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A Fashionable Cause on Ellis Street

Fashion Show attends presenting Fashion Collaboration Vasily Vein for Major Obsessions in honor of Mayor Willie Brown’s Birthday

An outdoor runway show benefitting pandemic relief in San Francisco

By Carolyne Zinko

Style is where you find it, as the adage goes, and in San Francisco, that’s on Ellis Street, in front of John’s Grill restaurant, where apparel by local designers is on the menu at a luncheon and fashion show on Sunday, Nov. 1. 

The $75-per-person event, created by philanthropist Farah Makras and clothing designer Sonya Molodetskaya, is meant to lift spirits and raise money for the National First Responders Fund, a San Francisco-based organization that helps first responders and their families with post traumatic stress treatment, cancer prevention, toxic exposure, chemical dependency and more.

“We want to help donate money to first responders, first, and second, I really miss all the fashion events,” said Molodetskaya, who regularly attends fashion week in New York and Paris. “All those months have just passed. I wanted to showcase local designers to help them out.”

The outdoor show on Ellis Street, to be closed for the event, will showcase a women’s ready-to-wear collaboration by Bay Area designers of Russian heritage: Vasily Vein and Sonya Molodetskaya for Major Obsessions; women’s apparel and accessories by Altana Danzhalova’s AD Couture; men’s and women’s apparel from recycled materials by student designer Zaal Dormishian; and a collection of modern and classic bridal apparel by Lilit Safaryan

Vein, a former style and image consultant to pop and rock stars in Moscow, came to the Bay Area in 2011 and founded his eponymous line. Molodetskaya, an engineer by training, created her Major Obsessions label in 2017 with Altana Danzhalova, a native of Siberia, who established her own AD Couture in Burlingame in 2019. Dormishian, a student at the London College of Fashion, is the creator of a line called Zebra and Leopards (ZAL). Safaryan holds master’s degrees from the Moscow State University of Design and Technology and the Istituto Europeo di Design, and founded the Lili Safarini bridal boutique in Berkeley in 2017.

John’s Grill owner John Konstin, a civic booster, brought the Smuin Ballet and its supporters together for a meal and live performance in front of his restaurant in October, and is hoping to do more arts events in the future. “People are hungry for culture after seven months of being in lockdown,” Konstin said. “People want to get out and enjoy the fresh air.”

Models in masks will take to an elevated runway while guests, also required to wear masks, will watch from tables at street level. Lunch features an heirloom tomato and burrata salad, wild salmon and bourbon pecan pie; alcoholic beverages are extra. Harpist/violinist Carlos Reyes will also perform.

Tickets $75 per person; 12:15-3 p.m. Nov. 1 (fashion show at 1 p.m.); seating is limited; reservations are required via email at sean@johnsgrill.com. 63 Ellis St., 415.986.0069, johnsgrill.com

Photos by Drew Altizer

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