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Tobi Two Year Anniversary Party @ Mezzanine SF

I feel severely under-dressed.”

The thought skittered through my brain as the Steel Crew rolled up to the queue that had formed outside of San Francisco’s Mezzanine. With street lamps glaring down and a warm red glow emanating from the neon signage, the rest of the crowd looked pretty damn fabulous.

I guess that’s to be expected at a popular club in San Francisco. On a Friday night. At a fashion show.

The Steel Crew attended’s anniversary party last Friday night, celebrating two years of providing customers with the luxury of personal shopping assistants along with the convenience of stay-at-home-in-your-jammies online shopping.

“I feel severely under-dressed,” I repeat out loud to the Crew.

Sartorial Rule #38: Make sure you’re dressed for the occasion.

I feel reassured as Marius, handsomely clad in dark jeans and crisp buffalo-check flannel, tells me that he’s in the same boat, having gone to and followed their suggestions for party attire. Tobi says, “Whatever you like! There’s no dress code.” Their suggestions scream comfort, good times, non-pretentiousness. All of the Party Approved Attire Models would look equally at home holding crystal stemware at a seaside loft or red plastic Solo cups in someone’s garage.

I guess I had forgotten Sartorial Rule #1: Wear what you like. Like what you wear. As my insecurities ebbed away, I threw down for my ticket and Red Stripe voucher (HOOORAYY BEER) and managed to hide a grin while the “VIP” line didn’t budge an inch.

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DJs Danger & Spitzer on the cutting room floor.

I get the feeling that’s what was going for with this shindig. The Red Stripe overflowedeth, with the jeans-and-tees crowd rubbing elbows with the black dresses and high heels. After a brief welcome from our hosts Cathy and Corina (dressed in black and grey numbers that reflected the casual chic feel of the evening), the models took to the runway, showing off select men’s and women’s looks for Fall and Winter 2008.

Photos by Casanova Ruffin, who sometimes moonlights as Peter Parker.

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Safe does not have to be boring.

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You’re going to be seeing a lot more high-waisted pants this season. The cutesy tee and plaid cap keep this look fun, not something you’d only see on a runway.

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If done incorrectly, leather jackets end up reminding people of John Stamos circa Full House. The SweetTarts scarf softens the overall look while still letting the amazing jacket stand on its own. Raw denim allows this whole ensemble to transition easily from chess in the park to an evening out.

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Doesn’t this just make you want to hold hands and splash through puddles? The hint of red in the skirt pulls the whole thing together, keeping this look more Gossip Girl and not Lisa Frank girl.

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“We are not in possession of modeling contracts. But we’ll be talking and posing at you anyway.”

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Layering a leather jacket over a cocktail dress that pops is like pouring a shot of Jim Beam into your latte. Tough, but sweet. And you’re good to go.

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Models. So hot right now.

Whilst soaking in the glamour of the runway and its inhabitants, I caught myself gawking at one particular olive-skinned model in a red cocktail dress. The other models strutted; she seemed to bounce. The other models scowled and smirked; she beamed.

“That girl’s not a model,” I confundedly remarked to Casanova.

Questions and confusion (admittedly, I think I was the only one in the crowd who didn’t know what was going on) were soon addressed by Cathy and Corina themselves. Capping off the runway show were the five final contestants competing to be America’s Nex…uhm, I mean be a model in tobi’s next online Lookbook. They all exhibited traits that betrayed their non-professional model roots: they actually smiled, they looked a little nervous sometimes, they all looked like they had eaten a sandwich in the past 48 hours.

After some fierce campaigning at the Applause-o-Meter polls, Kamal’s coolguy charm and salt-and-pepper locks won out. A live set from French DJs Danger & Spitzer kept the dancefloor churning into the night.

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Winner winner, chicken dinner. Congrats Kamal! And I hope I didn’t butcher your name too badly.

After some schmoozing, random photos, and having a guy knock my overpriced drink to the floor, the Steel Crew managed to catch up with Corina herself for a few congratulatory words and an off-center photograph courtesy of my super phenomenal photog skills. Where’s iciwici when you need her? (Ed: She was actually doing last-minute prep for her own huge shindig the next day, dipshit.)

Congratulations to Cathy, Corina, and the rest of, and a big THANK YOU for putting on a show that managed to be both sexy and laid-back.

Photos by Casanova Ruffin. Words by Alexander Worthington iii. Moral support by Marius V. All photos are property of and may only be reproduced if you give us e-daps. Otherwise, you’re gonna get served…with an injunction.


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