Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row celebrated fall fashion glamour at Macy’s Union Square, San Francisco on Friday, September 25th. We interviewed Adrea Cabrera, the leading stylist of 40+ outfits for women, men, and kids that evening. Plus, Unconventional Challenge looks from Project Runway’s Jake Wall, Blake Patterson, and Joseph Poli. Photos by Christian Hadidjaja.

The third floor of Macy’s Union Square looked a little different that night. Hundreds of guests were lining up, waiting to enter the Impulse Department prior to 6pm. On the other side, Macy’s area was humming, eager to give a great experience to them.

There were sections for Lancôme mini beauty makeover, OPI manicures, Chubby Noodle and Don Pistos’ snacks and beverages, Sift Dessert Bar’s dessert selection, and even aura readings. On the far end of the floor, Hey Claire blogger Claire Marshall was waiting for her fans, and there’s a raised platform and backstage “tent” for the Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row presentation hosted by E! News “Fashion Police” co-host and fashion expert, Giuliana Rancic.

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Q&A with Adrea Cabrera + Looks from Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row

It was a great night for fall fashion celebration, featuring brands from French Connection to Hello Kitty. It also marked a return to more intimate Macy’s Passport runway beginning, compared to Macy’s Glamorama stage shows of previous recent years. I was delighted to have the chance to speak with Adrea Cabrera, the leading stylist for Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row presentation. She and her team prepared all the 40+ looks shown on the runway, so it’s very insightful to talk to her about her behind-the-scenes work for this event.

We got to talk about her jetset stylist life. Adrea Cabrera is a wardrobe stylist based in San Francisco, but she goes to New York and Chicago regularly for her clients. After Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row event, she’s set to go to Chicago next. Her work is featured in Nike’s Women’s Running Campaign, Adidas Golf, PayPal Advertising, Diablo Magazine and Red Magazine UK publications, among others.

It’s really amazing to talk to Adrea, someone who’s always on the go to make things work and work hard to make things happen!

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Fafafoom: How did it come together for Macy’s Presents Front Row?
Adrea Cabrera: The preparation took a week. From Monday to Wednesday, we pulled pieces from women’s and men’s departments. Then we did preparations with shoes…there were definitely enough days that we got to prepare for 42 looks with no repeats. It’s really fun! And the models were awesome; some are from New York and some are locals. They’re great.

Fafafoom: How many brands were you working with?
Adrea Cabrera: We’re working with all the brands with Macy’s, and they all have great price points. I shop from Macy’s all the time for my customers, so it’s super nice.

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Fafafoom: How’s a typical day for you? Editorial shoot, for example.
Adrea Cabrera: If it’s an on-set day…oh my gosh, so that means early morning start, especially if they want to do it outside. That day is usually starts from 4:30am to probably 7pm. It’s a long day, depending on what we need.

If it’s a one-day shoot and we need to get 10 – 15 shots of different outfits and we need to go to certain locations…it could be, you know, wake up in the morning, get on set to make sure we have our coffee, make sure all the looks are in order, make sure we have our model fitting…a lot of things get jammed into one.

But that keeps it interesting! We’re constantly moving and running around. I always say there’s a lot of parts in my job that’s really, really glamorous, and there are parts where you’re really working. You’re constantly on your feet 15 hours straight sometimes. You’re literally in your Nike’s, running around, worried about everybody else except for yourself. You have a tool belt on with all of your things and make things happen.

Fafafoom: I’m sure there are many challenges on that day…like the clothes don’t fit, the colors are wrong…
Adrea Cabrera: Yes! But you make it happen. I always say I’m like Mary Poppins; I always have to pull something out of my bag and just make it work. I’ve been doing this for so long that I feel like I’m kind of psychic. I know what’s going to happen and I know how things are going to play out, so it’s kind of exciting.

Fafafoom: How did it play out for tonight’s event?
Adrea Cabrera: For this Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row show, because I’m so familiar with Macy’s, we got to do a later 10am call time. We got our sleep, breakfast, and coffee, and we’re ready to go. My team – there’s so many girls back there (gesturing to the backstage tent) – are amazing, I cannot do any of this without them.

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Fafafoom: What kind of tips do you have for us mere mortals for overcoming those styling challenges?
Adrea Cabrera: Always prepare for something to not happen or not fit. I always have back-ups. I’m a perpetual bag lady, I always carry bags everywhere. I just have options, always. I’d say, work as what could go wrong, because it may.

Fafafoom: Do you work more with accessorizing garments or do you prefer to let the garments speak mostly for themselves?
Adrea Cabrera: I find that accessories are definitely second nature. I am a simple dresser myself; I probably just wear my wedding ring. I don’t wear lots of jewelry, but it could enhance things.

Sometimes when it’s really simple, like tonight on the runway, one of the models just have a blue jersey maxi dress, and we just put a little necklace on it. That’s all she needed, and it’s super elegant.

It’s really case by case, but I definitely go for clothes first and then accessories.

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Fafafoom: Speaking about clothes, what new trends are you seeing this season?
Adrea Cabrera: Oh my gosh, I know I keep saying this, but it’s true: wide pants are coming back in a big way. I just got back from NYFW and everyone is wearing a pair of wide pants. So definitely the wide pants in variety of length – whether it’s culottes, ankle length, and even over your toes.

