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BEHIND THE SCENES / ORANGE COUNTY

If Fabrics Could Talk

March 27, 1997

It was a taste of the faraway fashions to come.

Supporters attending a recent reception at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana were given a sampling of the exotic threads to be spotlighted at the upcoming Tribal Visions fashion show.

The May 3 event, sponsored by Medellas, a philanthropic organization, will showcase contemporary ethnic fashions from Africa, China, India, Japan and Mexico, as presented by Sandra Sakata, owner of San Francisco's Obiko boutique.

"As with antiques, Indonesian designs, tribal textiles and Kuba cloth, I am interested in things of character and personality, things of authenticity," Sakata says.

She commissioned 100 designers to translate what she calls "the language of the fabric" into elegant, wearable clothing. "I wanted a look based on many different viewpoints by many different designers, in which perfect unity results from many people seeking a single vision," she says.

Designers Janet Kaneko, Anna Lisa Hedstrom and Marain Clayden will attend the show and explain how they work with hand-dyed silk, weaves and collage-on-cloth to create one-of-a-kind items.

The event for 300 people is expected to raise $75,000 from ticket sales and sponsorships. Proceeds will benefit Medellas Endowment Fund, which supports Asian and Asian American exhibits and educational programs at the museum.

The 30-year-old Medellas organization's mission is to promote fellowship among its members, most of whom are involved in medical, dental and legal fields.

Tickets to the fashion show and luncheon, which begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, are $65. (714) 637-4890 or (714) 848-9531.

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