Concept LA Fashion Week spring/summer 2012
The high temperatures on Thursday soared even higher inside the air conditioner-less Ace Gallery in mid-Wilshire, where the first night of Concept LA fashion week, a mix of fashion and art presentations, took place.
People flocked into the second floor space, many of them dressed like '90s club kids -- skin-tight body suits with Grace Jones-esque hoods, giant platform creepers and wacky sunglasses worn indoors (Gaga would be so proud)
Peppering one long hallway was a series of art and fashion installations. A line called Curly V (designed by a guy named Curly V) who previously worked for Jeremy Scott before going out on his own, featured '60s dresses with paper flower skirts done in pastel colors
Next door, Halloween seemed to come early. Makeup artists Melanie Mills and Summer Rose had women dressed in full-on feather gear for an installation called “Futuristic Ice Hunters.” There was even a live owl sitting on a branch. When I asked a guy standing in front of the installation to help me make sense of the presentation, he replied, “I dunno. I just brought the owl.”
Nuvula was the first runway show, sending out about 60 looks, some repeats or a dress in several color ways.
The line, designed by Rebeca Victoria, had a bunch of different themes and inspirations informing the often circus-like look of the collection. Kimonos, fencing vests, flapper fringe, plaid and sporty piping popped up throughout the lineup. There was no cohesion and about five too many ideas happening. The show notes stated the 1920s, 1930s, Asian luxury, Art Nouveau and the fragility of butterflies as themes for the spring 2012 line, all influenced by the 5-year-old brand's signature themes of ballet, the circus, abstract painting, the '60s, dandyism, Elizabethan times and rock and roll -- this was also stated on their show notes.
Despite the mishmash of whimsical plaid shirts caged in by body harnesses, fringe and kimonos, there were some promising pieces.
The sporty, bamboo fabric (the line is entirely green and uses natural fabrics) racer back tops and dresses with bright piping looked well made and had a true direction. Nuvula should edit all around (maybe also cut the five-minute operatic performance that opened the show--lovely but with absolutely no connection to the presentation) and focus on the colorful, sustainable and well-made sporty items.
It was Mad Max meet Michael’s arts and crafts at the S&G show. There were a lot of ombre dyed linen pieces with cuffs and hems shredded and some looks had small, random pieces of fabric around a model’s midriff or more ombre linen this time tied halter-style around the neck and back.
The post-apocalyptic approach to dressing can certainly be interesting and dramatic, but at times it was pretty literal. The high point here was the leather jackets. Particularly the men's fitted black leather styles that would be a welcome staple in most stylish men’s wardrobes. Also, a few crochet items had a nice, tactile and earthy feel to them.
The concept of Concept is cool. A gorgeous gallery (nevermind the heat) decked out with young, passionate artists, designers and revelers who love to get dressed up and attend a party. Last season’s lineup of talent was maybe just a bit more focused as well as complementary to each other. But to hone in on the fashion show aspect of the event, only one word comes to mind -– edit. There is no need to show every sample in every color and size. A designer’s message and vision are so much clearer when an audience (much less a buyer) doesn’t have to visually weed out the random bits.
Top: Nuvula fashion show at Concept LA Fashion Week Gen Art held at the Ace Gallery, 5514 Wilshire Blvd., on Thursday. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times)
Middle: S&G fashion show at Concept LA Fashion Week Gen Art held at the Ace Gallery on Thursday. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times)
Middle left: Plaid with harnesses from Nuvula/ (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times)
Bottom: A leather jacket from S&G/(Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times)