Fashionistas Turn Out For SF Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show

Komal Shah (in Emilio Pucci) and Pamela Joyner (in Andrew Gn)
Fashion plates Komal Shah (in Emilio Pucci) and Pamela Joyner (in Andrew Gn)

Photo Credit: Kelly E Carter

San Francisco Bay Area women obviously aren’t satisfied just watching a fashion show curated by Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing of his store’s Spring 2015 Designer Collections. No, these females are so stylish that they can be the fashion show as well, which was particularly true for one woman at the 34th San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show on April 2 in The Grand Ballroom of The Fairmont San Francisco.

The primarily-female audience came flaunting creations by Andrew Ng, Emilio Pucci, Mary Katrantzou, Chanel and other haute labels, as if they had just walked off the runway. And one literally could have! The highlight of the show came when a leggy model strutted down the runway in the same Mary Katrantzou lobelia sky printed tank dress with pouf skirt worn by guest Sarah Somberg. Cheered on by the women at her table, Somberg, seated next to the runway, stood up from her seat during the model’s return stroll down the catwalk, got the attention of the model and the two high-fived, much to the delight of the crowd.

Sarah Somberg, in the background in a Mary Katrantzou dress, prepares to high five the model wearing an identical dress.
Sarah Somberg, in the background wearing a Mary Katrantzou dress, prepares to high five the model wearing an identical dress.

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography


Sarah Somberg, in a Mary Katrantzou dress and clutch by Damien Hirst, No. 15 of 16 made by the English artist.
Sarah Somberg, wearing a Mary Katrantzou dress and Damien Hirst clutch, No. 15 of 16 made by the English artist.

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter

That kind of good nature was also on display when Allison Speer and Pamela Joyner, seated at the same table with one chair between them wore almost identical Andrew Ng floral dresses; the only thing different was the color of their frocks. The fashion plates took it in stride and were happy to pose together for the cameras.

But the real action was on the catwalk, where a dazzling array of designer fashions available at Neiman Marcus were on display.

“Are you all ready for a show?” Downing teased before things got underway. “If not, you better leave.”

The fashions ran the gamut from denim bell bottoms to glittery evening gowns. Staged in three scenes, the first act showed haute Bohemian looks—long, languid and lush with colors of spices and fringe. Next came pale shades of white, including black and white outfits. Downing cranked it up several notches in the third act, which featured a lot of mixing and matching of patterns that you may not think would go together. Downing prefaced the final act by instructing the women (and men) to find a base color, an idea within a print, and build on that. Just when you think, “My god, I would never wear that—that’s when it’s perfect. Make chaos out of your closet and mix everything together.”

At the end of the show, Downing received a well-deserved standing ovation as he strutted like a peacock down the runway, blowing kisses to the crowd, which also included: Barbara Brown, Navid Armstrong, Lora du Bain, Paula Carano, Carolyn Chandler, Karen Caldwell, Sobia Shaikh, Robert Atkinson, Jeff Garelick, Karen Kubin, Robert Arnold-Kraft and former Town & Country Editor Pamela Fiori, whose latest book, In The Spirit of Monte-Carlo, chronicles the 700-year-old Grimaldi dynasty and so much more about that glitzy city.

Pamela Fiori and Jeff Garelick
Pamela Fiori and Jeff Garelick

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter

The afternoon began with a 60-minute cocktail reception in the Terrace Room, where guests mingled and sipped La Marca Prosecco, wine from the William Hill Estate Winery and other beverages before they sauntered into the Grand Ballroom, where the fashion show, luncheon, live auction and raffle were held. The auction raised $51,000. The highlights included: a magnificent three-night stay in Monte Carlo, a luxurious, seven-night safari adventure in Kenya, a sublime SF Ballet experience in Shanghai, the ultimate holiday experience with 10 box seats to the SF Ballet’s performance of Nutcracker and Gingerbread Tea at The Fairmont San Francisco and a New York package that included two VIP tickets to An America in Paris and a stay at the Plaza Hotel.

Suzy Kellems Dominik served as honorary chair while Avé M. Seltsam (chair), Patricia Ferrin Loucks (luncheon chair) and Michelle Gilman Jasen (auction) comprised the auxiliary fashion show committee. KPMG was the corporate sponsor for this memorable event.

15 Haute Looks We Loved From The SF Ballet Auxiliary and Neiman Marcus Fashion Show