The Crucible’s Hot Couture: A Fusion of Fashion & Fire

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

As promised, The Crucible’s 2013 Hot Couture show was truly a fusion of fashion and fire. Performers ranging from contortionists to aerialists to runway models flanked the stage as bursts of fire exploded out of a tower of twisted metal. And believe me, it was no false stage fire; I could feel the blast of heat from the end of the runway.

For those unfamiliar with West Oakland’s The Crucible, the sprawling warehouse is home to a nonprofit that provides training and community for local industrial artists. Once a year, it showcases local fashion designers and live welding demonstrations during its Hot Couture fashion show. The cavernous space was a perfect backdrop for the avant garde designs, which ranged from stained glass to aluminum to LED lights.

Walking on the runway for designers Courtney Pheils and Celeste Flores was truly otherworldly. I’ve been in runway shows before, but no experience was as inspiring and beautifully unnerving. The other models varied widely in age, shape, and tattoo size, proudly displaying their bodies without self-consciousness. There was a palpable energy both on the runway and backstage, and it was addictive.

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d strut in front of strangers wearing nothing but a corset, a train, and a metal cage, but I don’t regret it and will never forget it. What can I say? Amazing things happen in Oakland.

Images copyright James Winstead (unmarked) & Jim Vetter (watermarked images).

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show, fire

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show, crucible welding, welding

The Crucible, The Crucible Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture 2013, contortionists

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show, welding

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

The Crucible, Hot Couture 2013, Hot Couture, couture fashion show

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Five Quick Snaps

We’ve already established that I’m a bit of a goober, but I’ve been feeling even more prone bouts of sentimentality and appreciation lately. I know many of my past snaps have been straightforward portraits of different neighborhoods, but I always love to stop and appreciate the little details that I come across every day. I definitley don’t think I’m done posting photos of the GG Bridge from various angles, but sometimes it’s the little things that count.

{Above} Even on a chilly night, the golden lights in the Palace of Fine Arts feel warm and inviting. Getting to stroll through here is excellent motivation to get off my butt and go for a jog by the water, and this night I was rewarded when I got to hang out with a giant owl that swooped down to check out the scene. I tried to get a photo, but he was a bit camera-shy!

I might not generally wear a faux hawk, vampy lip, and seriously smoky eyes all at once, but something about a necklace that could double as a weapon seems to justify it. More Crucible fashion show photos coming this week!

I bought this fab Sephora glitter polish for New Year’s, but I think regular January days can also benefit from a bit of glitz! Is it just me, or do the pieces of glitter look like those artsy out-of-focus photos of city lights at night?

Speaking of lights, amazing things happen when you drain a glass of water while looking at the Christmas tree (which has now gone to the big city mulch pile in the sky, sadly). Instant kaleidoscope!

Isn’t this the most beautiful latte in the world? Seriously, folks. This concoction hailed from Monkey Forest Road in the East Bay, where it was accompanied by a delectable peanut butter & quinoa cookie. Oakland pride!

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An Ode to Puffy Vests

Patagonia vest, vest with layers, winter fashion, winter sweaters

If I had to name a Lee Family tradition off the top of my head, my first thoughts would go to a love of the outdoors and puffy vests. They go together like bread and butter, like hipsters and flannel shirts, like guinea pigs and cute noises. My dad was recently interviewed on the news about his business ventures, and I was so proud (and not at all surprised) to see that he wore his trademark puffy vest for the interview.

There’s something truly beautiful about a  distinguished man in his 60’s discussing ground-breaking business deals while encased in down feathers.

But I digress, as I often do. I’m heading off to the mountains this weekend with friends, which reminded me of my recent trip to Lake Tahoe and the snowshoeing adventures that ensued. I had hoped to do outfit photos during that weekend, but the reality is that I don’t have it in me to wear cute, coordinated stuff when it’s really, really cold outside.

winter clothing layers, vest and sweater, fair isle sweatervest, skinny jeans and boots

Blame it on my practical rural Minnesota roots, but all I can do when it’s snowing is to throw on my puffiest vest and my ugly snow boots and run out to embrace the flakes as quickly as I can. I suppose we all have our strengths, so I’m going to leave the chic snow-trekking looks to the other Sarah and Jen. I’ll be in charge of practical winter wear and my goober-y “ZOMG IT’S SNOWING!” face.

Deal? Deal.

Lake Tahoe, fair isle sweater, vest and sweater, winter layers

pine trees with snow, winter snow, Lake Tahoe snow

Lake Tahoe City, Tahoe, gondola in Tahoe, snow in Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, Heavenly gondola, Heavenly snow

winter layers, fair isle sweatervest, vest with sweater

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