|Photos by Ron Athey|
EDITED BY KATERI BUTLER
For years, artists and developers have touted the imminent revival of downtown. For nearly as long, fashionistas have tried to cultivate a design scene on a New York scale. Four FASHION WEEK shows, in particular, suggest that both these things are occurring simultaneously. The presentations featured both good theater and profoundly anarchistic designs, with the mood only slightly jaded and vaguely unpretentious. Even in the crowds, it was easy to spot the off-duty models striking a pose, while celebrities and fashion victims kept their distance from the media mob. From low-end to high-end, asymmetry and unfinished hems and seams dominated, but overall there appeared to be few rules. Full-on retro was also refreshingly scarce.
Friday night’s New Arrivals at the Fenton Building (the former Lab space) downtown, hyped as “Echo Park designer night,” found an over-capacity crowd of Industry veteranos and art whores, while the La Luz de Jesus types got rowdy, not hesitating to boo an outfit or catcall a model. Heavy cigarette smoking was required. Runway themes — not to be interpreted literally, of course — included ROCK’N SISSY’s bio-hazard butoh followed by a slapstick Chaplinesque number, GLADYS & JEANELL’s sexy Cabaret wear and
KIMME BUZZELLI FOR SHOWPONY’s take on Annie Get Your Gun. The clothes ranged from minimal to deconstruction overload; some creations looked as haggy on the models as they looked raggy on the hanger.
MICHELE MONTANO’s skirts with colliding bias lines and tops constructed of wide ribbon were hot; MIGUEL DIEGO GOMEZ certainly showed a flair for irony and Galliano, especially with the full-skirted classy gown featuring a large Motorhead logo on the back.
When a horrible blond in a Lexus stopped us on Third Street near Al’s Bar asking where the valet was, we figured either MICHELLE MASON’s collection was the most upscale of the downtown events or the Newsweek story on L.A. designers was bringing in the wrong crowd. Mason’s dynamic fall line included power-bitch suits with loose-fitting “corsets,” leather wide-leg trousers with cuffs, and female cummerbunds. Soaking up the environment were BEVERLY KLEIN, RICK OWENS, MONAH LI, NATASHA Gregson WAGNER, LISA ELLIOT, BALTHAZAR GETTY, ALICIA LAWHON and MAGDA BERLINER.
Immediately following was LOYANDFORD’s soiree at their boutique in Chinatown. A runway was set up from the back of the store out onto Chung King Road, next to which dim sum snacks were being served. Not only did the new collection feature mono sleeves, ruffles and shredded edges, but one number exposed the entire right breast. Enjoying the refreshments were actor UDO KIER, Silver Lake designer ESTEVAN RAMOS and you’ll-never-eat-pussy-in-this-town-again writer JERRY STAHL. Designer
FRANK FORD was a camp delight, soaking up the splash reception that marked his and STEFAN LOY’s seventh month in business.
Foxy JARED GOLD may have been born in Idaho, but he ain’t no potato boy. His show, which deservedly received the only standing ovation, was set in the Harlem Place alley, off Fourth and Main (opposite Score), between two tall buildings. While that neighborhood is becoming more gentrified, with high-end lofts opening in the old Bank building, the alley will always reek of urine. A New Yorker commented on how dressed up the crowd was: “God, this is so San Francisco.” Adding to the kitsch element were the Meet Cake comics passed out beforehand by performer/palm reader/cartoonist DAME DARCY, which went well with the swag bags of Bazooka bubble gum, Chix Stix, Gummis and wax-candy pipes. Gold’s clothes evoke an almost infantile Victorian realm that successfully measures out how much Alice in Wonderland can be used with how much punk.