Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Boiler Room: San Francisco Fashion Awards 2010

As Owen Geronimo opens his mouth to speak, the minions of the makeup room lower their voices to hear what needs to be said.

“ALL PHOTOGRAPHERS COME HERE! WE ARE TAKING PICTURES AGAINST THE BACKDROP!”

And just like that, a pack of photo nerds ran to the scene like a bunch of animals at a watering hole. So there I was, holding my 5 [or more] year old digital camera (it felt more like I was babysitting a senior citizen than taking photos) trying to get a good shot amongst all the others. I knew I wouldn’t get as high quality of a shot as the others, so I decided to take a different approach.

On the runway, a model must erase everything that is currently going on in their life (family problems, broken bones, and broken hearts) in order to put on their game face. But what about when they’re getting ready? What about those moments before the runway? Shouldn’t we capture that as well?

I LOVE this picture because that face, that exact expression, is something we’ve all done . Whether we do it before going on a hot date, or prior to a public speech, we all recognize this as the “I’m gettin’ in the zone” face. With sixty seconds till game time, and your nerves shooting out of your veins like a busted drain pipe, all you need is that one final moment to say “I can do this”. But somehow, no matter how confident you may feel there’s always a person even more relaxed…

Fun Fact: It is IMPOSSIBLE to take a candid shot of a model – they are ALWAYS aware of the camera! Gawd Dammit! Stop being so…so GOOD AT YOUR JOB!

One of the things that I noticed (and liked) about these models was that they were all very personal. Nearly every model had this small nugget of alone time. Time to reflect and time to concentrate. They sat down with furrowed brows, heads down low, and wrinkled foreheads. I like that. I think the moment someone feels alone is the moment they’re truly themselves.

The model pictured directly above is one of my favorites. Aside from the fact that she looks like Gisele Bundchen’s long lost twin sister, she always had that exact same look on her face while she was backstage. I mean she’s a gorgeous girl yet somehow, it almost seems as if she doesn’t realize it. There’s a lovely innocence that radiates from her. And hey! Check out those pockets!

When the mist (from hairspray) clears the air, and the curling irons are set on the table, it’s time to rock the shit out of your outfit. You simply take one step, and the rest is history. Running a fashion show is a lot like cooking a wonderful meal for your family (if your family consisted of 40+ members): although the finished product is refined and sophisticated, the process needed to get there is rough and filled with scars. You will cut yourself, overcook the chicken, and even forget to pick up carrots from the grocery store, but in the end… it all turns out alright. But you know what’s the funny thing about running a fashion show? After everyone leaves and all the lights are turned off, the thing you remember most is not the show itself, but the time spent creating it.

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Be sure to check back later on this week when I post pictures of the people who attended the San Francisco Fashion Awards 2010, and all of their lovely lovely outfits :)

To Owen & Del: Your show ran smoother than the side of Angelina Jolie’s [airbrushed] right cheek. Thank you for opening so many doors. See you in October….

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Afro Ninja: Union Square, San Francisco

OH…

MY…

GAWD…

Is this not the GREATEST outfit your eyes have ever seen?! I’m pretty sure that at the end of a double rainbow there is no pot of gold,  there is but this man. Old spice guy? Meet THIS GUY! The instant I look at this picture my mind just screams out “1970’s Kung Fu movies.” I mean honestly, EVERYTHING is PERFECT!

The cropped leather jacket, the negative break in his pants, the discrete cigarette that looks like it’s about to burn his pants, and those shades all paint the perfect Kung Fu character. But come on guys, let’s be honest: what REALLY makes this outfit sing is the hair. From the perfectly groomed handlebar mustache (which is begging to be fed a tall glass of beer) to the modernized Don King afro, his hair is stylized in a way I have never seen in person.

And this badass character of his? It ain’t just for show. While I was taking this picture, the San Francisco cable car was coming by and this man was literally an inch away from the tracks (or at least it seemed like it was.) As the sound of steel on steel contact came closer and closer, I jumped out of the way only to find Mr. Mustache still as a statue. Someone give this man a pair of nun-chucks and a cheeseburger – or should I say, Royal with cheese?

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Texting While Waiting: West Portal, San Francisco

I absolutely love the simplicity of this. Luckily for me, I was able to witness this outfit in person and the way her outfit brought out the rich and wonderful color of her skin. And check out the texture on those boots! However, what I really appreciate about this outfit is how she used her bag. Generally speaking, I HATE the Louis Vuitton bags with the logos printed all over. In fact, I hate ALL bags with the logos printed all over – it’s too gaudy for me.

Yet, the purity of this outfit really brings down the loudness of the purse a few notches. It’s cute on her and it also matches her cuteness :)

Me: (Intro) …so I was just wondering if I could take a picture of your outfit
Her: Ummm…sure? Wait no!
Me: Huh?
Her: Well, I don’t look good in pictures!
Me: Haha oh don’t worry, you look fine!  And you can keep texting if you want, just stay exactly where you are
Her: Oh, okay
*snap snap snap*
Me: Okay, thank you!
Her: So what are you up to?

Alright, at this point, I can honestly say I was thrown a curve ball. Usually when I shoot my subjects it’s a lot like a one night stand: wham, bam, thank you mam (or sir?). So it’s always a pleasure when my subjects actually engage in a conversation with me.

