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Concept LA Fashion Week, fall/winter 2012: Nuvula, Gypsy Junkies

March 13, 2012 |  6:11 pm

Nuvula collage
On March 9, with the kickoff charity runway shows and cocktail parties out of the way, the serious business of Los Angeles Fashion Week got underway, with Concept LA Fashion Week at the Ace Gallery leading the charge.

But by the end of the first runway show we found ourselves trying to will a couple of those cocktails into our immediate future. That's because Nuvula's catwalk presentation started at 5:47 p.m. and the models didn't take their final turn on the runway until a full 35 minutes later at 6:22 p.m. (To put this in perspective, even the most elaborate, over-the-top international luxury brands rarely stage shows that exceed the seven-minute mark.)

I bring this up because it illustrates one of the ongoing problems with making a unified,

cohesive Los Angeles Fashion Week calendar attractive to a wider audience of buyers and media (which would, in turn, make it a more worthwhile endeavor for local brands): It's simply not a good use of anyone's time to stage a 35-minute runway show. (By extension, this also applies to larger scheduling Bryan Hearns Installationissues like holding just three runway shows a night, spaced several hours apart, over the course of two nights.)

The actual Nuvula fall 2012 women's collection, which we presumably saw in its entirety, was titled "In the Airs of the Belle Epoque," and described in the show notes as a "tribute in colors and textures to Gustav Klimt and Toulouse Lautrec," and armed with that foreknowledge it's easy to see the riffs on the Belle Epoque silhouettes and necklines and hints of Bauhaus-influenced pattern.

But without that context, it comes off more like Alice-in-Wonderland-a-la-Tim-Burton meets Cirque-du-Soleil-Sunday-best, heavy on the bold stripes and heavier on the harlequin diamond checks, with the latter motif applied liberally to leggings, body-hugging skirts, paperbag waistline trousers and dresses. Some of these pieces had additional diamond-shaped leather appliques at the knees or chest.

Along the way the mad tea party served up a grab-bag of flapper fringe, tops with floral tuxedo bibs, cutaway jackets, mixed fabrication faux leather and jersey babydoll tops and dresses, lace-edged turquoise bustiers, and several dangerous looking leather-like pieces slung across the hips of models that looked like boned corsets cropped to fit like weightlifting belts. (The show notes took great pains to emphasize that all the leather is artificial and no animal products are used at any point in the garment-making process.) 

Although not an ideal venue for a fashion show, Ace Gallery's second-floor space on Wilshire Boulevard is perfect for an installation-style presentation, and one designer that stood out for making the most of the designer cubbyhole was Paul Redmond with a closet-sized room holding a troika of models in assorted red and black pieces, one in a standout vibrant tribal pattern that was cleverly displayed on an iPad screen embedded in the back of a fellow model's jacket. 

Another was Bryan Hearns, who displayed a scant few fall and winter 2012 pieces. There were just two models -- one wore a long black lace, fringe and tulle dress, the other a short white silk dress with what appeared to be feather trim. Both stood atop concrete blocks, framed by wooden two by fours and wearing chunky shoes that looked like they'd been carved out of concrete with fierce geometric toe points. A handful of other pieces were hung from or draped over other wooden cases. The juxtaposition of the fragile fabrics and the models against the construction rubble made a lasting impression -- and a perfect antidote to the chaos that came before.

-- Adam Tschorn

Gypsy JunkiesSaturday afternoon's show, Gypsy Junkies, looked exactly what it sounds like, vintage-inspired basics with a '70s rocker influence. There was plenty of swingy tops and second-skin leggings done in a burn-out velvet, corduroy pants and jumpers that came in autumnal colors and baggy floral blouses that dipped noticeably longer in the back. An occasional black T-shirt studded with a silver cross and paired with a miniskirt was thrown in for edge.

Altogether it felt like a photo shoot for Sassy magazine circa 1992, which was very cool then, but not so much now. Not after teens and bloggers alike have been ironically rocking the look for the past couple of years. 

Designer Marcus Paglialonga got his rust, mustard and dark floral color palette right for fall and the grungy aesthetic isn't dead (heck, Anna Sui has managed to turn it into an entire rock-vintage inspired empire). But Gypsy Junkies is going to need to put a fresh spin on a look that other designers, as well as girls who get dressed up for street style blogs, all seem to do so well.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


 Concept LA Fashion Week spring/summer 2012

Los Angeles Fashion Week is set to kick off Thursday

 Yotam Solomon, Moods of Norway, VBN headline  'Attire to Inspire'

Photos, from top: Looks from the Nuvula fall 2012 collection, which showed at Ace Gallery Los Angeles on March 9 as part of Los Angeles Fashion Week.  

A look from the Bryan Hearns installation at Ace Gallery. Credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times.

A look from the Gypsy Junkies runway collection on March 10. Credit: Gypsy Junkies.