Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Perfect Brava! Model

Patty in Teal Button OutfitOur friend, Patty, is a perfect example of that skill my sister used to call, “Throwing it on and looking perfect”. We asked Patty, a Bay Area orchestral musician, to model in our last fashion show, and frankly, we would love her to model at all of our shows.  She was energetic, fun, and clearly enjoyed herself.  We asked her to bring two of her own Brava! outfits to model, since she had already purchased those samples, and Patty brought ALL of her Brava! clothes, and insisted on wearing them.  We didn’t object; this kind of enthusiasm is contagious!

Everything Patty tries on looks great on her. We can’t wait for some of the new color selections to come in so we can dress her up in those.  And we are counting on her for our upcoming photo shoot for our new website.  Look for this new website in January, 2016.

Meanwhile, what does it take to become a Brava! model?  Enthusiasm, a sense of color and style, self-knowledge, and the desire for fun.  We are looking for a couple of sopranos or altos, and a token male or two to round out the models’ setup for our photo shoot in November.  Contact me at: kathrynfoxma@gmail.com, if you’d like to model.  Do you have what it takes?  I think you just might.

Brava! Oval Mirror - In Transition

Brava! Oval Mirror – In Transition

Brava’s Oval Mirror awaits your reflection.

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Lamplighters Music Theatre – Volunteerism

“Volunteer Spotlight – Kathryn Fox Ma

What do seahorses, high tea, and designer clothing have in common? The answer is the inimitable Kathryn Fox Ma, one of Lamplighters Music Theatre’s most active volunteers. Since 2007, Kathryn has been our go-to person for organizing and beautifying the silent auction displays that the Lamplighters feature at the annual Gala. With a sophisticated eye for design, Kathryn provides the invaluable service of showcasing the items in ways that encourage attendees to bid, which has a direct impact on the Lamplighters’ fundraising efforts. Over the years, our silent auctions have generated more than $170,000 in support for the Company, and Kathryn is quick to share praise. “It’s really the whole team of us. Jim MacIlvaine, Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, Kristen Jones, and all the Guild volunteers who help support the Lamplighters.”

Kathryn Fox Ma

Kathryn routinely donates a gift basket of handcrafted, natural soaps and accessories from Seahorse Fine Soaps, of which she is the proprietor, as well as a High Tea For Two serving set and goodies in a keepsake box, to the auction. Both items are among the bidders’ favorites each year! But her volunteerism isn’t restricted to this event. Kathryn also brings the decorative sparkle to our annual spring fundraiser (Too Much Happiness, formerly known as Hidden Treasures) and is a consistent organizing force—and a delightful presence—at many donor receptions and Company meetings.

Kathryn and her husband Zach became involved with the Lamplighters in 2004 through their daughter, Marina, who began participating in the Gilbert & Sullivan Scenes summer program (a collaboration between the Lamplighters and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music). “She felt so comfortable and happy in the program that she attended an audition workshop with the Lamplighters, and soon after got cast in a production ofThe Mikado,” says Kathryn. “Marina was young, so I stayed there for rehearsals, too. I didn’t want to just sit around, though, so I asked Barbara Heroux [who was Artistic Director at that time] if I could help. Barbara would throw me into anything- it was fun!” Marina has since appeared in many Lamplighters productions, and also volunteers to create special video and slide presentations. Not to be outdone, Zach—a Tai Chi Sifu—has donated certificates for martial arts instruction, as well as pieces of his original artwork, to the auctions, and he can usually be found serving behind the bar at our special events.

Zach, Marina, and Kathryn Ma

Kathryn’s most recent business venture,Brava! Fashions, combines her love of the performing arts with her degree in Merchandising/Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. The clothing line, which has been showcased at a fashion show at the Lamplighters rehearsal space, features stylish performance attire for female orchestral musicians and other women on-the-go. “The line is really taking off, especially as I’m able to give the designer feedback from musicians, who have different needs depending on their instrument,” says Kathryn. She adds that one of the dresses in the collection is named afterDiana Dorman, principal clarinet player in the Lamplighters Orchestra, as well as Orchestra Contractor & Music Librarian. “The dress has classic lines with no adornment in the front, so it doesn’t interfere with my clarinet. I love it!”

