Category Archives: basic black

Outstanding in Orchestral Blacks!

Patricia Heller

Patricia Heller

We all know how the right scarf can add dimension and visual appeal to our everyday clothing, but what about our Orchestral Blacks?  We’re not allowed to wear any colors in the orchestra pit.  We accept this as a part of everyday work life.  Sometimes we sneak a pretty piece of jewelry, earrings or a nice pin, but truthfully jewelry can get in the way of serious musicianship.  So, how do we differentiate ourselves from the other dozen women in the pit when we are all wearing black?

We are talking about fit and style.  Your clothing has to fit properly, be comfortable and appropriate.  Your Black pieces must match; not an easy thing.  Over the years you’ve collected various Blacks in different fabrics and styles, now in all different stages of wear.  It’s probably time to donate or throw out those items which no longer fit properly, are out of style, or do not match anything.

A common rule for weeding out one’s closet is, that if you haven’t worn something in two years, get rid of it!  I think that’s nonsense.  I have had some of the same dresses for over thirty years, and have no plans to discard them.  Well-loved, well-designed clothing deserves some respect.  This may sound trivial, but I believe how one presents oneself, especially in the workplace, makes a real difference in how one is perceived.  A Brava! Consultant can help you make these decisions.  The second rule is style.

Let’s clean out our closets and put together a Working Wardrobe!  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to throw on an outfit for work, and know you’re looking perfect?  It’s all in the pre-planning.  For instance, this 2016-2017 season, the San Francisco Opera has seventy performances.  That’s seventy different times the women in the Orchestra have to find something in Concert Black to wear. Seventy outfits, which have to span the quirky Bay Area weather patterns from September through December, then May to July.  Our Brava! fabric in Bamboo and Organic Cotton is perfect for this.  It’s cooler in summer, and warmer in winter. The comfortable knit moves with your body, and there’s no static cling.

We offer many different styles which suit all body types, XS – 3X.  And even better, we custom fit even before the garment is made, at no extra charge. No alterations necessary.  Our designer, Carole Wang, is based locally, in Fremont, so turnaround time is usually fairly short.  We make sure ahead of time that your Black garments match from the same dye lots.  Little or no color fading or shrinkage guarantee your Orchestral Blacks remain attractive and work-ready for a long while.

 

Advertisements

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.”

Fresh Colors for Fall!

We are very excited to announce that Brava! Fashions has a unique agreement with our fabulous boutique designer, Carole Wang!  Carole will be doing special designs just for Brava! Fashions’ unique clients!  We’re in the process of choosing our lush color palette, which will offset our great Basic Black.  Carole’s new designs include fun Fleece outerwear of Cotton and Bamboo, and new tea-length dresses which whisper romance and classic elegance.  Stay tuned for updates!

Taking orders now for these elegant Three-Quarter Wrap Jackets with Bamboo Button closures in Purple and in Teal Sizes XS-3X; $225.00.  I’ve got one, and I wear it everywhere, including the opera!

Purple Fleece Jacket

Purple Fleece Jacket

My Love Affair with the Color Purple

Me 012015 purple

It’s a strange irony that Brava! Fashions really started with my search for the color purple.  I was trying to find something comfortable to wear, which packed well and was also versatile in that I didn’t know exactly I was going to be doing on my trip back home to Connecticut.  I found the exact color top I wanted, which also happened to be in 95% Bamboo/5% Spandex.  It fit.  I bought it.  Then I went back and bought a skirt.  Then another piece, then a wonderful Purple Fleece Jacket with a charming Bamboo Leaf Button Closure to top it off. I was hooked.  The irony is that I usually wear so much Black.  And when the idea came for Brava’s Performance Attire in Concert Black, I was wearing this Purple color.Purple hair put up

I love Purple, so much so, that this year after my hair dye fiasco when my hair literally turned Purple, my daughter suggested I keep it.  I don’t think so, Dear.  Not at my age.  I think the color Purple belongs in one’s closet.

However, I am very happy to be able to offer a limited number of 3/4 Length Wrap Cotton and Bamboo Fleece Wrap Jackets  for Fall, 2015.  High-collared with a charming Bamboo Leaf Button, we will have these in Purple and our popular Teal for $225.00.  Email me for details. Purple Fleece Jacket

%d bloggers like this: