Pret-a-Porter fashion show gets back to basics

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Danielle Shi/Staff

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A crowd of well-dressed fashion aficionados waited outside of what seemed like a remodeled studio in San Francisco last Friday for the last event of San Francisco Design Week, the Pret-a-Porter SF fashion show (pret-a-porter comes from the French fashion term for ready-to-wear). The ragtag group of sartorially conscious attendees used this event to showcase their chic outfits, many sporting trendy monochrome black and whites, light-wash or colored denim jackets and chiffon jumpsuits. As the guests slowly filed in, they were greeted by the show’s photographers, who asked many of them to pose on the runway for pictures.

Pret-A-Porter SF was presented by the SF Fashion and Merchants Alliance and the SF Fashion Lab, who both work to help incubate up-and-coming talented fashion designers. The show was short — consisting of only four designers and their respective lines — but what the event lacked in quantity, it made up for in quality. The four designers created pieces for both womenswear and menswear, ranging from ’90s rocker jackets to bridal dresses.

Jeff Pacis designed the first line, which took elements from simple architecture aesthetics, as well as minimalist art and graphic design themes. He turned his attention toward menswear essentials: the pocket tee, the crewneck sweater and the trench coat — all tailored with clean but comfortable cuts. Pacis also indicated his favor towards the controversial Birkenstock trend by way of their pervasive presence within his line. The collection’s palette features basic colors of beige, navy and black. His pieces are an example of the growing shift in menswear toward timeless pieces as opposed to a focus on fast fashion trends that, more often than not, go as quickly as they come.

The runway show then moved on to showcasing Sam Shan’s designs. He found inspiration from women who have tried to find love and happiness and have finally achieved the seemingly unattainable goal. Admittedly, some of his pieces seemed busy; there were too many details and augmentations that detracted from the elegance of the dresses. But his pastel colors, pale lilacs, deep creams and blush pinks worked wonderfully in unison with his floral embellishments, peplum waists and ruffled collars to conjure the image of a woman in her prime, experiencing the moment in her life at which she will be the happiest.

The third designer, Erick Lopez, was not at the show to introduce his collection, as he left San Francisco two weeks prior when Abercrombie & Fitch hired him. Despite Lopez’s absence, the audience could tell how much the trend of casual sportswear influenced his design process. The models were equipped with urban, athletic wear such as drop-crotch sweatpants, shirts with jersey fabrics, and bomber and varsity jackets with exaggerated sleeves in shades of blue and black.

In creating the last collection of the evening, designer Miguel Angel drew inspiration from the British punk and post-punk aesthetic, particularly that of the band The Kills, whose music played throughout the show. Angel found that it was not just the period’s fashion that served as his muse. Rather, it was the fact that people during that era dressed for themselves to express their own individuality instead of conforming to normalized standards for dressing. The line featured lots of feathered, leather and snakeskin dresses, skirts and jackets, with two of these jackets featured sporting “The Kills” and the acronym “IDGAF” emblazoned on the back. The line certainly evoked the qualities commonly associated with the punk lifestyle: dark, risky and hard-edged.

All in all, it was encouraging to see budding designers work to create lines that were both enjoyable and memorable.

Contact Josh Gu at [email protected].