The North Bay Fashion Ball features local labels that provide affordable outfits without trying to match some mainstream trend of the current retail season.
Featuring four designers from Sonoma County and one label from the East Bay, the fashion show is designed to do just that, bring together a community of independent fashionistas to literally strut their stuff.
Cinncinatus Hibbard organized the first Ball last year. This year, Hibbard has taken one of the label chiefs, Lena Claypool of Petaluma’s Buck Lucky, under his wing with the hopes of passing the event’s stewardship on to her.
“This is a lot more personal [than a big runway show]. The main point of this event is having a good time, being with your friends and supporting a good cause,” said Claypool.
With an emphasis on vintage and recycled materials, queer representation and diversity, one can bet on a display way more dope than the society pages of Vanity Fair.
“All of the designers are so different,” said Claypool. “There’s something for everybody here because we’re all so different. And it’s not going to be like a Paris runway where everyone looks a certain way. [Our 50 local] models are not fitting one mold.”
“I think fashion is the vocabulary of an expanded language,” said Hibbard. “We’re inviting people to dress their fantasies and aspirations and mystical visions. It’s about fashion as a starting point for becoming, for new stories, new outcomes and empowerment.”
The event will kick off at the Phoenix Theater with the Santa Rosa Junior College Dance Team performing to DJ beats for a crowd of young, queer and POC folks who do not often have an event to call their own in these parts. Closing out the eve will be local diva Audio Angel driving her seven-piece band, The Good Intentions, through sweet, sweaty power ballads. Bigger is better? Quoth Audio Angel, “Trust the expansion.”
There will also be an “Open Runway Category,” where the audience is invited to walk the runway. Best dressed in the category will win a tiara and “document certifying their hotness,” said Hibbard.
Everything on the runway will be for sale, from the following labels:
Hot Couture Vintage Marta Koehne has, in her 40 year career, seen the vintage industry change from period specificity to anachronistic, post-modern and genderless.
Disguise the Limit Jenny DeYoung, owner of the recently closed Disguise the Limit, is using this event to step into the next phase of her career, reviving her fun, gay, sexy line of festival wear.
Dainty Rascal Suzy Berry owns both the Dainty Rascal label and Heart of Gold Rescue Horse Sanctuary in Forestville.
Heterogross Each year, the event invites a teacher to exhibit and enrich the artistic dialogue in art and fashion. Label owner JH divides his time between Oakland and the Philippines.
Buck Lucky. Lena Claypool’s collection is inspired by Marie Antoinette and the court of the Sun King.
The 2nd Annual North Bay Fashion Ball is at 6 pm, Saturday, May 20, at the Phoenix Theater, 201 Washington St., Petaluma. $20. Tickets are available at the door and online at bit.ly/fashion-ball.