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Nightranger: We Wear It Well 

Thursday, Mar 25 2010
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View more photos in Lina Lecaro's "Nightranger: Fashion Week Flashin'" slideshow.

Rock & roll and fashion have always gone hand in hand, but during L.A. Fashion Week (all last week), Nightranger noticed an edgy flamboyance both on and off the catwalk like never before. Whether it's Runaways redux, Alice in Wonderland–inspired whimsy or the Gaga effect, we're not sure, but we're happy to report that L.A. has been peacocking like never before, ditching casual for more creative looks after dark. It seemed wild frocks and headpieces, dramatic makeup and heavy-metal accoutrements were everywhere, suggesting a fierce, flingy spring ahead.

Always a centerpiece of each L.A. Fashion season, Gen Art's soiree at the Roosevelt Hotel's Tropicana Club on Tuesday didn't disappoint. Celebrating its favorite L.A. designer alumnus, the GA party was hosted by model Amber Rose (aka Kanye West's arm-candy). No famous fades or shutter shades in sight, but Rose did don sunglasses at night, and honoree Jeffrey Sebelia (the multi-tatted winner of Project Runway Season 3) towed around a model with crazy "black-bar" eye covers (emblazoned with his name) the whole night.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY LINA LECARO - Jeffrey Sebelia and model at Gen Art's Fashion Week party

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Other designers were also represented by wandering models holding signs, including Louis Verdad, Eduardo Lucero, Elmer Ave, Endovanera, Erik Hart, Freddie Rojas, Geren Ford, Wren, Grey Ant, Jared Gold, Katy Rodriguez and fellow Runway-ers Rami Kashou and Kit Scarbo. The latter's banner was the best: a handheld black-and-white mug-shot board (you know, with the alleged perp's name and number).

Coincidentally, our next stop was Voyeur nightclub (formerly Peanuts/7969), where Hennessy (the hooch said to be responsible for Kanye's Taylor Swift blunder at the VMAs) hosted a bash for its new Black brand. It was the first time we'd actually been inside the WeHo club, and while it's kinda sexy (we guess), Peanuts' charm has been completely obliterated, resulting in a slicker, smaller, duller space. At least the free drinks, served in tall, chilled black glasses, were tasty — easy to see why rappers like to rhyme about it. Amber Rose was touted to attend the event too, but we never saw her. (Whom we did see at the hip-hop hap was kind of surprising, though: 90210's Shannen Doherty, currently shaking it on Dancing With the Stars. Go Brenda!)

GOOD GOLLY, MISS MOLLY
L.A.'s lack of a central locale for its fashion events these days definitely makes things interesting, even if it means driving all over town. We passed on BOXEight's downtown flash-fest (read Gendy Alimurung's report on laweekly.com's Style Council blog), opting for more music-heavy shows and shindigs.

The grand opening for Swedish boho boutique Odd Molly on Robertson was a good place to start, especially with Little Joy's Fabrizio Moretti and Binki Shapiro on DJ duty. They couldn't have spun a better mix of party jams either (Motown soul and '60s/'70s funk, mostly). Lots of big, blond, beautiful Swedes were in attendance, along with celebs like Helena Christensen, Kelly Osbourne and Heidi Klum, and we loved the display, which saw live models set up like mannequins in the center of the shop (What Goes Around Comes Around did the same type of installation at its vintage vamp inside Space 15 Twenty the night before).

Binki, by the way, has a one-of-a-kind charity auction going on for Haiti that both fans of indie music and the DIY/crafting movement will definitely want to check out. Crafts for a Cause features countless handmade items, including T-shirts, bags and toys painted by the likes of Daft Punk, the Strokes, Tegan & Sara, Drew Barrymore, Kimya Dawson, Spike Jonze, Feist and others. They're all up for bidding, and you can even win the privilege of having your original song produced by Mark Ronson, which at press time was going for $2,000. Check out craftsforacause.tumblr.com for the item list, but do it quick: The online auction ends this Sat., March 27.

ONLY THE NAMES WILL CHANGE
Maybe it was seeing all the Little House on the Prairie–ish Odd Molly stuff beforehand, but the runway we caught immediately afterward at Sunset/Gower Studios felt surprisingly sophisticated by comparison. We say that not only because the line is called White Trash Beautiful, but due to one of the designers: Richie Sambora.

In spite of a blaring Bon Jovi soundtrack during the show, the looks — heavy on the black — evoked the '80s in a sexy yet subdued way: sparkles, cutouts, tight legs, sequins. It was very Rock & Republic–like, though not as revealing. Good thing too, as Sambora's 12-year-old daughter was a featured model (proud mama Heather Locklear sat front row).

The restraint shown by Sambora and co-designer Nikki Lund was even more notable considering some of the gaudy looks at Project Ethos later the same night. The megafashion production unveiled the new Music Box to the public by offering a dizzying array of clothing onstage. Amid some unfortunate styling, poor sewing construction and technical difficulties (particularly when it came to lighting), great looks did emerge. Highlight lines included Fulani's gorgeous satins, GOGA by Gordana's glamazon getups and Haus of Estrada's goth gear (the latter two also Project Runway alums). Bruno Mars opened the show with a funky-fun set of soul-pop while Love Grenades closed out the evening with a buoyant dance-rock workout that had singer Liz Wight pouring water all over herself — and the runway. Very Flashdance.

With the live music onstage, art exhibit and vendors everywhere, Ethos had a lot to ogle, but we were most impressed with the venue itself. Unlike the aforementioned Voyeur, the Box (the Henry Fonda moniker is long gone) has been embellished in a luxe style that still retains the room's character with arty, deco touches and extras like giant murals, velvet curtains and (hurray!) a much larger, two-sided bar. It's nice enough to compete with the swanky new danceterias in the area, but cool "Old Hollywood" enough not to alienate dressed-down Goldenvoice concert-goers.

And speaking of swanky newbies: Check here next week for our take on the hottest nightlife trifecta of the moment — Drai's (above the W), Brent Bolthouse's Trousdale and Industry (formerly Area) from Bolthouse's former partners at SBE.

Reach the writer at llecaro@laweekly.com

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