There is no well-defined LA Fashion Week anymore, which means the series of style events in our city straggles into the entire month. Maybe not such a bad thing, as each collection gets to soak up more solo spotlight. Last week saw perhaps some of LA fashion's biggest stunners take it and shine. Favorites such as Skin.Graft and Junker Designs both showcased their latest looks with runway shows and multi-faceted happenings that seemed as much about the social scene as they were about style mongering.
As with the runway offerings of the week prior, the bulk of the stuff we've seen has been edgy and tough, with palates heavy on dark and dramatic neutrals or vibrant rainbow hues suited for nights on the town.
Designer Julia Clancey, who presented her Spring/Summer 2011 collection on the rooftop of Palihouse in West Hollywood this past Saturday, took a different approach. Her afternoon show, titled "Sensually Sorbet" saw models in anything but demure pastels amidst a garden tea party-like setting under blue-grayish skies and (spots of) sunshine.
There was much to absorb atmosphere-wise, but it was Clancey's stunning, princess-like frocks that captured the imagination. Indeed, the UK designer -- who now lives in LA and has just set up a by-appointment only shop in WeHo - delved full on into fairy tale frolic with this one. Butterflies fluttered from updo's, some glazed with glitter, each complimenting the sparkle-embellished ice creamy gowns.
Some were one-shouldered and plunging neckline goddess styles, some more flapper-esque minis we've seen from her before. All conjured a bride-like specialness while not being out-rightly wedding geared, rather more Cinderella-at-the-ball influenced. In a word: fantastical.
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Clancey first made an impression on this writer back in 2008, when Smashbox Studios still hosted LA's most cohesive fashion week and Clancey pal Kelly Cutrone ran the whole she-bang. She encountered problems getting her glamorous pieces -- that season, inpired '20's and '30's cocktail attire in reds, purples and blacks -- into the country via customs only days before her show there, which led to a statement-making intro: a model prancing the runway in only a sandwich board that read "Haute Haters" on the front and "Is This Customary?" on the back. Peaches' raucous take on Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" blared in the background.
"Sensually Sorbet" was in many ways a 180 for the designer, conjuring a more subtle sex appeal than we've seen from her previously. Its whimsy and sweetness was a breath of fresh air, but it still had an impishness and bite as well. The soundtrack included remixes of everything from the Beatles to Beyonce, and many models danced around seductively during and after the show. Some played a giggly game of croquet in the center of the runway path. All were smiling and blissful, as was the designer when she came out to join them on the grass and pose for photogs. She had good reason to beam.
Check out Clancey's website for a peek at her previous collections, info. on the new boutique and private appointments.