Me: Well… I’m just walking around trying to get shots, but I’m also looking for a place to eat.
Her: In West Portal? You should go downtown!
Me: I actually just took some random streets and wound up here on accident, haha
Her: Very cool. Well good luck!
Me: Thanks! :)

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The Smoothest Guy On The Block: Union Square, San Francisco

Damn son! This guy’s confidence is literally jumping off the page! Being that I am the only Asian guy in North America with parted hair, it was very easy for me to spot another classically dressed man. I spotted him half a block away as he walked into FCUK (French Connection) to look at some clothes. Do I stalk him? Do I wait for him to leave? What if he works there? Aww crap! Eventually I walked in and asked if I could take his picture which he gladly agreed to.

What I really like about this outfit is that head to toe, he commits to the theme. His hair is slicked, vest  snug yet slightly loose, and the colors are all fairly neutral. It’s simple, it’s clean, and it’s a modern interpretation of classic American style.

And be sure to check out his blog at casanovafresh.wordpress.com!

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Oh, this old thang?: Union Square, San Francisco

One of the few cliches that I find myself following is the idea that “less is more”. Less makeup = more natural beauty, less fast food = more abs, less sex with real people = more time spent watching porn. In terms of style, I find that a lot of people are confused when it comes to detailing. These terrorists of fashion consume every imaginable style and throw it into one outfit: Zebra print thongs with polka dot leggings paired with an Andy Warhol graphic tee all underneath a pinstripe blazer. It’s RIDICULOUS!

But this woman over here, she’s my type – well, at least from a stylistic point of view. There’s something to be said about a dress that can look good with only two black stripes. With the use of her jet black shoes (which kinda look like the female version of beatle boots) you get a delicious yet modernized mod outfit. I also love the sleekness of her long hair being tucked into the neckline of her jacket.

Her: Oh that’s so nice of you to take my picture! This is such an old dress!
Me: Oh no problem! It looks very nice!

Did she just pull of a modernized version of the movie cliche where a girl gets a compliment about her outfit and says “Oh, this old thang?” Very cool my friend, very cool.

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The Blonde Egyptian Princess: San Francisco

It has come to my attention that the outfits I enjoy the most on this blog have all been outfits worn by beautiful blondes. Though I could say that this preference is strictly accidental, I think I know why this gentleman prefers blondes.

Long ago when I was a wee little boy with long hair and a wild fascination for my boogers, I had a neighbor. She was young, vibrant, a lover of dogs, blonde haired, I can’t remember what colors eyes she had, but she was also an older woman (maybe that explains my interest current interest in older women?) One thing lead to the next and eventually I found myself in my garage giving her a quick kiss on the lips as we pretended to get married.

Ahhh… good memories…but anyways! Imagine walking through a brightly lit San Francisco and seeing this woman standing randomly in the shade – how can you not stare at her? In today’s fashion, you can see this type of red in various outfits and accessories (I know, I have a shirt this same color). But this dress….the way she wears it makes it almost seem…angelic. The way the fabric falls from her shoulders, the “arrows” that her shoulders seem to create, and the bracelet all create this image of a modern (yet blonde) Egyptian princess. It’s an outfit of royalty without being gaudy.

This just goes to show you: you don’t need pictures of flaming eagles, or witty phrases, or shimmering jewels on your outfit to stand out. All you need is the right color, and the right Asian guy with a hidden love affair for blonde girls.

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Daniel Craig’s European Twin Brother: San Francisco

I don’t know about you but I can always tell if a person is from Europe just from the way that they dress. Is it the textured shoes? The negative break of the pants? Or perhaps it’s the bag?

When it comes to man bags, American men can be so goddamn squeamish towards anything that doesn’t look like a gym bag or something made from Jansport. During my years of “I hate American fashion! Viva la European fashion!” I fell in love with the man bag. I learned that in America, if you can pull off a man bag, you will be praised by many women, and envied by many men. Speaking of envy, this guy has a nice effing bag!

I love the modern yet classic feel of this Dior bag. The placement of the straps and the asymmetry of the pocket makes it modern while the quality of the leather, the coin, and the caramel trim bring it back a few decades. And get a load of those shoes! I’m starting to notice this shoelace…less trend a lot more. It’s weird, but I approve!

When you look at the details of the outfit: the shoes, the bag, the intermediate tying of the scarf, and the pants, you get a nice, sophisticated, casual, and very very European outfit. Auf Wiedersehen!

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Reading and Smoking (at the same time): San Francisco

The most valuable moment in our day occurs during that small moment of passing between one event and the next. It’s that 15 minute break before class where you sit on a bench and people watch. Or maybe it’s the 10 minute drive you take to work listening to bossanova. Or in the case of the girl above, it’s reading a book during her smoking break. Unfortunately for her, I interrupted her valuable time in order to get this picture :D

It’s not that this outfit is die hard “OMG WHERE DID YOU GET THAT TOP?!” because it really is not. It’s an outfit that would totally go unnoticed by 90% of the people who pass by. Luckily for you guys, walking around and taking pictures is my valuable nugget of time (except mine is more of a 4 hour nugget.) So when I saw her from afar, I slowed down, taking the time to break down what I was looking at. I liked the outfit, she’s a beautiful girl, but there was something that really pulled it together….red.

If it weren’t for these small trickles of red (her lipstick, nailpolish, and the book cover) you might think you’re looking at a black and white photo. Her leather jacket looks insanely soft to touch yet her skirt feels frayed and shredded. She looks like a badass with that jacket/cigarette yet the lipstick and skirt seem to suggest otherwise. It’s a tricky picture – but I like it. Uh oh! I guess your valuable nugget of time is up :)

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