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Category: BoxEight

Los Angeles Fashion Week: Jeffrey Sebelia's Fluxus collection stands out at Directives West; BOXeight opens with a fete

DirectivesWest FLUXUS1Los Angeles Fashion Week has always piggybacked on the Los Angeles Fashion Market, when boutiques and department stores from across the country descend on Downtown L.A.'s Fashion District to place orders for next season.

Friday, Directives West, an L.A.-based trend forecasting division of New York's Doneger Group, bridged fashion week and market with a trend-based show, attended by buyers from Anthropologie, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Previously, Directives West staged runway presentations targeted toward junior apparel retailers.

For fall 2010, Directives West focused on key trends such as loopy knits, military jackets, lace and ruffles, Native American-inspired patterns and athletic-inspired cotton separates. On the runway, the latter predominated with gray jersey jumpsuits, stretch dresses, leggings and flouncy hoodies. As witnessed by the success of brands such as Juicy Couture and Vince, L.A. seems to create the casual looks that American women want to wear on weekends.

Directive West's most recognizable name was Fluxus, designed by Jeffrey Sebelia, winner of Project Runway's Season 3. Sebelia didn't disappoint the contemporary buyers, giving them top notch looks in the stated key trends -- a shirred cotton jersey jumpsuit and a romantic belted poet blouse worn with a miniskirt over print leggings. Sebelia, mustachioed with shaggy red hair, said his fall Fluxus collection was based loosely on Art Deco and French militaire, adding that he took the label "from a T-shirt brand to a full collection in only six months.”

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LA Fashion Week: Ghost town in the City of Angels?

Downtown LA Fashion Week? M.I.A. Passion Revealed? Not so much. Mode Israel? Unless it's operating  in "stealth mode" it's currently another one of the events from last season's crowded fashion calendar that seems to have quietly disappeared off the Los Angeles Fashion Week map.

Rage_SkingraftOf course, all that could change; downtown L.A.'s  "fashion cowboy" Brady Westwater is trying to rope the wind by offering to play go-between for displaced designers and the owners of the recently renovated 1914 Citizen's Bank space at 5th and Spring streets, to host a day or more of shows as part of the Downtown Fashion Walk (would that make it "Downtown Fashion Walk Week"? Stay tuned.)

We had high hopes. Earlier this year, things seemed to be ticking right along; Some of the movers and shakers involved with Downtown Los Angeles Fashion Week's cluster of events at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA for the last two seasons (which last season included an emerging designers showcase of city-grant-funded designers) seemed to be angling to transplant their event (or something akin to it) across city lines to launch a Beverly Hills Fashion Week this month.

But, in late February, Barbara Graff, one of the movers (or perhaps shakers, we're not sure which) informed us that the inaugural event had been pushed back to October. In an e-mail, Graff said that  while the event had been "received enthusiastically" by potential partners and city officials, the group needed more time "to put certain elements in place to ensure its absolute success."

Which leaves the landscape littered with a handful of one-off, single-designer shows and the following events scattered throughout the third week of March (and look at the bright side -- at least it's not a month this time around):

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There will not be, we repeat WILL NOT be a David LaChapelle exhibition at BOXeight

On Friday we received an e-mail alerting us that BOXeight's entry in the fashion week derby would be kicking off Oct. 22 with a party celebrating  Flaunt magazine''s October issue, honoring renowned photographer David LaChapelle (whose work is featured on a three-page cover and 12-page inside spread) and noting that the BOXeight gallery would feature "an exhibition of LaChapelle's 20-year history of ... work with Flaunt magazine."

On Saturday we received two e-mails retracting that e-mail. On Sunday we received two more. This morning, as we sat down at our desks my co-Ragers and I received a fifth. They read in part:

"We regret to inform you that the e-mail you received from BOXeight on October 9, 2009, provided inaccurate information about an exhibition of David LaChapelle's photographs.  There will not be an exhibition related to his photography at our gallery and/or studio.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused David LaChapelle and his studio."

I contacted New York City-based Fred Torres Collaborations, the artists' management firm that represents LaChapelle, and spoke to the namesake Fred Torres, who explained it all to me.

"It came as a complete surprise to us -- Flaunt is featuring his work on its cover and it's some of the same work that's part of a current solo exhibition at the [local] David DeSanctis Gallery," explained Torres. "It's not that we wouldn't have allowed this, we just didn't know anything about it -- or what BOXeight was -- and there wasn't any time."

So BOXeight still plans on kicking off its version of Los Angeles Fashion Week with a celebration of Flaunt magazine's October issue at a private, invitation-only event on Oct. 22, and said the October issue still showcases LaChapelle's artwork, and chances are if you're in attendance you'll see it on display in some form or another.

But it is not, and we can't stress this enough, IS NOT, in any way, an exhibition of David LaChapelle's artwork.

Why is it starting to feel like Franz Kafka Fashion Week around here?

