Designers showcase creativity at North Bay Fashion Ball

Fabric, fibres, found objects, they all do things they’ve never been asked to do together before. That’s one description of the rich, strange, wonderful and downright bizarre creations that were displayed before the delighted eyes of attendees at the third annual North Bay Fashion Ball.

“The show is a tiered birthday cake, or ziggurat, with fireworks,” said show founder and presenter Cincinnatus Hibbard, describing the show as “where the region’s best designers and street stylers step up their game and meet their fanatics.”

Held at Lagunitas Brewery and Beer Sanctuary on Saturday, May 18, the well-attended event was a lively passing of the torch, with Hibbard organizing the show for the last time. Starting next year, co-founder Lena Claypool will take over the running of the event, which has grown and expanded every year since its debut in 2022.

This highly entertaining spectacle – preceded this year by an arts and fashion market with live music – annually showcases the creations of local designers and designers, all carefully selected to represent different age groups, looks and aesthetics. This year’s main presenters were Reprezent, Buck Lucky Brand, Love Morgue, Poofii Studio, The Princess Boutique and YLX Design.

There were also three groups of “ambassadors” representing what Hibbard called “the most extraordinary series of annual fashion shows and shows.” The shows and events they represented were the California Indian Museum’s annual fashion show, the semi-annual Soft Medicine Show, and the Sonoma Community Center’s annual Trashin’ Fashion Show. Each group delivered some of their best looks, taking the runway to a “personally selected power ballad.”

After the show ended, as per tradition, a “surprise musical guest” took the stage. This year, it was singer, songwriter and performer Flefs.

“As a curator and collector of rare seeds, also known as potentials, I have been searching for a pop star in Sonoma County for years,” Hibbard said. “Fleeves has the right stuff. This was only his third show, but the audience gave him and his dancers an ‘O’ status.”

The event was once again a benefit for Face to Face, a Sonoma County nonprofit that operates a range of prevention and care programs, and provides HIV testing and other vital services to Sonoma County residents living with HIV. Although this year’s show has now ended, Hibbard, Claypool and their partners are calling on the community to further its success by donating to Face to Face.

“We raised 3,000 for F2F,” Hibbard said. “They took all of our profits and the rest went to the artists and technicians working on the production, except for me. I’m a volunteer.”

Hibbard adds that Face to Face received a number of side donations as well, with a large QR code prominently displayed. “I told the audience, anytime you feel happy, scan this QR code and donate,” he said.

To add your own donation, visit Face to Face at face2face.org.

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