Fashion Frenzy Includes San Diego Designer

| November 5, 2012 | 0 Comments

by Timothy Vechik, Fashion Photographer, Writer & Cinematographer

Hot on the heels of San Diego Fashion Week, LA Fashion Week, held October 15 through 19, was certain to impress. With A-List guests like Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.De.Ap on the red carpet and fantastical designers like Furne One showcasing their work, the Friday night event for LA Style Fashion Week, held at the Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, turned out to be a fashion extravaganza.

Friday night’s events featured two designers; Alexis Monsanto and Furne Amato of Furne One.

Alexis Monsanto’s event started off the night with his upcoming Spring 2013 collection. With vibrant, bold colors like lime green and bright fuscia that highlighted intriguing designs, Monsanto’s work blended wearability with haute couture at Friday’s show.

Monsanto’s designs, which have been worn by Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, and Megan Fox, for him, Los Angeles should be one of the fashion capitals of the world. “LA has been the capital of manufacturing, so fashion should be number one here. We have the manufacturers here, licensing; there’s a lot of things going on here.”

Furne One’s designs have been worn by Hollywood celebrities and pop star icons, from Shakira and Katy Perry to Nicki Minaj, and his collection, Confessions of Mata Hari, stayed the course with his over-the-top designs.

Featuring a silver and gold motif, all models on the runway wore jewel-encrusted masks. According to Amato, he chose to cover the models faces with the masks “because it’s like the masks of death, you know?”

Amato went on to discuss his inspiration for the line, “ I was so intrigued with her life; she was a spy, a courtesan, a mother.” Through his research of her life, and through the additional influences of his favorite designer, Alexander McQueen, the new line, “Confessions of Mata Hari,” was born.

Spikes, studs, crystals and metallic fabrics featured heavily into his designs, along with sheer materials that added an ethereal quality to the line. The show utilized almost robotic movements for the models, which blended together the aesthetics of the designs with the music and production overall.

Reymond VillaSenor, the host for LA Style Fashion Week and looking dashing in simple black jacket and hat, was quick to praise all of the designers involved. “These guys put a lot of time and design and thought into it, and these guys just amaze me with what they come up with. The way they view a dress or any type of clothes and they put it on a woman, it just makes it look good.”

VillaSenor also acknowledged all of the hard work being done by co-founder of Style Fashion Week, saying, “she makes the magic happen!”

Welch was extremely excited about the event. Wearing a daring dress from Undercover Boutique in Santa Monica, Welch jumped at the opportunity to talk about all of the great things that had happened throughout the week.

When asked what her favorite part was about the event, she exclaimed, “Honestly it’s been an incredible week, everyone is happy. Not only are our sponsors happy; our designers are happy; our guests are happy. We’ve had at least 2,000 people per evening for the last five nights and everyone is happy, and it’s just an incredible feeling to be able to make so many people so content!”

Gina Simms, fashion and beauty host of “What’s Up Orange County,” models a design of Stacey Blanchet.

San Diego Designer Makes a Splash on the Red Carpet

Amidst all of the glitz and glamor of the event, one San Diego-based designer made a splash of her own on the red carpet and at the event, Stacey Blanchet. Blanchet’s collections, which contain classical influences with modern touches, help to bring out the best in the women that wear them. Her designs feature shape-hugging dresses that dazzle without going over-the-top.

Several of her designs took to the red carpet, including a black, mirrored, full-length dress, and another piece, made from a knit stretch fabric with earth tones and turquoise accents.Her designs wowed on the red carpet and even during a brief photo op at the end of the runway.

Blanchet was initially inspired by fashion with the rise of the music group Duran Duran. “They were high fashion,” she recalled. Blanchet was also inspired by the fashions of MTV. She said the videos had a lot of the fashions, designers and models of the time.

Blanchet, who was born and raised in San Diego, studied in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology during the 80’s, where she learned how to map out her day and make every second count. Once she was even asked if she would be willing to be the subject of a reality TV show, to which she responded with a twinkle in her eye, “Absolutely not, because I’m not nice!”

Blanchet officially started her own career in fashion in 2010. Her first runway show occurred September 23, 2010, and exactly two years later, on September 23, 2012, she saw her designs walking down the runway. “It was the biggest thing to see my designs on my models at the Emmys,” she said with a smile as she remembered that happy day.

Blanchet recently made the announcement that she would be partnering with accessory designer Zhayra Escobar of Sacia O Designs in a business deal designed to bring together the strengths of these two designers.

Zhayra Escobar is a hat and accessory designer based in Beverly Hills whose work has also graced the red carpet, most notably worn by actress Tia Barr. Escobar is more reserved than her new business partner, and approaches her work quietly but meticulously.

Escobar started her creative career designing jewelry in 1998, but had always been interested in design, and she said that she had even designed clothes and accessories for her dolls when she was little.

As time passed, she found a new passion, and in July of 2010, she started work creating head-pieces. Last year work began in earnest in Newport Beach, and as custom orders began to flood in, she moved from her location in Newport Beach to where she is now based in Beverly Hills. Her final inspiration, that gave her the big push that she needed, was seeing the demand for pieces like those she created for the Royal Wedding.

In the room with us were also television host Gina Simms and actor Cutter Slagle, both of whom were preparing for the upcoming evening’s big events. Simms looked stunning wearing Blanchet’s black mirrored dress, and as she was gearing up for the night’s festivities, she began to talk about her early career and how she came to be on television.

“I tried acting,” she began, but soon found that she enjoyed hosting even more. She moved to Las Vegas to cover the weather, and during her four-year stay there she became a Radio City Rockette at the Flamingo. When the show closed, Simms moved to San Diego and opened a dance school. Longing for a career in television, she sold her dance studio and moved north to Orange County, where once again she took to life in front of the lens.

Over her career, Simms has hosted for “Hollywood TV,” “LA Today,” “Global Style Watch,” “E-Fund Financial”and is the fashion and beauty host for the “What’s Up Orange County” TV show.

Cutter Slagle, an emerging actor based in San Diego, originally hailed from Ohio, moved out to San Diego in January of this year. Slater is currently building his resume and notes that “No one starts at the top.”

Each of the designers at the show, whether presenting their collections on the runway or on the red carpet, all shared one thing in common; their love for their art in fashion. In all, Blanchet said it best, “I want to be a work-in-progress until the day I die.”

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