Chills, Hills and (Cheap) Thrills

Catching the fashion bug takes on new meaning during flu season, or so we've discovered.

The collections and presentations at Mercedes Benz fashion Week at Smashbox Studios the past few days have been fairly interesting, but nobody should have to cram into stuffy rooms filled with bitchy fashion fiends while battling mucusy nostrils, a scratchy throat and an achy neck like we have! We blame our ills on Sunday's shows, which went from sweatpit-like spaces "The Lightbox" and "Stage One" to the arctic chill of the Main Tent. Couple these drastic temp changes with cramped quarters at each show's entrance, and those seductively colorful, resistance-lowering cocktails, and even the "Airbourne on the Go" capsules we popped with the free Smartwater given out at Smashbox's entrance were useless.

But enough about our health or lack thereof. Let's talk about the models' health for a moment shall we? Size-wise, there's been a nice variety, though Lauren Conrad of The Hills fame definitely had the most frail femmes we've seen. Most of her pieces were in unforgiving jersey fabric though, so it was probably for the best.

The "reality" TV star (who may or may not actually be a student at FIDM) is an easy target, and we've definitely talked our share of good-natured smack about her show. But, we gotta say there wasn't much on her runway to really tear apart. Conrad's collection was a procession of sexy, clingy 70's and 80's style dresses in tones of wine, black and olive green. It wasn't innovative or new in any way, in fact it was safe, but it didn't look cheap as we expected it would. Which is major. We'd wear a lot of what we saw... well, except for the real-clingy stuff (we aint a waif).

Maggie Barry for Xubaz's glamazon spectacle followed, and this one was definitely full of whimsy and even some wackiness. Gaudy prints, metallics, leather, lace, neon, pvc, and rainbow hues made for an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink collection that was full of fun and frolic. Barry does a lot of stage wear (David Lee Roth, sitting front row told us she's made his stage clothes for years) and though most of her pieces as presented are too over the top for real life, there were definitely some individual attention-getting items that anyone could rock.

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Tuesday's slew ended with Nicky Hilton's Nikolai - an S&M meets Equestrian whore(s) show that looked a little more lux than the stuff from her last Smashbox show (the Forever 21-ish Chick), but not much.

Rubber-esque leggings were paired with riding jackets, helmets and boots in red, black and white. We liked her knit pieces best, and again, there was nothing to hate here, just nothing to really get excited about. Oh, except for the music. MIA's Paper Planes offered great backbeats for trotting, even if subject matter-wise, it was outta step with her rich-girl-at-the-stables stylings.

Speaking of which, the sight of Nik's sis canoodling overtly with her boyfriend Benji Madden in the front row for the packs of photogs behind us (while her dad sat at her other side awkwardly next to them) was weird enough without the too-sexy pre-show mood music: Prince's "Darling Nikki." Wonder if Rick and Kathy know the words to that one?

Look for more Fashion Week coverage on The Style Council (and a slideshow from Smashbox on LAWeekly.com's homepage) over the weekend.

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