It’s July, it’s hot, and Santa Rosa is bringing the sizzle this Sunday, July 31st with an incredible evening of fashion, music, food and feel-goodery.

The Chrysalis Fashion Benefit — produced by Santa Rosa’s own Mary Jarvis and featuring designs by the one and only Michael Lee Brandon Powell — is going to be one of those kinds of events that people in attendance will be talking about for many moon-cycles to come.


The inaugural event will begin with a fashion show featuring gender-fluid designs created by Powell using clothing and fabrics from local thrift stores, which have been repurposed and creatively designed as fashion to be worn and enjoyed by either sex. Focusing on self-expression, Powell’s designs have been thoughtfully developed to help remove the typical fixed-gender identity often found attached to clothing. Using rich candy colors partly inspired by the beloved candy store Powell’s Sweet Shoppe – owned by Michael’s family – the artist encourages all of us to break out of our rigid chrysalis and let our inner beauty emerge, all while taking in the wonder of his kaleidoscopic usage of colors, fabrics, and flash.

chrysalisThe one-of-a-kind items showcased will be worn by highly talented and runway-ready local models who have all pinky-swear promised* not to let the absolutely guaranteed instant fame go to their heads.

After the fashion show everyone is invited outside, where hundreds of majestic fluttery butterflies will be released by Powell into the evening sky, symbolizing newfound freedom and inner beauty. At least, that’s what I think of when seeing a sky full of butterflies. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, founded in 2015 to restore the butterfly to a robust and healthy population by increasing habitat, ensuring these important and valuable insects are able to continue with their lovely and essential work.

This dramatic release of our winged friends will be followed by a dinner prepared and served by Worth Our Weight, Santa Rosa’s culinary apprenticeship program founded by director Evelyn Cheatham. WOW accepts and nurtures young people from ages 16-24 who have faced major challenges in their lives, and provides them with tuition-free training in culinary and food service skills. WOW, a Santa Rosa favorite, has a restaurant (1021 Hahman Dr) where students practice their real-world training, and has been chosen by Powell as the other beneficiary of the Fashion Show’s proceeds.

chrysalis2While enjoying dinner, you’ll have an opportunity via silent auction to purchase any of Michael’s unique creations featured in the fashion show. The evening wraps up by just getting started again! DJea Edrum will be laying down the jams for an epic after-party, so come prepared to dance and move and be whoever you want to be. This night is all about you doing you!

On that note, all are encouraged to attend wearing their finest, however that is defined for you. Hot pink tutu? Great! Tasteful bowtie? Wonderful! Velvet chartreuse three-piece suit with bedazzled wings attached? Amazing! Simple, smart skirt with librarian button-down? Perfection. We can’t wait to see you in all of your gorgeous glory!

The Details:

Sunday, July 31st, 5pm at The Arlene Francis Center, 99 W. 6th Street, Santa Rosa

Tickets, which include Fashion Show, Butterfly Release, Dinner, Crazy Awesome Dance Party AND help to benefit Worth Our Weight and The Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund: $30

For tickets and information, click HERE


*pinky-swear promises were made only in my imagination and are therefore not guaranteed.