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SUNDAY BRUNCH | The Street

Fete of Fashion

September 06, 1998|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The vibe was expressly about fashion--fabu fashion from those in the who, what, when and wear of it all.

The scene was the recent CaliforniaMart Designer Award nominees cocktail soiree where hipsters in everything from shiny sharkskin to sophisticated satin, from pleather to leather, from head-trippy hats to retro eye-catching eyeglasses, looked their skinny mahvelous selves.

They strutted and struck poses, sashayed and vogued at the style schmoozefest held last month at CalMart's Atrium in downtown Los Angeles. And those were just the nominees, dahling: Trina Turk, Dana Dartez and Monah Li were among the 10 fashionably feted.

And what do designers don at a style shindig in their honor?

"I wear my own--and vintage stuff," says Turk in gray sharkskin cut capris and a black scallop-edged twin set, the cardigan loosely wrapped around her itty-bitty waist. Sometimes Turk splurges on an expensive piece--Gucci or Prada--and then mixes it with her own.

Vienna-born Li says she "always wears my own clothes--except jeans," which she rarely wears. The tattooed designer--in purple, pink and red hair extensions mixed with her own black locks--was striking in a hand-dyed bias cut slip dress from her Spring '99 collection. The cantaloupe-colored creation is assembled from various materials and dyed; the bottom is V-shaped in velvet and beaded.

"Clothes are about expressing yourself," she says.

Turk concurred, adding that it's about time fashion and fashion gurus like this year's nominees start touting--instead of merely toasting--the talents of their own.

"There is so much going on in L.A. as far as the whole fashion thing goes," she says, "but often, fashion-wise, we are regarded as the stepchild city."

*

For ticket information to the CaliforniaMart Designer Awards black-tie gala--and fashion show--at the Beverly Hilton on Oct. 4, call (213) 630-3638.

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