By Kara Hugglestone/Sail Couture
The St. Francis Yacht Club Fall Fashion Show is a hot ticket. It sells out each year and reservations are made months in advance. This year was particularly enticing with a fun Island Chic theme. It’s a multifaceted event, featuring models wearing fashions by Helen Lyall Clothes for Women, a boutique with a variety of vendors and luncheon.
Beautiful tropical flower arrangements and steel drum music greeted attendees as they arrived. “Enjoy, as the island breezes dance with the sound of the steel drum to whisk us all away to the island of St. Barth’s, the ultimate ‘Island Chic,'” the program welcomed.
Festivities began with the Cultivar Boutique. While sipping wine, attendees shopped 11 vendors, ranging from bespoke men’s fashion to preppy personalized items to themed party planning in a box.
Mark & Graham offers a colorful selection of timeless gifts including bags, jewelry, linens and glassware, many with a nautical themes. They can be personalized with a monogram as well.
Former Elle Fashion editor Katherine Growney makes fragrant perfumes and body oils as well as the most exquisite Stand Up Paddle boards with her company Saffron James. Based in Hawaii, Katherine offers a wonderful way for the rest of us to enjoy the aura of Hawaii home.
A fun discovery was Pigs in Mud, which ‘helps busy people elevate the everyday’ with clever ‘entertaining kits’ that stage a variety of themed parties. A field guide takes you from grocery shopping to welcoming your first guest. The ‘Paella Glamping’, Bohemian Tea Party’ and Crab Feast kits look especially festive.
J. Hilburn makes custom shirts, suits, cashmere sweaters and more that while luxurious do not break the bank. It was founded by a couple of ‘Wall Street guys’ who loved the way they felt wearing great-fitting clothes, J. Hilburn fits the niche of quality custom clothing with a personal stylist providing a curated wardrobe.
While shopping it was fun to take in the fashion in boutique. Mindy Henderson’s dress particularly impressed. It was Marc Cain from Danielle on Union Street, her necklace vintage from her mother.
Sponsor Cultivar Wine was pouring their Sauvignon Blanc that has some lovely peach notes and being steel fermented, was on the crisper side which I prefer.Cultivar Wine was founded by St. Francis Yacht Club members Jody Harris, and Gingy Harris Gable. The Estate is a 25 acre property located in the foothills of Napa Valley in Rutherford, practicing organic and sustainable farming.
On the way upstairs to the luncheon, we passed the many door prizes, including our Sail Couture ‘sail basket’ full of fun sailing, fashion, wine and travel items.
The first course was a lovely and tasty Artisan Cheese Board. It set the tone for a wonderful meal.
A Harvest Chicken Avocado Salad was the main course.
Dessert was a collection of petit fours. The meal was delicious, proving this was a culinary experience too.
Lunch finished, it was show time, or in this year’s case, island time.
The tropical headdresses were breathtaking.
Helen Lyall Cloths for Women is known for special dresses and the opening ones were stunning.
Fashions featuring lace were popular with the audience.
Fringe, ponchos and capes are a big trend this year and were well represented.
The show culminated with some striking form-fitting red carpet gowns. “These women work hard on their bodies and want to show them off; they are the type of customer who wants to have something unique…when they enter a room heads turn,” Helen later said.
The audience agreed. “Helen always has great stuff. I will probably go home with something, I usually do,” said Katie Walter of San Francisco. Katie’s favorite was one of mine too, the black dress with lace and ruffle detail. Kimberly Sharp said, “The show is fun and inspiring, it’s the latest fashion.”
The ponchos were Lisa Dana’s favorites, particularly the plaid and grey ones. “They brought down the roof,” she said. Indeed, the energy level was high with attendees enthusiastically cheering on their model friends.
“The St. Francis uses only their members as models, no professionals at all, which makes it a very personalized show,” Helen said. “Everyone knows everyone and it’s so fun to see the audience response.”
“We were thrilled with the whole event, from the overwhelming turnout of members and friends, to Helen Lyall’s fashions and runway production, to all of the volunteers, boutique vendors and Yacht Club staff who helped make the event so successful,” said 2015 Fashion Show Chairwoman Maggie Mack.
Kudos to event chairs Brooke Perkins and Maggie Mack on a beautiful event. In the event program they encourage us to “Sail Fast and Stay Chic.” Words to live by.
Please contact Helen Lyall at (707) 252-7400 with any questions about the fashions here.
Note: The Fall Fashion Show at the St. Francis Yacht Club is a private event for members and guests only. It’s one of the many benefits of membership in the club.
Kara Hugglestone is a San Francisco-based branding professional, accessory designer, sailor and traveler. When time permits, she also indulges in her passion for things classic: cars, movies, wine and fashion. You can follow her on Twitter at @gallerykara.