"Bold" and "bright" is the look for this season, particularly if you're a member of the East Bay Style Collective — a small amalgam of woman-owned boutiques that formed to address a frightening lack of style in Berkeley and Oakland. If you attend the group's May 17 fashion show, expect to see the kind of poppy, electric colors you'd find on a graffiti mural or an Andy Warhol painting: the reddest reds, the pinkest pinks, and the bluest blues. "We sort of have a bird theme," said makeup and hair artist Shawn Burke, who launched the high-quality apothecary store, Herringbone, in 2005. "We have some cool hair things happening with real feathers and real wings incorporated."
A San Francisco State theater department refugee who later appeared in frozen food commercials, Burke eventually siphoned all her theatrical impulses into the art of doing makeup. She started out by experimenting at her own boudoir, went on to beautify other Hollywood actors, and eventually became a connoisseur in her own right. Herringbone, her first store, has succeeded on the strength of Burke's high-end, discriminating tastes. She is known for carrying rare makeup lines by such designers as the late Kevyn Aucoin, Julie Hewett Los Angeles (who designs a red lipstick for every skin tone, and has "kind of a deco feel"), and Poppy King (whose Lipstick Queen line includes sheer colors for "saints" and matte shades for "sinners"). Burke's inventory also includes skin-care products from New Zealand and Japan, plus jewelry by local designers.
The East Bay Style Collective now includes several vintage shops (Icon, Dolled Up, and Twisters, plus the online store Feather), along with Magnet, a Berkeley boutique that specializes in up-and-coming designers (owner Camille Mason sells everything from LA Made T-shirts to $500 handbags). They all launched around the same time and decided to combine forces because the owners were shopping in each others' stores. Since then they've organized several trunk shows and runway events, with models displaying everything from vintage couture to modern threads by Rachel Comey and Black Label SF. This year's charity fashion show — held in a parking lot behind the 2500 block of San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley — will include a DJ, a bar, a Peachy Puff girl selling lipsticks from Herringbone, and a lot of extravagant outfits — not to mention all the feathers and shocking makeup. Most of this stuff you can try at home, said Burke. Granted, she later admonished, "You might want to tone it down a notch for your own life." 8 p.m., $8 in advance, available at any EBSC shop, or $10 at the door. Proceeds benefit Children's Village of Sonoma. First fifty guests get free goody bags. EastBayStyleCollective.com