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Concept L.A. Fashion Week night 1: Promising menswear designers and fashion in a bubble

March 23, 2010 |  2:13 pm


“Stay off the glitter!” instructed ushers at the first night of Concept L.A. fashion week (of which the Los Angeles Times' Image section is one of several media sponsors) as attendees tried to make their way to their seats. The black glitter paving the middle of the catwalk (a.k.a. the tile floor in the lobby of the Spring Arts Tower downtown) set the stage for the first of three shows that took place among art installations and attention-grabbing clothing presentations.

Chelsea Rebelle designer Sarah Brannon sent out an all-black collection of sheer blouses with Peter Pan collars and basic baby-doll dresses that walked the line between punk, goth and Courtney Love circa 1994, which was somewhat alluring in the '90s but in the last decade has looked frumpy and juvenile. Random pieces of tan and gray faux fur were added  to some items to look like lapels, epaulets or a pageant sash. Judging by the way it was tacked on, the fur looked like an afterthought, and stood out from the all-black line like roadkill on the freeway median.

Thankfully, the menswear designers of the evening made up for what lacked in the women’s. Upstairs, newcomer Kyle Ing’s line Farm Tactics was neatly presented among taxidermied llamas and other barn-like accoutrement. The 26-year-old Bay Area native’s collection of pants, vests, button-down shirts and moccasins is a strong nod to American heritage labels. “I am such a fan of old style,” said Ing, who manufactures everything in downtown L.A. and sources vintage fabrics to make one-of-a-kind backpacks  and messenger-style bags that look like a cross between an army rucksack and a horse saddle.

Any fan of Woolrich Woolen Mills and the vintage Pendleton in stores like Opening Ceremony would be a fan of Farm Tactics, which retails from $37 (for a T-shirt) to $140 (for pants).

Across the hall, the DIY, hipster-rock collective Elmer Ave. staged a presentation of five outfits from its  fall/winter 2010 line worn by a model in a large clear bubble. The model rolled in the bubble, hamster-style. It certainly caught everyone’s attention, but since the bubble was slightly opaque and the lights were dim, he could have been wearing an apron and oven mitts and no one would have known the difference.

The most impressive point of the event was the B. Scott runway show. Designer Brandon Scott’s line of well-tailored wool jackets, understated waxed denim pants and double shawl collar cardigans had a hip-hop edge and street sensibility and are ultimately what every guy wants to wear, not to mention a few stylish girls in the audience who expressed a desire to don the jackets in smaller sizes. 

Whether it’s on a glittery runway or trapped in a plastic bubble, L.A. designers always seem to rely on showmanship to deliver their lines to an audience. But ultimately, it’s about the goods being well, just good, and the more simple presentations at the first night of Concept L.A. certainly proved that.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Items from Farm Tactics' fall/winter 2010 line. Credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times