Elevate — A tribute to the late Karri Grant

It is with heavy hearts that earlier this year, Sacramento Fashion Week (SACFW) and the rest of Sacramento and the world had to bid adieu to a talented trendsetter and beautiful soul, Karri Grant.  Some people come into our lives for a purpose, staying only for a moment in the long run—others come into our lives to remain while leaving an eternal mark on our heart, mind, and soul.  Their presence endures because of the enormous impact they leave with us that can be seen and felt even when they are gone.  Karri Grant was definitely one of those souls who blessed everyone she came in contact with.

SACFW 2013 Launch Party – Kondrya Photography

From 2014 to 2016, SACFW has been elated to have had the opportunity to work with Karri as a skilled production stylist and educator in the industry.  Her main focus was always centralized around bringing up those around her and educating those who had the passion but lacked the know-how.  She devoted most of her time to expanding the realm of fashion in her chosen hometown where her children were raised, Sacramento.  Although she loved to travel and aspired to branch out to fashion capitals far and wide, she invested much of what she had into the city she loved, and we love her for just that.  Looking towards the future, there will forever remain a void from the impact Karri left with each person that was lucky enough to meet her.  We can only hope to carry on her legacy in a way that would make her proud.

SACFW 2014 – Kondrya Photography

We interviewed Karri in 2014 when she joined SACFW as the production stylist.  Click on the following link to read the full interview.  Karri Grant: Styling the Way  

Aside from her valued work in collaboration with SACFW, Karri was one of those people whose presence stuck with you once you parted ways.  Her spirit was infectious.  From her selfless education for those who needed it, and her work to bring attention to those who deserved it, to her added glitz covering everything she had a hand in, no one can soon forget this unique and talented individual. She was a shining example of one who is “forever living in the state of grace and gratitude” (quoted from her memorial service.)

SACFW 2014 Fashion Forum at Sacramento State – Kondrya Photography

For those who did not get the opportunity to experience the recent Sacramento Art Exhibit, “Wide Open Walls 916,” 2017, one of the pieces that stole the show was created by respected local artist and designer Yennie Zhou.  Yennie’s piece titled, “Elevate,” was dedicated to Ms. Grant, and was truly a sight to behold.  Standing at about 9 feet tall with an astounding 10-foot wingspan, this amazing angelic sculpture captured the attention of everyone in attendance.  What many people don’t realize is that Yennie created this piece before she knew about the outcome of Karri’s terminal condition.  And unfortunately, Karri did not get the opportunity to see the finished piece during her time with us.  But we know she is watching with appreciation and gratefulness as one of her beloved friends erected this breathtaking sculpture in her honor, which will remain for Sacramentans to admire for some time to come.

Yennie Zhou’s concept sketch for the Wide Open Walls exhibit

From local artists and designers to everyone in between (including those who play a part in making SACFW a reality,) it is clear as day that everyone that had the pleasure of meeting Karri had an immense amount of respect and admiration for her.  Although loss is always a difficult hurdle to overcome, we can only be grateful that this kindhearted woman is no longer in pain, and can now be at eternal peace in an awe-inspiring bliss that is outside of this world and our comprehension.  Regardless of ones’ beliefs, we can all agree on one thing—the powers that be welcomed Karri Grant into a pain-free bliss that is beyond our understanding.  And although she is now in a better place, we will always miss her charm, beauty, and knowledge in the world of fashion throughout Sacramento.

Elevate – the final tribute

Yennie’s tribute sculpture is currently on display in the front windows of the Sacramento Talent Magazines offices, located at 922 12th Street, in the Masonic Temple building.

Make-A-Wish Reveal Party

Kondrya Photography
Kondrya Photography

For this blog entry, we’re gonna get real. We’re going to take a moment to admire someone so strong, they’ll put most of us to shame with our daily griping about trivial things.  Sometimes we need to strip away the material and get to the bare skin truth of it all to feel something real again.

