View more of Lina Lecaro's photos in the new Nightranger slideshow.
ROCK ’N’ WEAR CIRCUS
When it comes to style, the line between flamboyant ’n’ fabulous and gaudy ’n’ garish can be thinner than a TV starlet’s thighs, particularly in L.A., where standing out — in a club, onstage or the red carpet — is a proven obsession. (Of course, fitting in at the same time is the ultimate goal — what else explains the prevalence of douche-y Ed Hardy duds?) No wonder many consider L.A. Fashion Week a joke. But is/was it? Check out this issue’s A Considerable Town section for Gendy Alimurung’s review of the runways (including Hardy’s Christian Audigier) during Smashbox’s reported final season and judge for yourself.
Once again last week, Nightranger also added catwalk gawking to our usual club crawling, in some cases in one shot. Monday, Silver Lake–based designer Maggie Barry offered her usual bonanza of looks (her shows are always lengthy, and we’re not talking about hemlines) at downtown’s Club 740. Unfortunately, we got there at the time listed on the invite, and we should have known better: Fashion shows never, ever, ever (!) start on time. We didn’t expect to be the only ones in the still-lit-up club ... well, except for the — undressed — models. So we hopped on the 101 to Hollywood for the opening of Shin on Wilcox; more on that to come. Two hours later, we were back at Barry’s superpacked Victorian Circus, and in many ways, it was worth the wait. Opened by the enchanting duo of chanteuse Morganne and burlesque performer Selene Luna (Margaret Cho’s sidekick recently on The Cho Show) in spider-web-printed gowns, the vibrant and flashy runway presentation lived up to its multifaceted theme with live music, flamenco and belly dancing. As for the clothes, they consisted mainly of Barry’s signature over-the-top stage-wear, all of it intensely bright, shiny, sparkly and mega-embellished. Talk about standing out. Everything shown Monday — MB’s whimsical wearables, along with Barry Savage’s billowy caftans, Zubaz’s casual scarf looks and Tal Sheyn’s skimpy dresses — guarantees the wearer attention. Some of the stuff was extremely sexy. Sheyn’s lamé-and-rhinestone-specked frocks were in fact downright trashtastic in a Playboy Mansion party-garb kinda way. The Surreal Life’s Tracy Bingham was a model — need we say more?
Though seasonal dressing is often irrelevant in this city, it was hard to ignore the warm-weather vibe of most of the looks seen over at the Box Eight shows downtown. The art and fashion space (which hopes to take center stage come next year’s Fashion Week) kicked off its four-night style slew last Thursday with shows by Idol Radec, Fremont and Michel Berandi (a former associate of Project Runway winner Jeffrey Sebelia), and the first two — heavy on menswear — had loads of leg action. The long and the short of these runways trendwise? Dudes will be wearing Bermuda-lengths with everything come spring, even ties, blazers and sweaters. Though we missed Berandi’s late-night spectacle, pals tell us the mostly black-leather-and-lace layered looks were fierce, as was the hair (Purple Circle salon rocked the locks). Designers who showed at the “other” Box also included Melrose scenester fave Joy Rich and Warholian wunderkinds Anzevino & Florence (both Sat.) and the street chic of Rojas (Sun.), but the hot ticket was definitely ’80s-flaired designer Brian Lichtenberg, whose Friday show saw so many headband-and-Ray-Ban-clad cuties gathered at the door that it was ultimately closed early due to fire-marshal concerns. Nightranger just made it in before everyone got the heave-ho, and after a long wait (of course), we got to ogle Lichty’s luscious new line. Though he’s best known for his metallic and holographic workout-wear-inspired pieces (seen on MIA and Peaches), there was nary a reflective swatch in the bunch Friday. Instead, he put out lots of lace, vinyl and netted fabrics in purple, white and black. It was body conscious and retro rock-ish, but still felt really fresh, thanks in large part to statement-making accessories: Alex and Chloe’s bold necklaces and Franc Fernandez’s amazing sculptural hats. After the vamping, local art rockers Weave offered a tamborine-ravaging set of Sonic Youth–meets–Talking Heads-tinged sounds on the patio for the likes of John Frusciante, Mustache Mondays’ Nacho Biz and A Club Called Rhonda’s Gregory Alexander (Fernandez’s BF), MOCA’s Vanessa Gonzalez and our pal The Cobrasnake (working his own fashion accessory: a plastic Ralphs bag). Check out Weave’s residency every Monday in November at The Echo. (November 3 is the record release.)
Safari Sam’s was forced to shut its doors on Sunset (shows have been moved to The Regent on Main Street downtown for the time being) while Versus’ soft-opening event, ?uestlove Sessions,a voter-registration and fashion show, had to be scooted to Tatou due to permit-approval issues. (The new downtown dance club will, however, be open in time for its official unveiling, with Dave Navarro and DJ Skribble, this Saturday.) But the stars were aligned — in more ways than one — for another hot spot last week. Shin, the new Korean BBQ joint co-owned by a host of so-hip-it-hurts celeb investors, including Steve Aoki, Gerard Butler, Chris Masterson, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, Mark Ronson and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, celebrated Monday with a private party and individual DJ sets. (Masterson’s was our fave, including the cuts from Joan Jett, the Smiths and even the Rolling Stones’ “Slave” ... gawd, we’re getting sick of electro.) The party brought out some other biggies, too: Kirsten Dunst, Will.i.am, Mos Def, Devendra Banhart, Luke Walton, Samantha Ronson, Scott Ian, Shepard Fairey and Shanna Moekler (fresh off getting dissed on her ex Travis Barker’s MySpace blog for not visiting him more in the hospital). Divorcée drama aside, Nightranger wishes to say a heartfelt “glad you’re back” to DJ AM (seen chillin’ at the bash in his honor at Avalon and thrillin’ with Jay-Z at the new Palladium last week) and Barker, both of whom we’ve had the pleasure of grooving to and interviewing in the past. We’ve no doubt these beat masters will conquer whatever challenges lie ahead as fervently as they do the decks and the drums.