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Los Angeles Fashion Week: Stop Staring kicks off thin slate of Style Fashion Week shows

March 17, 2011 | 11:54 am

Style Fashion Week Los Angeles held its inaugural runway event at the former St. Vibiana's cathedral in dowwntown Los Angeles on Tuesday -- the first of four thinly scheduled nights for the newest group to enter the Los Angeles Fashion Week derby.

The evening consisted of just a single runway show -- by Paramount-based, vintage-inspired Stop Staring -- since a scheduled "opening ceremony" at which Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was rumored to be speaking didn't materialize.

Rage_stop_staring2 City Hall's liaison to the fashion community, Cynthia Ruiz, told us hizzoner was instead attending a town hall meeting in Canoga Park "but might stop by later." (He did not.) Instead, Ruiz, who professed to being a fan of the label -- which she also noted had been named "Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year" in 2005 by Villaraigosa -- got things rolling by introducing the catwalk collection by saying: "Vintage fashion never goes out of style."

Unfortunately, given the plodding pace of the 21-minute-long show that followed, there was a good chance for just that to happen. (This is no reflection on the clothes -- no runway show should go on that long.)

As for the clothes themselves, designer Alicia Estrada didn't stray from the line's signature retro, rockabilly aesthetic -- body-hugging dresses, playsuits and pantsuits peppered with polka dots, leopard prints and a bouquet of floral patterns (one of which had the unfortunate resemblance to a Holiday Inn bedspread).

Though it would be easy to dismiss the collection as altogether too costumey, we've been around Southern California long enough to notice there's a huge community of tiki freaks, retro car aficionados, Bettie Page dopplegangers and rockabilly enthusiasts for whom the Jessica Rabbit sheath dresses and leopard-print pantsuits are every-night (if not everyday) wear.

And, we'll admit it, there were some pieces we just plain liked -- no matter the decade -- including the pink confection of a dress festooned with rhinestones (pictured at top, center), and a form-fitting black-and-white horizontal striped dress that made us long for the ladies -- and the looks -- of "Mad Men" Season 1.

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photo gallery: Click to see more photos of the Stop Staring show.

Photos: Looks from the fall-winter 2011 Stop Staring runway collection shown during Style Fashion Week Los Angeles on Tuesday at the former St. Vibiana cathedral in Los Angeles. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

 More All the Rage L.A. Fashion Week coverage