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LA Fashion Week Report -- Downtown Dolls And Hollywood Dreams

Concept FW Installation by Poly Chic
Concept FW Installation by Poly Chic
Lina Lecaro

LA Fashion Week has enough obstacles to overcome without wet weather and disorganization, but this past weekend, that's exactly what local fashionistas had to contend with. In addition to various boutique happenings, two events went head-to-head this season, "Concept" in downtown LA, and "LA Fashion Weekend" at Sunset Gower Studios. Both represented Los Angeles style spheres in different ways, each defined by its locale: Sunset/Gower going for the glitz and Concept being an artsy alternative.

Though Gower featured some interesting sounding presentations (we would have attended The Green Initiative Humanitarian Show had it not been so early on Saturday), there were two shows we actually wanted to see (Joy Rich and White Trash Beautiful). We didn't, the main reason being an aggravating one-- email confirmation for one was received literally a few hours before runway time and we didn't even hear back from the other. Surprising, considering this event was thrown by The Gallery LA, an events and marketing company helmed by Mikey Koffman, who appeared to run a tight ship, as portrayed on Showtime's The L Word.

Click the links above for our reviews of these two design houses last season.

Regardless of designer flakiness, Koffman does seem pretty passionate about making LA Fashion Week significant on some level, as do the powers behind Concept, notably "the LA Cowboy" Brady Westwater, who personally invited us to happenings at the Spring Arts Tower this past weekend. Westwater sees LA Fashion Week as a pivotal part of Downtown's renaissance (as it should be). He worked early on with BoxEight (notably missing this season but recently involved in some Parisian fashion and art events). Along with Mike Vensel of the short-lived Kitten Fashion Shows, Westwater and his team wrangled some strong talent again this season. Though there were cancellations and time slot issues, the fashion was creatively on point, notably martinMARTIN, Fremont, Elmer Ave, and the designer whose work is shown here, Jen Awad.

Jen Awad
Jen Awad
Lina Lecaro
Jen Awad
Jen Awad
Lina Lecaro

Awad's aesthetic got us out in the first place (she's a bonafide rocker chick who plays in bands around town and her touted inspiration for the new collection was "doll" looks). Though behind schedule, the show didn't disappoint with several cute and flirty mini-dresses (these pictured were our faves) in vibrant shades of purple and aqua as well some form-fitting, sparkly numbers with a nicely balanced use of ruffles, bows, cut-outs and pleats.

Jen Awad
Jen Awad
Lina Lecaro
Jen Awad
Jen Awad
Lina Lecaro

Styled perfectly with rhinestone embellished heels and sunglasses, relaxed hair and dark lipstick, the show hit some of our favorite girly-glam notes: retro-rock sex appeal, Lolita sweetness and bold use of color. There were also mod, pin-up and -- as our 4-year-old daughter noted -- Little Mermaid undertones. The playful show was definitely worth splashing through the rain in downtown for.

Curly V Installation
Curly V Installation
Lina Lecaro

Also fun to check out on Sunday, the upstairs designer installations by Curly V (cartoonish pieces that we could totally see La Gaga donning), Kao Pao Shu's rapturous ribbon pieces, sunglasses by Mercura NY and Poly Chic's sculptural frocks (see first photo). As was the case last year, these set-ups -- heightened by live DJ sounds and professional lighting -- were interactive, party-like and made for mad photo snapping, all facets that have become a signature for downtown fashion fetes.

See more photos from Concept FWLA in this week's Nightranger slideshow.

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