It's a strange time for fashion. The 500-pound gorilla in the room threatening to squash all the 98-pound models is, of course, the crappy economy. If you remember, our city's semi-longstanding Fashion Week at Smashbox died a sad death last year in October, just before the nation's banks started self-destructing. The arts collective Boxeight has since thrown itself into the breach. So how do you do Fashion Week if belts are tightening and nobody has any money to spend?

At this season's GenArt show at the historic Los Angeles Theater in downtown, there's no celebrity guest “host” reading from a cheesy speech, just marketing guru Jennifer Egan in a short black dress, her long, straight, brunette mermaid hair streaming down her back, humbly thanking the people who actually bought tickets to the night's show. The young women at the check-in table are a tad less haughty. As are the older cougars lingering by the bar. Even the fashionistas angling to be the prettiest girls in the room seem more somber, despite having added obnoxious new words to their vocabulary (“recessionista”: yuck!). Undeterred, the photographer mafia are there once more jockeying for position on the risers.

There are even the requisite few celebs. Clint Catalyst, looking handsomely vampire-like, is sitting across the aisle. As the lights go down, one of the contestants from

LA Weekly