"It was night so I wore black."
That's how Los Angeles model Tonia la Mere, 19, says she chose the black leather outfit she wore to a recent models' party at the Stock Exchange.
She was not alone. Her boyfriend, Steph Yarick, wore black jeans, a black T-shirt and black leather jacket. And almost every female model at the party wore black, as they always seem to do at parties these nights in Los Angeles.
"Black is simply the best color ever invented," said Caryn Brostoff, 19, of the Smash model agency, "because it goes with everything.
"At the parties I go to, at least 80% of the women, especially the models, wear black. You stand out in the crowd if you don't wear it these days," she said.
"Black is mysterious, European and nowadays very L.A. It's a different look than you find at the beach or at Orange County clubs," said Gerard Bisignano, a model-agency executive. "It's a fashion statement all by itself. It's also a safe choice and everyone looks good in it."
John Martin, an executive director at the club, said he has noticed that the young, night-life crowd in Los Angeles has tossed color out of their closets almost completely. But not quite.
Brilliant flashes of color show up in new short jackets that top little black dresses, in hair bows, hats, shoes or evening bags that put a colorful kick in otherwise all-black outfits.
When a person plunks down big bucks for an outfit, she often chooses practical black. La Mere, for example, said she fell in love with the leather pantsuit illustrated on this page, because it's "buttery soft, it will last a long time, and it doesn't look the same as everyone else's black.
"It has a tight, lace-up, corset-style waistline and it flares out over the hips. And, of course, it's my favorite color, black."
The jacket cost about $2,000 at the Jean Claude Jitrois shop in the Rodeo Collection in Beverly Hills, she says. She bought the pants separately there. "It's a lot of money, I know. But it's worth it."