-- Adam Tschorn

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Photo: Actress Pamela Anderson and photographer David LaChapelle arriving at the sixth annual Hollywood Style Awards at the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles on Sunday. BOXeight's fashion week festivities were to kick off with an exhibition of his work with Flaunt magazine over the last two decades, until the artist's management company put the kibosh on it. Photo credit: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

It's October, a.ka. Los Angeles Fashion Month


Welcome to October in Los Angeles, where the concept of fashion week as it exists in cities like Milan, Paris, New York and London has been folded, spindled and mutilated into a month-long series of fashion-themed installations, events – and even a Halloween party -- punctuated by the occasional old-school runway show. Charitable causes abound, Hollywood studios are the new tents (while we aren't exactly taking credit for it, we did suggest just that in last year's Fantasy Fashion Week story) and there's more partnering up than a '70s key party.

As in past seasons, most remain invite-only affairs geared toward the media and buyers, although a few are selling tickets to the fashion-loving public.

Among the events:

October 13-16 Downtown Los Angeles Fashion Week

None other than Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa himself has thrown his weight behind this hybrid event -- a mix of presentations, runway shows and mixers -- back for a sophomore season. This time

Dlafw logo

around, it will include a handful of runway shows and presentations from the likes of Louis Verdad (showing his Louver Collection), Eduardo Lucero, and Oliver Tolentino, as well as a showcase of up-and-coming Israeli designers dubbed Mode Israel.
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LAFW: BOXeight, the one-eyed king of L.A. fashion week

There has been an overwhelming amount of Goth fashion between the GenArt and BOXeight shows, but on Saturday, two designers showed “evening wear” collections that included surgical masks, “secret princes” and a disturbingly shrill scream from an audience member at the precise moment the first model took to the runway at the Jen Awad show.

Rage_awad Awad, a recent Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising grad, called her debut collection “Flamenco Rock.” This included toxic-green ruched dresses with black and gold lace insets, ill-fitting shift dresses and models wearing surgical masks over their mouths and strategically placed black electrical tape on their shirt fronts.

As the first look came out to a cover of Britney Spears' “Toxic,” an audience member let out the most twisted yelp that truly sounded like a hyena dying.  For a split second we thought it was part of the show’s rocker/emergency room aesthetic antics, but post-show the designer confirmed she had nothing to do with it. 

Awad also cleared up the confusion over which season, exactly, she was showing since the invitations went out touting a Spring/Summer collection and the March shows traditionally showcase Fall/Winter. “It’s an L.A. Fall/Winter collection," she said with a wide smile and half-hearted chuckle.

David Alexander spun a tale about a “broken” princess who is watched over by a “seRage_alexander3_2cret” prince lurking in the shadows, in his show notes. The prince and princess were his muses and they apparently like to wear a lot of stretch velvet turtleneck tops and super short dresses that make me think they might moonlight as a figure-skating duo. Alexander had a few good ideas -- an orchid-colored ball gown with Swarovski crystals on the bodice -- but his hemlines on skirts and dresses were so short, any princess or pop starlet who wears them will undoubtedly be prime paparazzi fodder every time she clambers from the back seat of her limo. 

An L.A.-based line called Future Heretics launched its first collection at the Los Angeles Theatre on Saturday evening, a hodgepodge heavy on graphic T-shirts that borrowed almost too liberally from popular culture (red lips from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Robert Indiana’s LOVE artwork) and others pieces that cribbed from Mother Nature (python print leggings and feathers on jacket shoulders).

The designers -- by our count five came out for a bow --

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LAFW: Gen Art/BOXeight Runway Video

Lafwsp09_003Say what you will about the state of L.A. Fashion Week, the crowd that turned out to the Gen Art/BOXeight kickoff brought their party clothes.

It was Goths on parade last night at Gen Art.  Both Grai and Raquel Allegra sent out a lineup of dark and drapey collections that had the girls looking like Morticia and the boys like Eddie Munster, right down to the slicked-back hair, pronounced widow’s peaks and cropped pants.

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COLA tries to add some fizz to L.A. Fashion Week

Break out the pencils, scratch pads and desk calendars; another group has sprung up tRage_cola1o fill the void during what once was Los Angeles Fashion Week.

An organization calling itself the City of Los Angeles Fashion Week (COLA) issued a news release today announcing plans for two days of invitation-only runway shows to be held Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, at an as-yet undisclosed downtown location. 

This is not to be confused with the BOXeight/Gen Art trio of runway shows scheduled for the previous Friday (March 13), the BOXeight-organized shows on Saturday and Sunday (March 14 and 15) or the Downtown LA Fashion Week event expected to unspool at the MOCA at the Geffen on Thursday, March 19 (and possibly on Wednesday, March 18, as well).

And despite its official-sounding name, it has no affiliation with the city of Los Angeles government, or the mayor's office, which has long been vocal about bringing fashion events to downtown L.A. "It influenced our name but that's it," said freelance publicist Jess Kane, one of COLA's founders. "We just wanted to represent the city in the name [we chose]."

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Gen Art/BOXeight join forces for L.A. Fashion Week

What the upcoming fashion week in Los Angeles will look like came into a little Rage_genartsharper focus today as Gen Art announced it was joining forces with BOXeight "to revitalize L.A. Fashion Week" with a trio of runway shows by local designers on March 13 at the Los Angeles Theatre at 615 S. Broadway in downtown L.A.