Kondrya Photography
Kondrya Photography

At just nine years old, Allayah, or “Lay-Lay,” has already fallen head over heels in love with everything fashion, and dreams about being a “professional fashion designer” someday.  So you may ask, what makes her so special amongst the growing number of young fashion phenoms rising up this day in age? Well the main reason is because as she puts her future plans in line and works towards them, she is also facing some very serious obstacles in her present, and not letting it slow her down.

XSight Photography
XSight Photography

Allayah has been diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a blood disorder in which bone marrow and the blood stem cells that reside in her body are severely damaged.  Allayah has not significantly responded to current treatments, and her low amount of platelets will require a bone marrow transplant in the near future.  In the midst of this hurdle, she manages to smile and keep a positive glow about her–not letting life’s struggles or anything else get in her way or steal her joy.  This was one of many reasons Allayah was selected to have her biggest wish come true.  It was nothing short of an emotional blessing for everyone involved with the big reveal.

Kondrya Photography
Kondrya Photography
Kondrya Photography
Kondrya Photography

There wasn’t a dry eye throughout the building as her wish was revealed.  Sacramento Fashion Week  (SACFW) was honored to collaborate with Make-A-Wish, being part of the big Paris-themed reveal party on June 29th, 2017.  Located at the Make-A-Wish Foundation building in Natomas, California, there was a full house as family, friends, media, and community supporters, came together to help this brave little girl experience the happiness of one of her biggest dreams coming true.  Allayah’s wish of going to Paris Fashion Week was granted with the help of Subaru, who sponsored a trip not only for her but her whole family for 6 days.

Xsight Photography
XSight Photography

Models Tamica Michelle, Diamond Mone, and Marizela Huseinovic took part as live mannequins, showcasing a few of designer Yennie Zhou’s stunning gowns in their most high fashion poses.  Complete with mimes, jugglers, and a smorgasbord fit for a day in Paris, you could see Allayah’s eyes light up as she soaked it all in.  When she gets back from Paris, we’re excited to have her as a guest of honor at the 2018 presentations of Sacramento Fashion Week, and expect this fighter to be healthy and excited as she sits front row.

Kondrya Photography
Kondrya Photography

SACFW had a blast collaborating with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to make this reveal extra special.  With the help of an amazing team–our beautiful models, hair stylist Jonathan Cheek, MUA Elysa Quintella, designers Yennie Zhou and Anastasia Kryukova, as well as coordinators Duane Ram and Jax Buttle, it was truly a magical event.  We are definitely looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate on many more heartwarming endeavors in the near future with this amazing foundation.

Xsight Photography
XSight Photography
Xsight Photography
XSight Photography

SACFW 2017 in Review

15722858_10206836905395067_763405016_n

The anticipation and allure behind this year’s Sacramento Fashion Week (SACFW) events could be felt throughout the damp cold Sacramento air for weeks leading up to the grand events. So many long hours of planning, preparation, and practice, ready to come together for the grand reveal–a showcase presenting the direction of Sacramento runway and ready-to-wear fashion for 2017.

Designer Yennie Zhou in collobration with Ettores Photographer Mark Gunter
Designer Yennie Zhou in collaboration with Ettorie’s European Bakery & Restaurant
Photographer Mark Gunter

From avant garde collaborations between talented designer Yennie Zhou and one of Sacramento’s finest bakeries, Ettorie’s European Bakery & Restaurant, to chic and sexy Amoirai bathing suits ready to walk off the runway, there was something captivating for everyone to enjoy.

​AMOIRAI​ Swimwear ​​by​ ​Mary Moehring Photography by Alena v Melnik
AMOIRAI Swimwear by Mary Moehring
Photography by Alena v Melnik

 

Backstage Photographer Jonathan Ricardo
Backstage
Photographer Jonathan Ricardo

Now that we can say farewell to the residual specks of glitter found in random places, and scroll through the numerous selfies and group photos taken each day (deleting those embarrassing accidental candids) we have a chance to reflect on all the excitement from the week of February 19th to February 25th, 2017. A week chalked full of tremendous talent and dedication. A week of Sacramento’s finest in fashion coming together to show off their best.

sfw01
miss velvet cream collection

 

Authentic Queens Boutique Photography by Igor Kondrya
Authentic Queens Boutique
Photography by Igor Kondrya

 

DMR Photography
Boutique Showcase host Bridgette Loriaux looks on as model struts down the runway
DMR Photography

SACFW 2017 started off the week with the Boutique showcase at one of Sacramento’s largest and most historic venues, the Sacramento Masonic Temple on J Street. Following the opening night were some intriguing and informative events.  On Monday, the Art Institute of California – Sacramento hosted and the students of the Institute produced the Fashion Forum which featured six industry guest speakers.

