught up with event coordinators Ed Kiley and Collette Navarrette.
SFBayStyle: This event seems to be growing more popular every year.
Ed: Yes, our set up for the past three years has been attracting more and more people and raising lots of money for the charities we work with. Tonight’s show is for the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.
Collette: Twenty percent of all ticket proceeds go to the Foundation. And we just started a summer fashion show this year, in May, that takes place at the pool area inside our residential space. It’s really fabulous.
As the music started, the fashionistas took their seats and the show began. First, three sleek, black-gloved cabaret girls danced in the warm, San Jose night, then our journey into Autumn continued with the “twins,” dressed in black, announcing each designer.
Here are a few highlights of the show:
Anne Fontaine – C’ est si Bon – Anne Fontaine's highly coveted, ultra feminine white shirts always make a statement, but she also proved that she could do color with her violet, off-the-shoulder organza tunic top.
Y-3 – Ultra Street Couture - A fine line between sport and style, with the devil in the athletic details. Down-filled bomber vests give room to breathe and aren't too hot for Bay Area climates.
Cole Haan – Walk the Line - Cole Haan's ultra violet patent leather tall boots were made for walking, combined with a pair of skinny pants for a just-right burst of color. Off-the-shoulder messenger and newspaper bags complemented the clean lines of the clothes.
St Croix- Crazy for That Man - The Multi-color textured knit wool pullovers reminded me of the sweaters Cliff Huxtable use to wear on The Cosby Show. Lots of red knit tops for the men.
Anthropologie – Independent Girl - Fluttered and folded cardigans over plaid tunics.
Franco Uomo – Taste Maker - From casual jeans with an untucked shirt to a exquisitely designed suit, Franco covered all bases. The Bulldog was a cute addition.
Boutique Harajuku – The IT Girl - Destructured lines paired with giant black hair bows in the models hair for a stunning, yet simple look.
Donald J. Pliner – The Power of Peace - whimsical hippy peace sign tees and thigh-high crepe elastic boots grabbed plenty of attention.
Eli Thomas – A Man for All Reasons - Basic white shirts with colorful accents on the collars and cuffs made for a classic look.
Penelope Boutique with Eli Thomas - ended the show with a golden Fall Bride.
After the show, many attendees headed off to exclusive after parties hosted by the individual boutiques for a closer look at the merchandise. I went to Furla, to check out their Cherry Croc bag. Gorgeous! Buyers received and extra 15 percent off.
All-in-all, a resounding success for 2009 Fall Fashion in the Park. For this year’s fall fashion needs, look no further than Santana Row, and check out the new styles for yourself!