San Francisco Fashion Community Week virtually celebrates diverse global couture

Illustration of three models wearing different couture looks inspired from international cultures and California.
Lucy Yang/Staff

Related Posts

This year, San Francisco’s Fashion Community Week moved from the runway to the screen, presented as the New Era Virtual Fashion Week from Sept. 24-27. The week featured two days of runway shows where both local and international emergent designers could showcase their diverse collections for the season. 

Friday’s “California Dreaming” runway intended to capture the essence of the West Coast, the best of the designers embracing sunshine, bright prints and the laid-back nature the state is famous for.

Designers Lourdes and June from Philippine brand Julour offered a minimalistic, muted take on the runway theme, with no shortage of ’60s-inspired outfits and white-centered color palettes. Julour successfully captured the softer, bohemian vibe of California, including puffed sleeves and simple silhouettes. A more eccentric look — in comparison to the rest of the collection — was also included, featuring a sequined, dark blue shawl paired with a doily-patterned navy dress and dainty floral-accented hat, though it was no match for designer Shass Atelier’s intriguing cape coat.

Andrea Moore of Brooklyn-based Moore Custom Goods took a modern route, her collection combining flowing coats with layered, two-toned, patterned outfits. Moore displayed bold but stylish looks, such as pairing a spotted peasant shirt underneath a striped crop top with bright yellow pants and black boots. 

One of the top brands of this show was DLK Apparel by David Louis Klein, a mix of brightly colored and patterned dresses and swimwear from Germany. The collection’s garments were all silky, flattering and shape-hugging, some featuring abstract takes on light patterns. Based on San Francisco, many of Klein’s pieces were inspired by the city’s lights and streets.

Saturday kicked off the “International Couture” runway, a show dedicated to futuristic stylings merged with globalization.

Award-winning designer IB Bayo started off the runway with a series of mod, colorblocked outfits, dazzling with eye-catching patterns and uniquely shaped cutouts. Bayo’s use of shiny Nigerian fabrics gave each model a suave sheen, further accentuated by the sequins and holographic colors contrasted against the white catwalk background. The designer also sprinkled in a myriad twirling fringes, feathers and draped coats, which add a dramatic air to the collection.

Designer Samira Ali Barry and the Nubi Collections both embraced their Ghanian roots with elegant dresses fit for royalty. The outfits sported bold patterns, traces of gold and sheer paneling, which further elevated the vivid colors. Barry even included matching tribal and geometric print masks to accompany many of her looks in a pertinent, fashionably conscious manner.

Iraqi designer Rana Samaan took the runway to another level with her stunning takes on evening and party wear. The dresses of her collection were all asymmetrically gorgeous works of shining taffeta and bold gemstone accessories. Samaan’s technique to make her dresses look particularly appealing appeared to be sticking to a familiar skirt cut, but adding flairs of ruffles and skewed hems to truly make each outfit pop.

But of all the brands, European-based Elite Pour La Vie stole the show with its sophisticated bridal and red-carpet-worthy evening wear. Each piece was intricately bejeweled and patterned, seeming to say, “Look at me!” The brand even managed to make a jumpsuit stand out among the dresses’ arresting allure by covering it head to toe in small, beaded accents. Elite Pour La Vie’s crowning piece was a navy blue ballgown with tendrils of sequins trickling down the skirt and pooling at the bottom. The brand included many other leafy, blooming floral aesthetics, the delicate nature-inspired patterns complementing the dresses’ opulent qualities.

The New Era Virtual Fashion Week explored a wide range of styles: from big, billowing gowns to straight-cut T-shirt dresses. Designers from all over the world gathered to highlight their unique yet globally connected styles, and despite not being able to see the works in person, each designer radiated their talent, passion and drive through the screen.

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected]. Tweet her at @callmepbj.