Project Ethos, a production hybrid that elegantly brings together various artistic mediums into fabulous one night showcases, has returned to San Diego for another enticing presentation. This past weekend, the PE team combined live art installations with a stellar musical performance by MANN and a high fashion runway show. Local designers were showcased at the exclusive event, including Tatiana Zaykovskaya (Tatiana Z), Keisha Audrey (Keisha Audrey Designs), Yrenne Landeros, Kenneth Barlis, Stacie Tailor (Stacie May), Cardiwrap By Kymaro and Frederick’s of Hollywood Swimwear. Frederick's, known for their sexy lingerie and lounge wear, is launching their new swim line exclusively at PE events across the country this season.
The show had many different aspects that either delivered or failed to deliver the results typical of Project Ethos shows. Although the production standards were definitely met, and in some cases exceeded, some of the designers were far less couture than others and like most locally sourced shows, some of the models seemed more comfortable in their skin than others. The opening musical performance was more impressive than I expected, although I must admit I didn't expect much since I had never heard of MANN or his hit single "Buzzin", and set the mood for a fun laid pack evening. Once the music and lights lowered and the fashion presentation began, a very strange ballet performance was used to mark the start of the runway show. It seemed as though models tried to use ballet as an artistic measure, but it came across like the producers were trying to hard. Ballet has a few verticals that cross over into runway, but the vibe set by the musical performance and later in the music, choreography and styles used in the show did not have anything remotely relevant to ballet or its grace.
Overall, as much as San Diego is in dire need of a fashion element, the designers based out of San Diego seem to lack in some of the creatiive genius that makes LA, New York and Miami all renowned for their fashion scenes. Of all of the designer sets, the only one's I could really find use for were Cardiwrap By Kymaro, Tatiana Z and Yrenne Landeros.
Cardiwrap was the opening scene and although I could not stand the spandex harem pants (bleck!), the chameleon like quality of the upper half of the looks was practical and pleasant. After a typically cheap looking collection from Frederick's swim wear line, Stacie May's retro boho looks were playful but her prints made me dizzy with discomfort. The next two acts I won't even dwell on; the ghetto prom collection by Kenneth Barlis and the horrendous DIY carpet collection by Keisha Audrey were straight up beat. Most of this time was spent sipping champagne and making sure my flyaway's were behaving...
Cardiwrap By Kimaro
Then, like a beacon of light, came the most fun presentation of the bunch. Yrenne Landeros' garments were by far the best. With a trendy-feminine theme showing off mini hem's, rompers and cutouts, the designer utilized playful colors and patterns with bursts reds and yellows that really spoke to not only the vibrancy of the line and its birthplace, but also the vitaminwater zero challenge incorporated by the producers of PE. Her music was hip, the models had fun and most importantly, virtually all of the looks were 100% wearable. The hot item that grabbed everyone's eye was a yellow skirt laden with black leather straps, giving off an edgy vibe that was seriously lacking from every other collection that came down the runway. Her tribal print cutout dress was ravishing and if I could pick one item to wear outta that place, that would have been it.
The famous yellow skirt! Bangin!
The Tatiana Z collection came at the end and was one of the most well rounded collections of the evening. Complete with gorgeous maxi dresses and fun cocktail dresses with couture ruffles incorporated (a bit avant garde, but street friendly), the designers evening wear set was feminine, contemporary and chic. Her peace sign handbag was a hit and was an example of how functionally she utilized her accessories.
Tatiana Z from the front row
Overall, it was nice to see a fully produced show at a premier venue in San Diego, but in the right hands, the producers could have been somewhat more selective with their designers. It's about quality not quantity, I would have much rather watched a shorter version highlighting my three faves then sitting through the agony of some of the other segments.
In addition to the presentations given over the course of the evening, there were a few local industry and socialite sightings that were note worthy. Amy Grace Winn of Grace Styling sat front row at the seven segment fashion show, right across the runway from Project Runway's own Gordana Gehlhausen. Also spotted was the GO Fashion team, another up and coming fashion event production company born out of San Diego.