Photographed by: A. Arthur Fisher
Wesly Johnson designer
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High fashion and breezy, chic style came to Santa Barbara Saturday night at the DeMarcos Fashion Academy Class of 2015 runway show at the Arlington Theatre.

If you’ve ever passed the storefront window with what appears to be haute couture on display on Mission Street near De La Vina and wondered where these creations came from, the answer is: DeMarcos. And Labor Day weekend was the chance for this year’s fashionistas to have their hard work strutted down the red carpet by talented, local models. Founder Jodi DeMarcos and host Joel Chauran kicked off an evening that featured the work of recent graduates and alumni alike. The Arlington breezeway, lined with red carpets and dazzling colored lights, acted as the runway. The Arlington fountain put its best foot forward (spruced up with beautiful greenery), serving as the middle divider of the carpets where models impressed and intrigued those vying for a seat along the length of the runway on this balmy end-of-summer weekend event.

You’d be hard pressed to find anything showcased on this night that wouldn’t rival the caliber of any fashion forward city, including the biggies: New York, Paris, Milan. These local designers drew inspiration from many different sources:  celebration of theater and dance (Pamela Lourant), classic feminine silhouettes with a contemporary styling touch (Katharine Kidd), sustainable material that can be transformed into couture (Wesly Johnson), the iridescence of sea creatures (Bridget Mitchell), graphic art featuring earth, water and fire that can be worn as three dimensional fashion (Evangeline Healy), elegance with an edge (Kevin Valencia), the graceful elegance of birds (Audrey Johnson), classic couture reminiscent of Chanel and Dior (Fernanda Guzman), art that everyday women can wear and enjoy (Catherine Gee) and east meets west with a fun 1950’s flair (Yun Zhu).

From a tangerine, red and purple Flamenco-style gown with a long, ruffled train to a floor length lemon and white sheer gown cinched at the waist fit for a princess, these designers dazzled. A bamboo-scaled Mermaid dress and a hot pink and orange swimsuit accompanied by a see-through orange plastic hoop skirt got us thinking about the beach and a burnt orange sheer with velvet accents floor length dress followed by a sleeveless bright turquoise and yellow peacock feather design floor length dress with a tall slit reminded us that ‘summer’ isn’t just a season; it’s a fashion. A powder blue floor length sheer dress with an elegant neck scarf and dramatic white silk Gaucho pants accented with navy sash and casual halter top ran the gamut of night and day fashions.  There was no shortage of designs that stunned. Also among the highlights of the night were a pale yellow crepe floor length halter dress with a multitude of shy ruffles, a black fur necked open back black blouse paired with a mini skirt and an elegant black silk Mandarin collared, short sleeve floor length gown with red accents.

For those interested on how these fashions came to be, sketches of the designers work were displayed at the ends of the runway.  These alumni and graduates brought their art to life for the first time at the Arlington, but for all you fashion plates out there that didn’t get a seat at the show:  be assured that founder Jodi DeMarcos vows that next year’s event will be even bigger!  

To view all 184 images from this show, please visit http://artfisher.com/gallery

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