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Darkness rules at the second night of Concept fashion shows

March 24, 2010 | 11:39 am

Battalion2 A gothic-cum-pagan sensibility reigned at Tuesday night's Concept fashion event (of which the Los Angeles Times' Image section is one of several media sponsors) at downtown's Spring Arts Tower.

There were Wiccan-style floor-skimming dresses and jackets, worn by models with deathly white faces at the MartinMartin show; faux leather black minidresses and long hooded capes at Jen Awad; and two real severed pigs heads, part of a macabre-themed fashion installation (thanks for the memories, Skin Graft). 

But peppering the sinister style were some decidedly cheery moments.

Jen Awad, who launched her namesake collection at the BoxEight shows a year ago, mixed moody, "Matrix"-style futurism with 1940s Vargas Girl looks -- which translated into faux leather dresses, coats and boleros dripping with fringe made from strands of faux pearls.

The young designer went even more literal with her '40s references with a series of fit-and-flare dresses with deep sweetheart necklines done up in eye-popping jewel tones (styled with that big, curled '40s bang and fingerless leather-ette gloves). The overall effect was slightly jarring -- should those two genres should ever collide? -- but we commend Awad for giving it a go, and pulling out some memorable looks. 

Veteran L.A. brand MartinMartin followed down the same goth-inspired path they've been on for a few seasons -- and if the designers had forced themselves to edit down the massive collection to around half its current size (the show went on for ages), they would have ended up with a tight array of dramatic, post-Apocalyptic-vibed pieces.

MartinMartin1 Models (male and female) strolled the catwalk in black- and eggplant-hued maxi-dresses, rigged with all manner of thin cords that (when tied) created interesting architectural elements. There were tons of chopped-off-looking cropped pants for guys, paired with statement-making jackets (though I don't know one dude who would wear a huge funnel collar or a bright purple shroud), and long taffeta skirts (for men and women) bunched up in places, a la Comme des Garcon.

Standout looks included a waxed and whiskered denim jacket-and-jeans ensemble tailored to perfect with cropped legs and a fitted jacket, and an avalanche of dark-and-long tank dresses -- perfectly paired with combat boots. 

L.A. brand the Battalion ended the night's shows with a collection of wearable -- if somewhat bland -- separates. Faux fur calico-colored jackets and vests were paired with all manner of jersey tops and five-pocket-styled skinny jersey pants (which were also shown in a material that resembled shaved fur -- though it was clearly veggie in nature).

-- Emili Vesilind


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

More coverage of Los Angeles Fashion Week

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Top photo: A look from the Battalion. Credit: Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: A maxi-dress from MartinMartin. Credit: Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times