By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
One of the people who digs the Sahaja line is a woman who works in trend forecasting. For fall, she is predicting lots of colored denim, leather, plaid, romantic goth (not industrial), and 1990s grunge. She tells me this before the Native American–themed Sjobeck presentation. The Sjobeck line is inspired by the designer’s grandfather, who takes a bow from his place in the audience, which gets me feeling sentimental and warm and fuzzy and hopeful about fashion as an egalitarian art form. Sjobeck specializes in denim but also has some of the sweetest, most sophisticated dresses of the bunch. There is one pouffy gray taffeta empire-waist number with a navy-plaid bust that, with a little lengthening, would suit most women. As is, it looks simply adorable on the blonde model.
Maxine Dillon’s focused, quirky/elegant collection is one of the entire event’s strongest and best-put-together. And not overpriced, either. Her black-and-white woven silk hooded dress and matching “Tuffy” jacket are unusual and, well, cute. Sorry, but there’s just no other word for it. You can buy the dress for $118 and the jacket for $160. Not bad, right? I imagine that her drapey silk dresses cover a multitude of sins, and that her curvy-collared jackets will sell like hotcakes.
While we’re on dresses, one of the BOXeight sponsors sitting next to me at the Yotam Solomon show happily snaps photo after photo of the sex-x-x-y gals coming down the walkway in tight silk-tube dresses fit to burst their seams. “Hel-llo!” he says when one girl in an impossibly short black dress has an embarrassing moment with her hemline. She recovers gracefully. Hey, what’s a little crotch between friends?
Sponsor guy doesn’t mince words about Smashbox. “I don’t like those people,” he says. “They think they’re hot shit, and they’re not.”
“I don’t like them, either,” says the journalist to my right. “They treated me like I was a second-class citizen.”
That’s the biggest, most crucial difference between BOXeight and Smashbox. Those who prefer their fashion mean, bitchy and snobby won’t find it (too much) here. It’s a contrary notion: fashion that’s inclusive rather than exclusive.
Are there glitches? Sure. DJs miscue songs. Models materialize onstage at the wrong moment, like deer caught in headlights. BOXeight is not a corporate conglomerate. As such, its members have heart. They are a group of artists. So some polish and tightness are sacrificed in how the game is run. But the tradeoff is a warmer, friendlier vibe.
As one of the several BOXeight collective members who get up on the runway to take a bow after Jazmin Whitley’s Li Cari show (closing out the weekend) put it: “This is not Paris. This is not Milan. This is not New York. And this is definitely not Culver City. This is downtown L.A.”
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