Category Archives: Performance Attire

Unapologetically Comfortable

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Kathryn in Purple Fleece

I think I have never liked dressing to please others; I have always dressed to please myself. But sometimes societal constrictions force us into changing the ways in which we perceive ourselves.  Sometimes one has to put one’s bluejeans aside and simply dress up for that play, concert or party or meeting.  It’s a sad fact, but we do what we must.

I love comfort, but I would never wear my pajamas out in public.  But this is really the initial thought behind starting Brava!  I was looking for something that packed well and traveled easily, no-ironing or worrying about wrinkles.  I found these great Bamboo pieces from Bay Area designer, Carole Wang.  I thought they were pretty, and I wore them out to dinner one night.  Now usually when I come home after dressing up for some occasion, I can’t wait to change out of my clothing into something more comfortable.  Not this time.  I forgot to change. and I knew I was onto something.  I returned to the little boutique to buy more pieces.  Selection was limited, so I bought what I could, but I wanted more.

Months later, I decided to investigate the possibility that a lot of other women would be interested in feminine, practical, ecologically sustainable clothing too.I did an informal survey, the results of which led to Brava!  I now lead a

busy life, spreading the word to theater performers, orchestral musicians, housewives, and business professionals, and mothers. Brava! clients are all ages and all sizes, but we all share one important thing in common – we’re comfortable!

 

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.

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!


Opera Season! Don’t you need new Concert Attire?

Patricia Heller of the San Francisco Opera

Patricia Heller of the San Francisco Opera

It’s here!  2015 is fast fleeting by, and suddenly, it’s Opera Season!  We’re very excited at Brava! to see so many items from our Performance Attire Collection assembled in one orchestra!  This Season’s favorites include the Diana Dress, Shirred Ankle Pants, Wrap Pants, 3/4 Sleeve Flower Crop Tops, Flower Skirts, 3/4 Sleeve Cowl Neck Tops, Eight-Panel Skirts, and Long-Sleeve Boat Neck Tunics.

We’re making our Orchestra member clientele feel cool, comfortable, while looking so elegant in their Brava! Performance Attire! This can only have a positive affect upon overall morale, which means we’ll be making beautiful music!  We look forward to a wonderful 2015 Season!

http://www.sfopera.com

The “Little Black Dress”

Coco Chanel (circa 1926) in the original little black dressIn 1926 Coco Chanel created the “Little Black Dress”, a ready-to-wear, practical, sophisticated dress, one could wear all afternoon, and then on into cocktail hour.  Originally designed in wool with long sleeves, this dress proved so popular that it soon appeared in a variety of styles,  in different fabrics.  The little black dress became a central focus of our modern outfits, both for day and evening wear.

Most of us have, in our closets, that one dress which gets us through almost any occasion.  I, myself, own at least three or four little black dresses.  Recently, while rummaging through a varied collection of items at a clothing exchange, a friend and I discovered a black sheath dress, hanging with the other colored dresses, low-key, yet desirable.  We wanted that dress; it was going to fit one of us, or one of our daughters.  But when we were able to get back into the room to make our selections, that nice dress had mysteriously disappeared.  Someone had broken the rules and stashed it away.  It seems that everybody wanted that little black dress.

I have always understood its mystique.  When I was still a teenager, and an avid reader of Vogue, I chanced upon an article with an intriguing title, on how to “look very, very rich”.  I read this with interest, understanding that truly great fashion never goes out of style.  Real style involves a sense of timelessness, self-confidence, quality and design.  And, that the most important item in a woman’s closet, was the little black dress.  In this case, they were referring to the sheath dress, sleeveless and knee length.  When I finally made my trip to Paris, I was wearing my own little black dress, and feeling very fine.

Because a large part of our Brava! business is Concert Black, we are very aware of the need for classic silhouettes, for modern, practical versions of this standby.  In collaboration with our designer, Carole Wang, we’ve developed up a few dress styles, each of which is available in our Performance Attire Black  95% Bamboo/5% Spandex fabric.  Not surprisingly, our initial foray into the little black dress, our “Diana” style, is tea-length, has long sleeves, a simple neckline, and bears a resemblance to Coco Chanel’s iconic style from 1926.  This dress looks good on everyone, and is fast becoming a staple in Bay Area musicians’ wardrobes.

A little black dress can impart its mystery and sophistication to the wearer.  It can boost one’s self-confidence.  You know you’re dressed appropriately, and impeccably while wearing your little black dress.  You needn’t worry about how you look; you can concentrate on more important things, like work, and making beautiful music.

Our friend, Barbara wearing the

Our friend, Barbara wearing the “Diana” Dress.

Welcome to Brava! Fashions

Welcome to our new website which is currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

Brava! was originally created in January 2015 to design and sell women’s fashions specifically focused on the unique needs of female orchestral musicians,  singers, and others in the Performance Arts. Due to high demand, we have expanded our line to include casual wear for a wide range of professional women.

Our Performance Attire is both stylish, and optimized for the unique requirements of those in the Performing Arts. Brava! is unique in our personal commitment to our clients’ professional needs.

Our Casual Wear augments our original fashion line with coordinating styles in the latest colors to create a complete wardrobe.

For Brava! customers who have limited time to shop, we offer In-Home Fashion Shows, Personal Wardrobe Consultations, Private Fittings, and Custom and semi-Custom Clothing. ( Purchase Now)

  • Home fashion SHOWS and PARTIES hosted by our Brava! Affiliates in the comfort of their homes.
  • Personal Consultants who meet with our clients individually to serve their specialize needs.
  • Via Phone (650-238-7260)
  • Online Website (under development)
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