As I bustled around backstage at the Sac Fashion Week Runway show, I was busy taking in the glamour of it all, mixed with the behind-the-scenes narrative from our intern Connor (who was also interning for SFW). Models and designers everywhere, all dressed their fashion-y best…
And then I see a burly guy walk through with a backward baseball hat, cut-off sleeves and gym shorts, paired with a scruffy unkempt face.
I wondered why they hadn’t asked the stage-hand guys to be dressed a bit more professional, since after all, it is FASHION week. Maybe just all black? Pants? A shave? Whatever. On with the show…
As we sat in the audience just feet from the runway, Connor and I weighed in on each collection. It was nice. Pretty. Well-constructed. Good music… but we were waiting for something to really reach out and grab us. I wanted to see something fresh, edgy, wearable, inspired. And then, Michael Lopez sent his models down the runway.
It was the first set that was trendy and sharp while still being approachable and feminine. The pastels, the cutouts, the cuts themselves, the collars! Everything pointed to this collection being from an experienced designer. We checked the program again. Michael Lopez… Ok, who is this guy?
The audience had an audible response to his designs on the runway, taking it all in, photographers trying to capture every angle. After the last model walked through, they all lined up waiting for their beloved designer to come take a bow…
And out walks the scruffy guy I mistook for a stagehand earlier, in all of his backward baseball hat, cutoff glory. Wait, WHAT?! The whole place was stunned and applauded. Definitely not what any of us were expecting.
A few weeks later, our busy schedules aligned, and I finally got to sit down with Michael over a burger & fries and ask about everything, namely – how? Turns out, what we all saw on the runway (on his models), although we love it, is a big departure from his usual designs. And what we saw on the runway (on Michael) is TOTALLY him. This self-taught Sacramento native goes with his gut, and creates what he likes, not what anyone else tells him he should.
The fashion world draws a particular crowd to participate in it, as well as to spectate and speculate. It’s a breath of fresh air to talk with Michael and find out it’s not a front – he really is that down to earth, that talented, and that forward-focused. He lets his work speak for him, which is rare. It’s not uncommon for fashion people to be the biggest believer in their own hype and spend so much time promoting the first thing they created that they don’t have time to actually hone their craft.
We’re wanting to see you produce something new and quality. Wow us with your innovation and skill, not your propensity to self-promote. Michael was too busy creating fashion that’s current and interesting, to go around tooting his own horn. He’s basically letting everyone figure it out for themselves.
We are big fans of Heart Boutique, and had no idea Michael was already selling his pieces there (and Heart customers have a serious thing for his work, too!) A designer who can produce pieces that hold their own on a runway, and have ready-to-wear pieces selling out at local shops too? You heard it here – he’s one to watch out for.
Take in the pics below, from the runway and a shoot at the beach:
[ beach photos by: Cait Loper // model on the ground photo by: Nilina Mason-Campbell ]
Michael’s pieces have beautiful movement. Pictures really don’t do it justice…
Here’s a video lookbook to help you feel it.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/32189772 w=400&h=225]
[ Music by: Still Corners. ]
[ Models: Sonia Antilla & Kristina Esfandari ]
[ Fauxnel by Michael Lopez @ Heart Boutique ]