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09:one night in paris  |  by jen wade 
The street wear reminded me of the work of local designers like Noelle Tavares, whose line Faedrah is part of the Sacramento fashion scene. The relaxed style of street wear embodies Sacramento, sometimes indiscernible from its sister style, hip hop. Hooded tops with tights, bright two-tone dresses, the type of clothes than can be comfortably worn from sunset until the first morning light.
One designer’s clothes stood out to me. Jaclyen Chideme’s collection featured detail and an appreciation for fabric. Good fabric is often expensive but it essential to creating a stunning garment. Her silky maxi dress and raw silk evening dress with ruffle train were well crafted. A striped gold dress looked stunning on a model that could have been a stunt double for Rihanna. During intermission I spoke with her about her future. She plans to move to LA after school, work in couture design, maybe work for a designer or clothing company - do the good ones even stay in Sacramento?
A ballet and an opera performance set the stage prior to Victor’s collection Amour de la Robe or Love of the Dress. His models wore elegant updos covered in red hair powder. His dresses were feminine and featured several different styles. A model wearing a strapless dress with a tulle skirt looked like a dancer who stepped out of a Degas painting; another model in a soft gold and bronze evening gown, a socialite on her way to a ball; and still another model, in a black and yellow fitted dress with a tulip skirt, a French businesswoman headed to a cocktail party. His show ended with a pale taupe evening dress, mostly see through but small gathered ruffles adequately covered all the right places.
As a contrast, many collections that night featured overtly sexual club wear. Backless pieces exposed side cleavage, some miniskirts ended in cellulite, some G-strings even made an appearance. I imagine a couple fathers blushed as the lace bodysuit walked down the catwalk, still others in the audience applauded. I tried to be impartial, to consider the ideas behind the clothes.
It was inspirational seeing young designers accomplish something, create something, all the while dreaming of bigger cities and longer runways. I left though still a little perplexed at where the next generation was taking us - into more provocative clothing perhaps. I’ve heard designers frequently say “I want my clothes to make women feel sexy”. I don’t even know what that means anymore. Has looking good or feeling beautiful become synonymous with evoking sexual appeal? I thought about woman like Coco Chanel who helped usher in fashions which were innovative in the early 1900s, trousers and shorter skirts which embodied independence and equality and helped reconstruct feminine identity. At the time I suppose that was also considered risqué. I think sometimes we forget that we are still constructing feminine identity, still defining what is beautiful. I felt comforted though thinking about Victor and Jaclyen’s collections, a happy medium between elegance and sensuality. The focus required to create beauty through attention to proportions, fit, and fabric rather than pure sex appeal - it is definitely the narrower, the more difficult road to follow.
vhcle 09:fashion
Fashion by Victor Louis
Photography by Jen Wade

Jen Wade is the Fashion Editor for Vhcle Magazine. She also moonlights as an environmental consultant. While writing this article she downloaded every song available by The Bird and the Bee and began an obsession with fashion illustration in the late 1980s.
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 By Jen Wade  .  October 2009 page 2