The Arlene Francis Center proudly presents Chrysalis Fashion Benefit, an inaugural solo project by Michael Lee Brandon Powell, 20, of Windsor, CA. This party begins with a fashion show featuring gender-fluid designs presented by local models, and produced using fabric and clothing from local thrift stores repurposed as fashion for either sex. After the fashion portion of the evening, step outside to watch Michael release hundreds of baby butterflies into the night sky. A dinner by Worth Our Weight and a silent auction of Michael’s one-of-a-kind garments will follow. The evening wraps up with a DJ dance party.
Self-expression is what the Chrysalis Fashion Benefit is all about. Michael’s gender-fluid designs are his approach to detaching a fixed gender identity from typical expectations and the accompanying “proper” gender specific clothing. Cast off your rigid chrysalis and spread your colorful wings to take advantage of this kaleidoscope of inspiration that Michael is offering you. His rich candy colors were partly inspired by Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, the family’s Windsor store.
There’s more. Because of Michael’s deep commitment to both community and environment, proceeds will benefit two nonprofits, Worth Our Weight (WOW) and the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund. WOW is a culinary apprenticeship program based in Santa Rosa that accepts and nurtures people 16-24 years of age who have faced major challenges in their lives. Under the tutelage of Executive Director Evelyn Cheatham, WOW provides tuition-free training in culinary and foodservice skills. The Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund was established in 2015 to restore the butterfly to a robust and healthy population by increasing habitat, ensuring these important pollinating insects continue with their valuable work.