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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Have I got a a heap of eye candy for you today! Knowing how much you love gala and all that goes with it, I'll get right down to the swoon-worthy stuff. Last Friday was opening night at the San Francisco Opera. With a time-honored tradition for 'Puttin' on the Ritz', SF's opening is a bit like Cannes Film Festival meeting New Year's Eve in Old Vienna. Premiering with Pucini's Turandot, the parade of chic was especially inspiring this year and if you're as amped on couture as I am this is your visual fix for awhile. Notice all those bridal designers we know and love simply switch to technicolor when they come out on nights like this. . . .


TREND#1.) Prints and Drapery . . . While we've been seeing prints featured more and more on the Red Carpet they had particular significance Friday night following Turandot's eastern theme. Add all the brightly embossed and embroidered fabrics and there was a real show of color. Gowns with draping have been no strangers on the runways and carpet; now designers are moving into asymmetrical and pleat variations in both bodices and skirts for evening wear. Above: Marissa Mayer (of Google fame) looked fabulous in a gold shot print gown created by none other than The Duchess of Cambridge's own wedding gown designer, Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. Below: Former Mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown with Sonya Molodetskaya in a gorg purple and lavender asymmetrically draped and fitted gown by Azadeh Couture . . .

Below: One of my fave style-setters, Deepa Pakianathan wears a Rubin Singer. A rich blue, the cut and lightness of silk organza are all this gown needs to take a walk down the Red Carpet. Check out the asymmetrically pleated bodice and draped skirt--a real must see must see in action on the video as Deepa goes through some serious twirls .

TREND#2.) EMBROIDERY. I haven't seen this kind of handiwork since the 60s when Oscar de la Renta introduced variations of it in the peasant/gypsy look. Well, Oscar is alive and well now reinventing gypsies into Czarinas as you can see in this masterpiece worn by Dede Wilsey. The detail work is exquisite and first glance totally took my breath away. Check out the video to get a close up of the intricate hand work.

In a word, awesome! Lucy Buchanan wears this all over embroidered Naeem Khan so beautifully. The movement in the train is just too stunning and can be seen in the video . . .

TREND#3.) Ruffles Have you noticed they're everywhere in bridal and gala wear with so many variations I could write a whole book about it. Of all the ruffled gowns (and there were stacks) this Christian Siriano worn by Afsaneh Akhatari took the prize and is another video must see.


SF Opera opening night has it's handful of fashion designers local as well as international that show up and look magnificent in their own creations. Above is the ever elegant and beautiful Karen Caldwell in a plum confection I just love with knotted/ruched drapery . . .Her bow at the waist is signature Karen. . . .
Jewelry designer Amber Marie Bentley is always beyond the fashion curve. Her 'Over the Edge' look lies somewhere between underground and the most quintessential couture . . .
Above left is Bay Area designer Rebecca Bruce in a masterpiece of silk and satin patchwork, following the eastern theme of this event. If you love one-of-a-kind couture with an edge keep a watch on this designer .

So . . . which of all these gowns is your favorite? It was hard for me to go through hundreds and pick the few that made it to this post. However, I feel this sampling encapsules just how Red Carpet Fashion is developing, evolving and moving to the next level . . . .

Lastly a note of thanks here. Getting it done professionally with an event of this size and scope is a gargantuan task. Without the top notch coverage Drew Altizer Photography gave to SF's Opening Night, this editorial wouldn't be possible.  Special thanks to SF Gate for use of the video which I'm sure you'll all find enlightening and inspiring.


  1. they're all such pretty dresses! I wish there are more events where I live where we can get totally glammed up like that haha

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  3. that is amazing... all these amazing gowns!!!

    have a great weekend!

  4. such gorgeous dresses! everyone looks so amazing! :)

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