Berkeley-based designer under the brand “cari borja / clothesmaker” has created a Summer 2011 Collection inspired by her prep-cook internship at Chez Panisse Restaurant and Cafe. The collection is currently on display through the end of July 2011 at Lireille Gallery in Oakland, CA. A reception will take place on Friday July 1st from 4-8pm followed by a trunkshow of ready-to-wear and classic pieces on Saturday July 2nd from 12-6pm.

Cari Borja’s new collection is influenced by both the techniques and processes she learned to prepare  seasonal vegetables for dishes at Chez Panisse. From asparagus, artichokes and calamari to carrots, beets and cauliflower, the colors, shapes and forms of the vegetables, fish and herbs are echoed throughout the collection.
The collection is a mixture of the organic, asymmetric and fluid. It is both bold and ethereal, sophisticated yet fun, classic yet whimsical. Using fabrics that range from Borja’s signature fabrics such as fleece and novelty wovens, satins and brocades, Cari moves into a more dramatic direction with layering techniques and fabric manipulations of pleated “artichoke petals” and gathered “cauliflower florettes.” The result is one of a subtle gradation of textured fabrics that culminate in wearable sculpture.
image of cari-borja-chez panisse collection summer 2011
image of cari-borja-summer 2011
image of cari-borja-collection summer 2011
image of cari-borja-chez panisse summer 2011
image of cari-borja-chez panisse collection 2011
Highlights from the Summer 2011 Collection include a burgundy and gold chinese printed silk ruffle top and layered ruffle skirt – the colors of which evoke the gold and red beets that Borja spent time removing the skins from. A green brocade halter gown gets its texture from the layered pleated artichoke petals that are overlapped and tiered. An orange silk gown with golden godet inserts and ruffle details is reminiscent of the various hues of carrots that Borja peeled for carrot soup and cafe salads. A lavender brocaded satin skirt and top with asymmetric pleated artichoke petals that cascade down the front and sides of the bodice is completed by a crinkle chiffon hoodie jacket. Cauliflower florettes made from white fleece articulate the seams of a tiered coat. Finally those same florettes are crafted in tulle, jersey knit, a burnout chiffon and silk organza to form the silhouette of an off-white summer dress.
Photography by Harber Photography.