Los Angeles Fashion Week: Dare To Hope

Days three and four of Los Angeles Fashion Week boasted a lineup that perfectly summarized what the event has become—a predictable series of designer archetypes, from celebrity wannabes to eco-chic brands, self-designated up-and-comers and less-than-triumphant returns. Fortunately there was also some light at the end of the tunnel.

The obligatory celebrity clothing lines started with D’Amore by Marceau, a line of swimwear by model-actress-restaurant scion Caroline D’Amore that looked like it was pulled from the Rampage sale rack—think iridescent monokinis connected by big gold hoops and bikinis with glittery logos splashed across the bottoms. At least she wasn’t upstaged by fellow fame-seeker Lauren Conrad, who followed up last year’s debut with yet another ho-hum collection of unflattering jersey maxidresses.

The classic eco-fashion label—now a mainstay at Smashbox—was also well represented on the runway. Newcomer Viridis Luxe demonstrated the difficulties of holding a runway show with just jeans and t-shirts. Every look was styled with the same baggy, ripped denim and pocket chains—including, perplexingly, the dresses. Fellow bastion of sustainability Ecoganik‘s attempt was more successful, even considering some of the pieces—a peplum maxidress, a series of high-waisted A-line minis—were slightly reminiscent of Conrad’s collection.

The following two days also saw the standard “emerging” evening gown designer—led by Russian designer Lana Fuchs, who, despite a few attention-grabbing pieces, isn’t exactly red carpet ready. And, of course, there was the inevitable fashion bigwig feting his triumphant return to the catwalks. This latter category was filled by Christian Audigier, whose Sex-Pistols-meets-The Hills “American Lord” collection featured a spangly jacket with his own face on the back in an ill-conceived “God Save the Queen” nod.

Despite this dismal rundown, there were, as always, a few bright spots. Crispin & Basilio‘s elastic-waisted skirts, tissue-thin leather jackets and raw-edged silk cocktail dresses weren’t exactly groundbreaking, but they represented all that’s good about so much West Coast fashion: it’s uncomplicated, subtly luxurious and breeds those go-to pieces you’ll always turn to in a wardrobe crisis. It’s unfortunate that more of these designers aren’t represented on the show schedule, but they’re giving us hope for what LA Fashion Week may become in the future, no matter how hopeless it may seem today.

—Erin Magner




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