The Greatest Costume Party of the Year

This June, for the first time ever, Vanguard Culture is hosting an epic costume party, and everyone is invited!  The Avant-Garde Costume Gala will be held June 19th at the incredible Mingei Museum in Balboa Park. I (Rachel Eva) am working to put the event together, and Shawn Michael is curating, directing, and creating artwork for the main feature, the Avant-Garde Fashion Show.  For the full line-up of events, performances, food, drink, and details, CLICK THIS

Avant-Garde (aväntˈɡärd): Relating to new and unusual or experimental ideas; characterized chiefly by unorthodox, innovative, and daring methods


I asked Shawn Michael to describe why this Fashion Show will be unlike any other runway show, and he gave me an idea on Monday by making me into a preview look.  This is the kind of thing you can expect from him.  Yes, we made a wig out of feathers.  And then he gave the wig a bob.


Shawn describes his inspiration for the show as coming not from any one discipline, such as a clothing line, or his experience in hairdressing. Rather, he is inspired by the fantasy world of cinematic character development.  He is designing entire looks - from clothing to makeup to hair to special effects - that give us a glimpse into the imaginative possibilities of what an indigenous culture of another time, place, or planet might have as high fashion.


Shawn Michael says that in preparing for this show, he imagines what concepts of fashion and style might have emerged from an alien culture. These are looks that might push the boundaries of our reality and break some of our fashion rules.  Here, couture clothing is not the main focus, rather all fashion disciplines share the responsibility of presenting an entire cinematic character. Shawn Michael also described the importance of safeguarding the intrinsic beauty of his models while presenting some pretty out-of-this-world fashion concepts. "The unique characteristics of each model are as much of an inspiration to me in creating a look as anything else," he says, adding that it's been incredibly inspiring to "blend dark glamour with extra-terrestrial concepts, while still protecting the beauty of each model."

Expect to see more of this on June 19th, and then some.  I expect there are still more than a few design elements that have yet to be revealed. Shawn Michael's team includes Charlene De La Torre (makeup), Saam McBride (clothing), Hey Saylor Salon (hair), Brooke Janssen and Matt Stradling.  Here's a sneak-peak at the models who will be represented at the event; of course on June 19th you may not recognize them.

Models: Tatiana Campos Slepova, Saam McBride, Lidia Domagalska, Matt Stradling, Shannon Mattix, Milena Bedda, Brooke Janssen, Kelly Lenahan, Delina Dilargachew

More About Vanguard Culture & the GALA

For the last year Rachel Eva has had the privilege of serving as an Advisory Board Member for Vanguard Culture.  Vanguard Culture serves the vital role of supporting and promoting artists and arts events in San Diego, especially those that receive little mainstream attention.  To our knowledge, since Art Pulse closed down in August 2014, Vanguard is the only media organization currently working to exclusively promote art and artists in San Diego.

We have a particular interest in the intersection of various artistic disciplines. We love finding ways to bring artists and arts appreciators of all disciplines together, whether through our regular Foodie Soirees, which meet in private, artsy residences, or in more intimate settings over fine cuisine like our Artist @ The Table series.  The Avant-Garde Costume Gala is our main fundraising event for the year, and we have an incredible lineup of artists, entertainment, food and beverage in addition to the Fashion Show.  And yes, you can finally pull out that epic costume or wardrobe concept that you can't ever seem to find an appropriate reason to wear.

You can see the full lineup of events, performances, activities, and food & drink sponsors here: AVANT-GARDE COSTUME GALA.  We'll see you there!  Oh, and here's the Facebook Event Page too, so you can invite all your friends.