Victor Louis kicked off Sacramento’s Fashion Week with his One Night in Paris fall collection in front of about 500 people Thursday night.
Louis’s show at at Elks Tower Ballroom also displayed the work of seven other local designers.
“Those other designers are actually fellow (classmates),” Louis said. “I kind of did interviews at school and selected the best out of everyone.”
Louis and the other designers attend the International Academy of Design & Technology (IADT) charter school in Sacramento. It opened in 2006 and has about 500 students.
Louis has attended the institute for two years and will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in fashion design and marketing in August.
“He’s just starting, but he already has the talent, the eye for fashion,” said Esther Amato, a local designer who is a fashion instructor at IADT. “He has a talent for it, we’re just here to enhance it.”
Amato, who has taught at IADT for a year and a half, was joined by instructor Wenting Gao in praising Louis.
“We came here as personal good friends,” Gao said. “We’re here to support him with respect and with love.”
Amato and Gao said they would like to see Louis market his clothing.
Louis’s goal for all of his shows has been to sell at least one of his designs. Amato said that Louis needs to focus on the marketing aspect of the industry as well.
“He has an eye for it already,” Amato said. “He just needs to distribute and sell it.”
Louis’s goal now should be to sell three to four pieces from his collection per fashion show, Amato said.
Thursday night as he walked up on stage to a standing ovation, Louis accomplished one more of his childhood dreams, he said.
“I just never really pursued my dream,” Louis said. “And then, two years ago, I was like, ‘You know, Victor, if you don’t follow your dream, you will never know if you’re going to make it or not.’”
The audience appeared to be wowed by Louis’s catchy, trendy designs.
"I didn’t realize that Sacramento had a fashion week. I heard about the show from a friend and decided to come." said Melissa Smith. "It was so elegant. He did a great job."
Many of Louis’s designs from the “Amour de la Robe” couture collection had lace and metallic fabrics with ruffles and flowers. The collection was inspired by 1930s Paris fashion.
“The reason why I decided to do Paris is because I come from a really small family, very humble, not a lot of money. I’ve never traveled the world,” Louis said. “And I thought that if I researched Paris, then I could bring Paris into my art, and I could have one night in Paris, since I’ve never been there."
Louis’s designs had a touch of sparkle and glitter.
"(The nude) dress was absolutely insane," spectator Kristina Moreno said. "I was not expecting that, but it looked good."
The nude dress worn by Ebony Hunter certainly turned heads.
"I told Victor ‘I don’t care what you make me do or what you make me wear, just make me the finale model,’" Hunter said. " So I didn’t really have a problem with it. I felt like I was well covered."
Hunter said that some of the models’ parents didn’t understand the dresses before the fashions were completed. But after they saw the final product, she said, they could appreciate it more.
"The grand finale dress represented the meaning of Paris as far as fashion and couture and vintage and pure sexiness," Hunter said.
Fashion week isn’t often associated with Sacramento. “This is unlike anything that has happened in Sacramento,” said Steve Ayers, owner of Elk Tower ballroom. “Truly unlike anything in Sacramento, very elaborate, amazing and over the top.”
Louis had approached Ayers’ daughter, Katherine Ayers, who was also one of his models, about using the venue with its 1920s décor.
“I found (The Elk Tower Ballroom) online. I looked at like 35 places, I went all over Sacramento,” Louis said. “As soon as I walked in, everything was exactly how I wanted it.”
Louis produced and directed the show, with the help of a several sponsors whom he met in April at a workshop in Napa.
“Victor Louis came to Behrens Photo Workshop as our feature designer and all of the photographers loved his designs, “ said Cara Lane, toastmaster and professional speaker.
After learning that Louis had been chosen by Magnum Opus to display his collection during Sacramento’s Fashion Week, photographer Mark Behrens, toastmaster Cara Lane and Jared Newland for Mathew Allen Weddings & Events, D.J. & MC, became Louis’s main sponsors for the event.
They began planning the show in June. Louis is donating more than half of the proceeds to Ready for Life, a charity for homeless children.
“I wanted to help someone in the community,” he said.
Above and beyond helping a charity, Louis brought fashion to the area.
"This is by far the best show I’ve ever seen in Sac," Melanie Long said. "I can’t wait to see more of his stuff."
Photos by : Anthony Bento Sacramento Press