Fashion! Fun!


It’s going to be a two-fer fashion Saturday! First there’s House of Diehl’s “Project Runway” meets “8-Mile” Style Wars at 111 Minna. And at the same time, the Black Rock Arts Foundation is hosting their first annual Fall gathering, featuring fab performers like Fou Fou Ha and Vau de Vire Society as well as fashions by Bad Unkl Sista. How ever to decide which to attend? I say try to make it to both. Find out why after the jump.

Designs created by previous Style Wars competitors. What can YOU do in 9 minutes?

Style Wars

Roman Milisic and MJ Diehl, the duo behind House of Diehl’s couture design house, believe that fashion shouldn’t be reserved for the rich and elite. “Only three people can ever wear something that we made, or that Galliano made,” said Milisic, whose clothes have appeared on red carpets and in the pages of magazines like W. “We want to make [fashion design] a much more democratic experience.”

Their version of democracy (and one which seems to work much better than our government’s version)? Style battling. Two contestants take to the stage and are given a material to work with and a theme (e.g. “denim” and “pirates of men’s pants”). Then they have five minutes to create something fabulous, innovative, and wearable, using whatever they see (including racks of clothes and objects on stage, or even items they or audience members are wearing) – and all without patterns, sewing machines, or draping. Judges decide which of the two finished projects is the best. Just as in MC battles, the winner moves on to the next round. The loser is out.

The idea of this “instant fashion” is to quickly create pieces that, though created unconventionally, could still hold up against other couture pieces – and even influence what shows up on runways in the future. “You have to throw away everything you ever learned about fashion,” Milisic said. “You have to see a roll of aluminum foil and a pie tin and think Marc Jacobs … it has a real McGyver quality to it.”

This trend of style battling has already caught on in Europe and on the East Coast, but Saturday’s event marks its San Francisco debut.

“We’re taking it out the West Coast to see if you guys can bring it,” joked Milisic. And considering that we’re a city known for creative, D.I.Y., reconstructed clothing, I’m thinking we can.

Style Wars
9pm-2am, $8 adv/$12 door
111 Minna Gallery
111 Minna, SF.

There's never a dull moment when Vau de Vire is involved.

Black Rock Arts Foundation Fall Fashion Gala

But wait. What’s this? While local designers are battling it out for fame, fortune, and future success, artists nearby will be showcasing their talents for a good cause: other artists. This is the organization whose sole purpose is to fund public art projects in San Francisco as well as across the country and around the world. (Just to clear up some confusion: Though BRAF was born of Burning Man ideals and has several key Burning Man Organization employees on its board, it is a separate entity from Borg and has nothing to do with funding projects for Burning Man.) In fact, they’ve been involved in two of our favorite projects this year: the Panhandle Bandshell and PARKing Day.

Yes, tickets are a bit steep. But the evening’s performances, including aerialists, acrobats, strolling musicians, cabaret, burlesque, live music, and DJs, should be spectacular. And even if you can’t afford to buy the auction items, all joined around the theme “Caravanserai of Wearable Art,” you’ll certainly want to look at ‘em. Plus, you’ll be gorging yourself on yummy food and enjoying an open bar. Oh yeah.

And just in case you think galas are stuffy and formal, keep in mind that this is still BRAF. “It’s a bit more refined context” than typical Burning Man parties, said organizer Leslie Pritchett. “But it’s definitely not that stiff.”

“So it’s fun people with money?” I asked her. She laughed.

“Fun people who want to have an impact,” she answered.

Black Rock Arts Foundation Artumnal Gathering
7pm-1am, $150-$250
The Lodge at The Regency Center
1290 Sutter, SF.

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