The culottes are here, it’s happening again and I’m really excited about it. I mean, I’m like a very short person, and I don’t even care. I’m obsessed; just add higher heels on.

And then for men, I think the jogger is here to stay. I put it in the show tonight. It’s a pair of jogger pants, but with different fabrication. Typically it’s a workout / athletic wear, but Levi’s is making it into trousers and chinos. So it’s not gathered at the front, and it’s totally work appropriate, and I put it in a couple of outfits tonight.

I’m obsessed; when I get to dress the dudes, it’s so fun. I just feel like it’s exciting for the guys! They don’t have loads of options, so when there’s a new trend, it’s cool to see them get really into it.

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Fafafoom: How about lasting trends from previous season(s)?
Adrea Cabrera: I would say the maxi came back from the last two seasons. Even from last winter and holidays, a lot of women wear maxis, and then they transition into spring/summer.
And then it definitely happens here in San Francisco where the weather is perpetually fall, so the maxi is the one to keep you warm. You can layer it up or down; I put several Free People maxi dresses on the runway tonight.

So yeah, I think that’s kind of stayed. And they progress it with long, flounced sleeves with different fabrications, and that’s exciting to see.

Fafafoom: Let’s say you only have 15 minutes between waking up and getting out of the door…
Adrea Cabrera: (laughs) That’s typically me, though! I’m really glamorous, like, do I have deodorant on?

Fafafoom: OK, aside from deodorant, how do you put yourself together?
Adrea Cabrera: I’m very functional. Like today, I’m working all day. So I make sure I have heels but it’s more of a wedge platform. I’m wearing pants so I can run around. My top is very simple, minimal. Put a lip color on, and out the door!

Sometimes I’d just wear this with band slip-ons for running around. So yeah, very functional dressing with a little bit of pizzaz, that’s my take on personal style.

Fafafoom: How about colors? Do you play around with colors at all?
Adrea Cabrera: I love colors! On the last event, I worked with Salvador Perez, and we were doing a circuit together. And we had so much fun with colors. He’s known for dressing Mindy Kaling, and all of the stuff that she wears. So I get to use all of my colors and I love patterns.

Fafafoom: What are your favorite colors to mix, and perhaps more importantly, what is a unexpectedly great combination of colors?
Adrea Cabrera: We did a navy pleated ankle length skirt with lime green cardigan. I love doing a primary color with some sort of a pop of fluorescence, with really fun textures. Because the navy almost works like another black.

And then peach can work as another white, so you can just layer it up! So put it on, see if it makes you feel good. I feel like that’s the top-tell sign. Put it on, and if you feel confident, there you go.

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Fafafoom: Especially for San Francisco, there’s a lot of instances where you go to work in the morning and then transition into evening events. Plus, the weather is a little unpredictable, so that’s always that.
Adrea Cabrera: Yeah, kind of like what we’re talking about – find those primary colors, layer them with something funky. You can wear a black dress to work with appropriate heels. When you’re going at night, put a moto jacket on, put on some cool earrings or a little cocktail necklace…kind of just layer up. Layer on your fun, layer on your funkiness. Start out with a solid base, and then just kind of layer on.

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Fafafoom: What’s a highlight of your job? And do you keep learning with every project?
Adrea Cabrera: Always, I never ever stop learning. I think I always learn something from every event. I think my favorite part is actually putting the clothes on people and seeing their reactions. If they feel cool, or beautiful, or excited, I love that. That makes my world. That makes this job is worth doing and awesome. I think that with every job, you learn something, and my most exciting is to see the end product.

Thank you so much, Adrea! Awesome work, and we wish you the best, always! You can check out more of her work at Adrea Cabrera.
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Featured Presentation: Project Runway’s Jake, Blake, and Joseph

Also happening that night was a featured presentation from local designer Jake Wall, along with his fellow Project Runway Season 14 designers Blake Patterson and Joseph Charles Poli. Giuliana Rancic did a brief Q&A with the trio as they revealed original looks from unconventional materials found in Macy’s prop room, created especially for the event.
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Jake Wall is a graduate of the Fashion Incubator San Francisco (FiSF), a non-profit organization located at Macy’s that accelerates emerging apparel and accessories design businesses while supporting fashion industry economic growth and job creation in the San Francisco Bay Area. We went to FiSF pop-up store last June, when we met Stephanie Bodnar, Cake Carlos, Jessie Liu for the first time.

It’s worth noting that both Joseph Poli and Jessie Liu are Academy of Art University alumni. Joseph graduated with 2012 BFA Fashion Design, while Jessie graduated with 2012 MFA Fashion Design. Jessie’s thesis collection was presented in the Academy of Art University NYFW showing in September 2012. During the Macy’s Presents Fashions’ Front Row event, we got to see these talented ladies again showcasing their fall collection! It’s also my first time peeking a glance at FiSF newest designer Nishika De Rosairo.
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Ah, what a fun night! Thanks once again to Adrea Cabrera for setting aside some of her time for the interview, and cheers for FiSF current residents and graduates!

Thanks for reading; until next time,

Photos by Christian Hadidjaja.

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