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New York Fashion Week review: Juan Carlos Obando spring/summer 2010

September 12, 2009 | 11:46 am
Jc obando "The end of the old West and the beginning of the new frontier." That was the inspiration for Los Angeles designer Juan Carlos Obando's spring collection shown Friday night in New York. When Elmer Bernstein's theme song from "The Magnificent Seven" came on blaring, you might have expected a cowgirl romp.

But Obando, who counts L.A. influentials Liz Goldwyn, Cameron Silver and Desiree Kohan as supporters, had something more sophisticated in mind: strong, sculpted peplum jackets and sexy skirts, slit high up the side, hand-washed, broiled (yes, broiled) and pigmented to sun-bleached and weathered effect.

Working with lightweight silk that took on a stiff, waxy sheen that could almost have been mistaken for leather on occasion, Obando was able to imbue the clothes with a sense of history and handcraft. The colors, shades of sand, terracotta, gray, brown, violet and blue, recalled the burnished landscape of the California desert. And though the skirts might have a limited life span beyond the runway, there were more versatile pieces (low-slung pants and lightweight coats) that suggested the designer is loosening up and really thinking about how and where his clothes are going to be worn.

Jc obando 2 For evening, out came short dresses with micro-pleating, in beautiful sunset shades of green, orange and violet, snaking around the body. The same pleating technique was used on the bodice of gowns, one in gray with a nude chiffon underlayer showing through.

Obando's dedication to handcraft is laudable (and similar to that of the Rodarte sisters, those other L.A. designers). But I wonder whether it sometimes comes at the expense of creating a well-rounded collection. What he did show was impressive, but he could have used another idea or two.

-- Booth Moore

Photos: Juan Carlos Obando's spring / summer runway

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Photo credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times