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Runway fete for the 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists

November 2, 2009 |  5:08 pm

Rage_ohne The 2009 Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists brought their designs to the Chateau Marmont last Friday for a runway show beneath the palm trees and billboards in the hotel’s back garden.

Sally Singer, fashion news director of Vogue, introduced the 11 women's wear, menswear, jewelry and accessory designers, who have worked in everything from banking to wardrobe styling and have trained under the likes of Helmut Lang, Karl Lagerfeld and Ralph Lauren.

Each designer showed five spring/summer 2010 looks. The afternoon's highlight was Ohne Titel, designed by Alexa Adams and Flora Gil, who met as students at Parsons School of Design. Their knit dresses, tops and leggings are really fabric art—a marvel of stark architectural lines, body-conscious banding and draping inspired by Egyptian wall paintings. (The two were also feted on Thursday night at the salon-style Zainab boutique in Hollywood, which carries their collection. )

Both Gary Graham and Alabama Chanin showed edgy prairie looks (corsets, petticoats and ticking stripes for Graham; homespun layers and fraying embroideries for Chanin), while L.A. shoe designer George Esquivel’s handmade boots and lace-up shoes looked lived in and loved.

IRage_spurn the menswear category, Simon Spurr is a rising star for slim-cut suits that are American prep with a dash of British tailoring. He said afterward that he wished his pieces had been ironed before hitting the runway, but I kind of liked their rumpled texture. (Decades' Cameron Silver wore his support on his sleeve -- literally -- turning out in one of Spurr's suits.)

The crowd was a chic one, filled with celebrities (ranging from the familiar faces, Eva Mendes, Mary-Kate Olsen and Jessica Alba, to relative newcomers including recently redheaded Lily Collins and "Glee's" Dianna Agron, who was bound for LAX and the World Series, where the cast would sing the National Anthem before Game 3).

There were plenty of designers looking on too (Juicy Couture’s Pamela Skaist Levy and Gela Nash Taylor, Russell Simmons, Jeremy Scott, J.C. Obando, Chrome Hearts’ Laurie Stark, Toms Shoes' Blake Mycoskie and Trovata's John Whitledge), along with hairstylist Frédéric Fekkai, the beauty partner for the event.

Model/designer Erin Wasson was dressed very Venice Beach boho, in blousy print pants and motorcycle boots, and carrying an ethnic handbag. (She was bound for the beach for Halloween, to go camping with her dogs and swim in her birthday suit, she said.) Commenting on her recent turn as preppy purveyor J. Crew’s catalog cover model, Wasson said she had heard more comments about that than anything else in her career. Apparently, some people in the blogosphere considered it a betrayal of her edgy image. Her response? "Hey, a model's got to work."

After the show Vogue West Coast Senior Editor Lisa Love, in a dress by Obando, a finalist from last year's competition, escorted guests to the lobby for Champagne, macarons and tea. The winner of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund prize, which includes cash and industry mentoring, will be announced in New York on Nov. 15.

-- Booth Moore

Top photo: A spring look from Ohne Titel. Credit: Donato Sardella /WireImage courtesy of Vogue.

Bottom photo: A spring look from Simon Spurr. Credit: Donato Sardella /WireImage courtesy of Vogue.

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