"In light of the economic situation, it made sense to join forces with BOXeight," Gen Art representative Shana Glick told me this afternoon. "It would have been difficult for us to have the same event we are used to having." Glick also said that the size of the venue would allow the groups to sell close to 1,000 tickets to members of the general public (from $40 to $75 and available at or by calling [323] 782-9367).

The evening's schedule is set to include a reception at 7 p.m., a seated runway show at 8 -- featuring designs by GRAI, Raquel Allegra and Society for Rational Dress -- and an after-party scheduled to kick off at 9.

That evening marks the start of BOXeight's fashion schedule, which that group's founder, Pete Gurnz, says will include two more days of runway shows featuring at least 16 extra designers. "We're discussing some other possible content on additional days," Gurnz said. "But that's not finalized."Rage_boxeight

According to its website, a separate event, dubbed Downtown LA Fashion Week has two days of yet-to-be-announced fashion events scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, and Thursday, March 19, and has reportedly secured space at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Its organizers told us this afternoon that they would be announcing full details shortly.

Gurnz told us back in December that he had no intention of making BOXeight the de facto standard-bearer of L.A. Fashion Week, so we asked him again today if he felt the same way.

"Let's put it this way," he said. "That was never our goal, but we're ready, willing and able to accept that responsibility with open arms."

Sounds like the man needs a fashion week group hug. Anyone?

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: (top) a look from Maxine Dillon's collection that showed at Gen Art's Fresh Faces in Fashion show in Los Angeles on Oct. 10, 2008. Photo by Ann Johansson/For The L.A. Times. (Bottom) a look from Yotam Solomon's BOXeight show in L.A. on Oct. 17, 2008. Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times.

L.A. Fashion Week: And then there was one

Rage_boxeight2_2This morning we received word that Reveal Los Angeles, the new hybrid runway show/fashion expo scheduled to launch March 20 during the California Market Center's fall market week, has been postponed until October. "It's due to the economic situation," said Sara Stein,the event's local PR representative, who said organizer IDG World Expo would have more information after the new year.
That news came right on the heels of Thursday night's conversation with Davis Factor, who informed us that the event he hopes will succeed Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios (recall that Smashbox and partner IMG announced they were parting ways after the last shows, which took place in Culver City from Oct. 12-16) is not likely to be a reality until later in 2009 either. "We’re trying to make something happen,” Factor told us. “But probably not in March -- it’s more likely that we’ll have an announcement in March about what we’re planning for October."
Which means that, with the exception of Gen Art (which is kind of its own animal), BOXeight, the scrappy upstart that launched just a year ago is the only game in town. (Although a website placeholder for Downtown L.A. Fashion Week boasts a March 2009 date, an organization by that name was planning an October 2008 event that never materialized, and an e-mail seeking additional information has yet to be returned.)
BOXeight's Pete Gurnz confirmed that it's all systems go. "We’re actually looking at a bigger warehouse,” he told us this morning. "It will be either four or five days and we plan on showcasing about 20 designers."
For those of you keeping score at home, that's only three short of last season's lineup at Smashbox Studios.

Photo: An Eduardo Lucero outfit on the runway at the former St. Vibiana's Cathedral for BOXeight's inaugural event in October 2007. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Anzevino and Florence show charms and challenges at BoxEight

Womens_082 Artsy L.A. brand Anzevino and Florence hit its stride a couple of years ago with its innovative, drapey jersey looks, including scarves with hoods and convertible dresses (now it's strapless, now it's sleeved). The brand's tradition of creating envelope-pushing looks continued on Saturday night — despite some missteps — when it opened the third night of BoxEight shows downtown.

The sparsely attended show (there were so many empty seats, I suspected fashion week fatigue) designers William Anzevino and Richard Florence showed smart baggy pants for men and women, tapered, cropped and rolled at the hem, a la Bananarama; great little empire-waist black dresses meant to loosely billow around the body (see photo, right); cream-hued T-shirts with marsupial-inspired front pockets; and cocoon-shaped jackets that ballooned dramatically around the models' lithe figures.

But the brand is steeped in casual wear and struggled to find its footing with more formal looks. A series of tiered, tricolored organza dresses and ruffled jersey separates (who's body is aided by ruffles around the waist?) looked fussy and handicraft-y compared with the collection's refined jackets and pants. And the fit of the dressier clothes, in some cases, was wonky (i.e. two identical organza dresses, shown in different color ways, fit the models completely differently — one was swimming in it, while the other filled it out).

The styling was as hot and cold. Models walked out barefoot, their feet wrapped in white and black tape, evoking professional dancers — a subtle, winsome detail. But the messy, bird's-nest coifs, dripping with huge live flowers, with the long stems still on, was overkill.

Despite the roller coaster ride, I plan on keeping my eyes on this out-of-the-box brand for the duration. My beloved hooded scarf demands it.

— Emili Vesilind

Photo: Anzevino and Florence


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