The Mas have been an important part of the Lamplighters family, in a variety of ways, for over a decade. “Knowing we can depend on volunteers like Kathryn to put together a great silent auction makes the staff’s work so much easier,” says Development Director Amy Himes. “Her friendly, no-nonsense manner and a generosity of spirit makes her a great person to work with.” Hats off to you and your family, Kathryn—we are so grateful for your involvement.”

Brava! Fashions: Perfecting the Twirl Factor

Rose Frazier in Ankle-Length Tank Dress

Rose Frazier in Ankle-Length Tank Dress

With Brava’s upcoming in-home Fashion Shows, comes that feeling of excitement!  I am thankful that Brava! is still in its start-up phases, because that means I can still participate in the fun of fitting our models, and accessorizing their outfits with our Fashion Director, Carol Campbell.  This means we get to personally introduce Brava! to new clients, and to watch them discover this wonderful Bamboo fabric and the beautiful designs we offer, exclusively from Brava!

It begins with choosing our models.  Our Affiliates, who actually hostess the in-home parties, suggest a few of their friends who might like to do an informal fashion show.  This is always interesting, because a lot of women are unused to having a lot of attention.  Most of them have never even thought about modeling, even though they are attractive, accomplished and creative.  They are used to thinking of models in the traditional sense of the impossibly thin, air-brushed mannequins in the magazines.

It’s the reaction of,  “Who me?  Model?”  They always have their reasons; too fat, too thin, not tall enough, too old, too shy, etc.

“Nonsense!”  I tell them.  “You’re perfect, exactly the type we’re looking for!”  I mean this, sincerely.  What type are we looking for?  Real women.  Real women with their imperfect beauty. (I can make you shine!)  Let me tell you, the women I know are incredible people!  Dynamic, hard-working, talented, multi-faceted, intelligent, sensitive, strong., and beautiful.  They are singers, actresses and musicians. wives, mothers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, artists, designers, and business professionals.

Brava! Oval Mirror - In Transition

Brava! Oval Mirror – In Transition

And once our new models get to try on their first outfits, I see it happen, over and over again – the Twirl Factor Brava’s fashions are so feminine, so comfortable, so flattering, so fun to try on, it’s not unusual to see a model’s face light up as they twirl around and around in front of our Oval Mirror!  They feel good; they look great!  And since Brava! fits sizes XS-3X, and takes special custom orders, we fit everyone, every body type.

So, what does it take to become a Brava! model, and to see your own reflection in our Oval Mirror?   Sign up to become an Affiliate, or to be a guest at a local Brava! in-home Fashion Show.  Be yourself!  Be brave!  Be Brava!


A Dire Need for Dresses!

Our friend, Barbara wearing the "Diana" Dress.

Our friend, Barbara wearing the “Diana” Dress.

I am in heaven this morning!  Just received our latest shipment of new dresses!  I have to rein myself in so I don’t just try them all on!  They’re practical, appropriate for playing in the orchestra, wearing out to dinner, to auditions, interviews, performances.  They’re elegant – the Bamboo rayon drapes well, yet doesn’t cling.  It moves with you when you walk.  There’s the feminine flutter of a hemline, the sweet detail of a rosette at the small of your back, placed just so…  I love these styles and want all of them!

The big three for Fall:  The classic “Diana” dress, with it’s scoop neck, modified Empire waist and three-quarter sleeves.  It’s tea-length so it’s comfortable and covers everything.  This dress is named after one of our favorite women, Diana Dorman, of the Lamplighters Music Theatre Orchestra.  Next, we love the “Carol Ann” style, The popular cowl neckline, three-quarter sleeves, and straight style to cover the knee, take you from work to a night on the town.  This dress was named after our lovely, dynamic Fashion Director, Carol Campbell.  Then, lastly, we have my personal favorite, the “Cleora” dress.  This scoop neck style has three-quarter sleeves, each decorated with a single, charming rosette, which echo the lovely rosette which anchors the ankle-length fabric in the back.  I named this dress after my sister’s best friend, Cleora, whose beautiful 1940’s face evokes memories of wartime romance and roses under a white trellis.

Each of these dresses is available in sizes XS – 3X, in black; new colors coming!  $198.00.

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