City College of San Francisco’s 12th Annual Spring Fashion Show: Haute Mystique

By Derick Macabenta
Photography by Denice Sy 

City College of San Francisco presented another stunning show this year on May 19 at the luxurious landmark nightclub, Ruby Skye. Presented by the students of Natalie Smith’s Fashion Show Production class, this event boats being the largest entirely student produced fashion show in Northern California. Haute Mystique was complete with a star-studded line up of local, student designers and celebrity hosts.

Fashionista Mocha Fappalatte with GEV Magazine Social Media Correspondent Camille Espiritu

The show was hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 contestant, Honey Mahogany, the first queen from San Francisco to be on the show, and locally celebrated performer, Lindsay Slowhands. Before the show there was a raffle of four luxury raffle packages, including gifts from Tenuta Winery, Partita Custom Design Jewelry, Black Oak Casino, Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel, and Asia SF. Once all the prizes were claimed, guest speakers were introduced and the sponsors were thanked. Major sponsors for Haute Mystique included Macy’s, Ruby Skye, and Annette Harris – also known as the Guardian Angel of City College Fashion.

In addition to showing in a full production fashion show, the eight senior designers of Haute Mystique were competing for scholarships to the Academy of Art University. The show opened with four of the designers, Sam Shan, Milena Manolova, Amanda Lawson, and Colleen Anderson. Each collection had a distinct character and life about them, showing the mastery of construction and styling that these students have learned throughout their studies at CCSF.

The next segment of the show was entitled “Fashion Gallery” and contained designs from non-senior designers, Aldo Chavez, Carol Hansen, Latasha Cornelius Harris, Savanna Jankosky, Alea Gonzales, Miguel Marte, and Mary Farwell. These designers may not have completed the entire program yet, but they still showed professional and stylish garments. Construction details consistent throughout this segment were a strong use of knitwear, casual daywear, and heavy use of layering. Before continuing on with the show, the visual pallet was wiped clean with an aerialist performance by Trapeze World, with music by Dave Kim on the violin.

The final segment contained the last four senior collections, by Paola Cortez, Cana Klebanoff, Ruth Reynaga, and Ali Thornton. The collections in this segment were by far the most couture in styling and construction. With unique cubist construction and architecture from Klebanoff’s collection to the costume inspired line presented by Thornton. These students showed more than just mastery of couture technique, they also showed a mastery of concept and design with conceptually strong and fashion forward designs. When all was said and done, Diane Green, department chair of the City College Fashion Department introduced the winners of the scholarships: Ruth Reynaga and Cana Klebanoff.

The proceeds from Haute Mystique all benefit the CCSF Fashion program, which provides two associates degree programs and five certificates in fashion design, merchandising, styling, image consulting, and textiles. While many of the California Community Colleges are cutting back programs, Board of Trustees, Lawrence Wong, and Dean of the School of Business, David Dore, both support the fashion program by expanding its class offerings for the upcoming semester. For additional information on the CCSF Fashion program and for images from past fashion shows visit or call (415) 239-3588.

View the full gallery of the Haute Mystique Show on

Roderick Macabenta (A.K.A. Sardonic Style) is a San Francisco based wardrobe stylist and fashion show producer. His passion is truly for creating breathtaking and innovative imagery by marrying the things that inspire him creatively: music, art, theatre, dance, and (of course) fashion. He studied fashion merchandising and fashion styling at City College of San Francisco after taking a year of photography and colour theory classes at Academy of Art University. In his free time he enjoys being part of a hip hop and jazz dance company collaborating with local artists on promoting art and creativity in the Bay Area, and updating his personal blog and portfolio site (