Sunday, September 20, 2009

A gathering of fashion stars

The Sacramento fashion scene continues to evolve, with more shows and more local designers, models and stylists gaining momentum and attracting national attention.

However, recognizing their efforts - in the capital - has not happened on a big scale.

That's about to change.

On Oct. 2, the inaugural Capital Fashion Awards will be held at the Park Ultra Lounge, 15th and L streets. The event will pay tribute to the area's top designers, models, hairstylists and salons. There also is a category for fashion photography.

This won't be just any awards show. The design nominees, including Dee Aguilar, Mercedes Ben, Richard Hallmarq and Lauren Oto, will present new collections.

Models for the show are from Cast Images. M.A.C cosmetics will do the makeup; Strands Salon & Spa will do the hair.

Besides the local talent and presenters, the show will feature big names in the fashion and modeling business. For example:

[ Jonathan Waud, 27, was a topthree finalist on Season 2 of "Make Me a Supermodel." He grew up in Southampton, England, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

He's looking forward to coming to Sacramento because it's the capital and, for a change, he's not the focus of the runway. Waud has done shows for Nordstrom, the most recent this summer in San Francisco. And plenty of print work.

"I get to wear all these great clothes (even underwear!), but my favorite thing is jeans, boots and a cotton T-shirt," Waud says.

[ CariDee English, 23, was the winner of Cycle 7 of "America's Next Top Model." She grew up in Fargo, N.D., and lives in Santa Monica. She hosts "Pretty Wicked" on the Oxygen network and also is pursuing a singing career.

She says her manager raved about the show here, so it was a quick booking for her.

"I'm looking forward to meeting the models in Sacramento to encourage them," she says. "Winning 'Next Top Model' changed everything for me. But these days, the (magazine) covers don't go to models, they go to celebrities.

"I was on the cover of Runway, and it was like winning a Grammy or an Oscar."

[ Naima Mora, 25, was the winner of Cycle 4 of "ANTM." She grew up in Detroit and now lives in New York. Mora will host the Capital Fashion Awards. (She hosted the local International Academy of Design & Technology's "Imagine" show in 2008.)

"For me, this will be a personal experience with the designers because there's a human being behind those collections," Mora says. "I have a great relationship with Richard (Hallmarq) and will be wearing some of his pieces at the show."

[ Merlin Castell, 37, grew up in Honduras and was a contestant this summer on Season 1 of Bravo's "The Fashion Show." He lives in L.A. and is working on three fashion collections.

"My dream is to see 'Merlin' clothing in Nordstrom and on every woman who wants to look pretty," he says.

Castell has never been to Sacramento. He also is eager to talk to the upand- coming designers in the show.

"My advice to them will be to have your own style," he says. "Whatever that is. I'm a little eccentric! Celebrities sell products because they're celebrities. Designers sell because they have character."

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