Between all the schmoozing and the boozing, the cruising and the perusing (someone stop me, please), it was near impossible to find the time to do any actual writing about fashion. Now that I've had a few days to process the peculiarly exhausting whirlwind that is LA Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios, I offer you dear Style Council readers a selection of short but sweet reviews of some of the hits and misses I saw on the catwalk.
Project Runway yields a true fashion talent! I always felt that Project Runway was a quality reality show, and Kara Saun's first full collection, titled 2056, proved that the producers knew what they were doing. Working with luxury fabrics in rich colors, Saun's retro-futurist looks were strong, sexy and feminine enough for the hottest replicant heartbreaker (although Saun says she wasn't directly influenced by Blade Runner she does love the film - and it shows). Bring on the backless! You can read my more in-depth piece on Kara Saun here.
ALAN DEL ROSARIO
Del Rosario was all about the Latin flava, like, literally: his show began with a priest stalking the catwalk as Latin benedictions blared through the speakers. This was the set-up for a collection that sashayed back and forth between Spanish and Italian influences, flamenco ruffles and castanets one moment, tight La Dolce Vita cocktail dresses the next. I loved the overall vibe of the roses and the lace and the ringlet curls, but some of the floor-length gowns were more unwieldy than Scarlett O'Hara's curtains. Tight leather dresses with flowing chiffon skirts would only look good on a Playboy playmate. I think the designer would have benefitted from some editing, but by the looks of it, the wildly applauding crowd didn't agree.
Saenz's downtown L.A.-inspired collection shared its '40s-meets-the-future feel with several other designers, but the Angeleno also sent out some wildly inventive silhouettes, like this cream colored wool gown with a lace train. There were always elements that made you stand and take notice (the absence of seats being one element), such as the quilted panels on a suit, an oversize hat, ribbons trailing from the shoulders of a top, or the unexpected pairings of fabric textures, like taffeta and nubby tweed. It takes a daring person to wear clothes like these, but Saenz definitely seems poised for a successful future as an avant garde fashion darling. Which probably means: no more LA Fashion Week for him, but that remains to be seen.
COREY LYNN CALTER
Calter, pictured here with her insanely cute baby, got us in the mood for wintry mountain tops - from the Alps to the Himalayas - by opening her show with a magical flurry of snowflakes that fell on my pad and left little wet imprints, much to my delight. Oh, and I loved her clothes, too. There were slinky empire waist dresses cut from a perfectly thrown together jumble of patterns, paired with cozy Mongolian-looking fur vests and baggy tights like the ones I'm coveting in the Prada ads. Some of the dresses were mid-calf length and brightly embroidered - just ethnic-inspired enough to appeal to everyone's inner hippie chick. The accessories were fun, too: big, colorful round beads and knotted silk necklaces. Footwear ranged from green galoshes to dainty pumps, depending, no doubt, on the weather.
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Fashion Week's final runway show, the first couture collection from Bebe, brought out big names like Courtney Love and Frances Bean, and new company spokesmodel Mischa Barton, who wore a purple piece from the Fall 2006 collection that can only be described as a silk romper, with little banded bloomers in place of a skirt. Designed by David Cardona and style visionary Arianne Phillips, the entire collection was based around the shape of the tulip, and the garments did evoke the simplicity and grace of that flower, with flowing bias cut silks, layered petal skirts, and elegant asymmetrical necklines. Models wore their hair in simple side chignons, with red lips and fuck-me pumps that screamed Robert Palmer. And on the subject of screaming, is it just my subconscious reacting, or are those tight patent leather gloves totally sadistic? LaToya Jackson, in the bottom right of the picture, clearly intends to place an order.