Photography by Igor Kondrya
top from left SACFW producer Duane Ram, guest speakers Gerry Simpson, Tim Engle and forum host Veronica Castro
Seated from left guest speakers Debbie O’Hearn, Felicia Strati and Seana Brooks
Photography by Igor Kondrya

 

Barbizon Instructor Marizela Huseinovic Photography by Igor Kondrya
Barbizon Instructor Marizela Huseinovic (photo right)
Photography by Igor Kondrya

On Tuesday, newbie models had the chance to receive one-on-one training at the free Model Boot Camp held at Barbizon of Sacramento.  Lluvy Gomez from America’s Next Top Model came out to support and walk for designer Janelle Cardenas at the Fashion On Film event held at Beatnik Studios on Thursday.

Photography by Igor Kondrya
Fashion On Film Event
Photography by Igor Kondrya

This year, the Emerging Designer Showcase was presented by the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown-Arena.  The ballroom of the Holiday Inn was twice the size of last year’s venue.

Photography by Henry Huynh
Designer Oxana Artemencova
Photography by Henry Huynh

 

Photography by Henry Huynh
(left image) Designer Lacey Taylor (right images) Designer Jannette Goss
Photography by Henry Huynh

However, when it comes to outdoing a past venue in size, the final two days definitely took the cake. The historic and soon-to-be completely renovated Sacramento Railyards building that housed the final runway showcases was at least four times the size of the warehouse off Richards Boulevard where SACFW 2016 was held. The huge exposed building, although chilly, was intoxicating to be in. You couldn’t help but imagine the history hidden in the rusted railings and expanse of brick walls.

Guest start arriving down the red carpet Photography by Henry Huynh
Guest start arriving down the red carpet
Photography by Henry Huynh

 

Dress display featuring creations by designer Yennie Zhou and dresses from Queens Chair Mannequins provided by the Fashion Department of San Joaquin Delta Collage Photography by Henry Huynh
Dress display featuring creations by designer Yennie Zhou & dresses from Queens Chair & designer Karisa Gold
Mannequins provided by the Fashion Department of San Joaquin Delta College
Photography by Henry Huynh

 

Models in O'Blanc file down the runway Photography by Henry Huynh
Models of O’Blanc filed down the 70ft runway at the Railyards
Photography by Henry Huynh

Project Runway Designer, Alexandria von Bromssen closed out the showcases for 2017 featuring international model Rain Dove and Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s in her line up.

Jane Wiedlin commands the stage in designer Aalexandria von Bromssen Photography by Henry Huynh
Jane Wiedlin commands the stage in designer Alexandria von Bromssen
Photography by Henry Huynh

 

Designer Alexandria von Bromssen takes a bow closing out the showcases for 2017 Photography by Jonathan Ricardo
Designer Alexandria von Bromssen takes a bow closing out the showcases for 2017
Photography by Jonathan Ricardo

It’s so exciting to see Sacramento fashion growing exponentially each year, even bringing out local celebrities like Sacramento Kings Players Willie Cauley-Stein and Ben McLemore.  With the continued collaboration and support of various local businesses and new sponsors like Monster Energy Drink and Boss Lash Club, SACFW along with various community events like it will continue to grow.

As things can now return to normal for everyone who came out, behind the scenes, the plans for 2018 are already in the works. Who knows what SACFW 2018 will bring to the table, but you can be sure it will be bigger and better. Stay on the feed and don’t miss out on the happenings leading up to it, you won’t want to be left out.