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Friday, April 26, 2013

A night of fashion in Downtown Campbell

Last night the Downtown Campbell Business Association and Villa Ragusa cordially invited me (as media) to attend their Color Me Spring: A Fashion Event and showcase of Downtown Campbell businesses.

The entryway at Villa Ragusa.

Along with a runway fashion show attendees were treated to free food tastings, gift bags, live entertainment, local vendors, raffle prizes, and a complimentary beverage with their ticket purchase.

This was the real deal with a platformed runway, festive draping, and event lighting.

It was the first time I'd attended an event at Villa Ragusa. Parking was easy to find in the garage across the street, and the venue is beautifully appointed for special events of all types. If you're planning a wedding or corporate party it's definitely a location to consider.

MC Richard Lane did a fantastic job hosting the event onstage and a pair of DJ's from "That Sound" kept the party hopping both on and off the runway.

Hair and make up for all of the models was a group collaboration by several local salons: Faux Salon, Fringe Hair Studio, Palazzi Salon, Rage Salon, Sorelle Salon & Spa, Diverse Salon, Beauty by Cherise, Mary Kay and Urban Oasis.

As we launch into the runway show I have to say that fashion photography is not one of my fortes. In fact, if you're a regular reader you've probably noticed that I rarely even photograph people! In a way models are like trying to photograph birds and wildlife. They move around quickly, and a lot, but the lighting is always challenging because it's dark and usually there's a mix of light sources. Composition is challenging as the placement of a model in front of a ceiling fixture that haloes their head can ruin a shot. 

That said, I took the pictures of the kids with no flash setting my ISO high, my shutter speed fast, and aperture wide. Eventually I gave up and used a flash which was in itself a learning experience on the fly. My new SONY NEX-5R has a multitude of flash settings that included a custom white balance and mode of flash. I used the "fill" function, angled the flash upwards and was quite pleased with the results.

The kids were all adorable. Seriously, cute as can be. From infant wear, party dresses for girls, and dapper bow ties for boys they were all huge crowd pleasers. So many "awwwws" and laughter as they made their way down the runway, striking poses, then running away as fast as some of their little feet could carry them.

Youthful styles from Bombshell Boutique

If you're a twenty something or any age and love to hit the club scene the edgy fashions at Bombshell Boutique may make it one of your favorite shops. Most of the hemlines of the skirts and shorts we saw that evening were on the short side and dresses that were longer had cute cut-aways.

Fine jewelry from The Jewel Box

Being able to "see" fine jewelry during a runway fashion show is a challenging thing. Still, I was able to get a couple nice shots of necklaces, earrings from the Jewel Box. I had my wedding band made there and would definitely encourage you to stop by in-store to see their designs and quality up-close and personal.

Bikinis and golden spray tans from Couture Tan

I'm a huge advocate of spray tans vs. tanning beds. Now in my 40's it makes me sad when I hear of a friend, many often younger than myself, having been diagnosed with skin cancer. The spray tans look great and are a much healthier, less damaging option to bronzing your skin safely.

Casual chic to sophisticated fashions from Simply Smashing

I've shopped at Simply Smashing for over a decade now and can honestly say whenever I wear anything I've purchased there I receive compliments for it. From clothing to a tiny pink chandelier I used to use in my booth at bridal fairs back when I made bridal accessories owner Deb Rohzen has impeccable taste.

From flats to heels to wedges fun and flirty shoes hit the catwalk from In Style Shoes. Also featured were handbags by local designer (and MC for the evening) Richard Lane.

Vintage fashions from 23 Skidoo

The best thing about vintage clothing are the designs, quality of the garments, and that each piece is unique. The worst part about vintage clothing is that each piece is unique. That means when you see a piece you have to hope it's either going to fit or be too big because you can always alter things down but rarely is there enough fabric in the salvage to let things out. Along with clothing and accessories 23 Skidoo also offers retro interior design elements, colorful wigs, and as assortment of beauty products.

ETA: Sandi from 23 Skidoo was kind enough to leave a comment to let me know that the outfits featured above are reproductions that they sell meaning there are PLENTY OF SIZES and quantities! Well, at least more than one for authentic vintage :)

Everyone loved this beaded flapper dress!

There was a raffle with lots of prizes.

The Bang, a girl group revue, and The Gentleman's Club (back up band for The Bang) performed during the two intermissions and following the runway show.

There was a dancing exhibition on the dance floor before the start of the fashion show and later couples took to the runway to dance during the intermissions.

There was plenty of food to sample from downtown eateries. Guests could wander from table to table sampling small bites and plates from restaurants they may have heard about or passed by but still had't had a chance to dine at.

Participating Restaurants:
Blue Line Pizza
Buca di Beppo
El Guapo's
Frost Cupcake Factory
Liquid Bread Gastropub
Regale Winery
Snake & Butterfly
Sonoma Chicken Coop
Sushi [Confidential]

There were also retail merchants and products on display and for sale nestled in with the food booths. They were:

BetanBrandon Busa PhotographyCampbell Furniture, Campbell T-Shirt Co, Devine Virgin Extensions, El Aguila Magazine, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Gabrielle's Bridal Atelier, Madam X Emporium, Paparazzi Jewelry, Pure Massage TherapyTico Coffee Roasters, Urban Oasis, and Via Services.

The decor was fun and festive. The flirty floral arrangements were by Edgar & Argelia and the linens provided by A Party Place.

The lights by Kaleido suspended above the runway were true works of art.

And of course there were libations and dessert. Pictured here were bite sized cupcakes by Frost Cupcake Factory.

If you love fashion shows and live in the South Bay be sure to keep an eye out for next year's runway event. Subscribe to the Downtown Campbell website's bi-weekly newsletter and you'll be among the first to know once a date has been scheduled. You'll also know about lots of other events taking place in or near downtown Campbell.

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