Local designers are deconstructing L.A. style--and nowhere was that more apparent than during fashion week here. In all, more than 24 designers showed their spring and summer 2001 collections. Many presented an aesthetic that refreshingly went beyond the flesh and glam of Hollywood and the surfer looks of California.
The L.A. designs were decidedly different from those on view at New York's recent shows, which offered primarily ladylike looks and 1980s chic. There were no shirtdresses and few power suits. Instead, the silhouettes were softer, longer, more romantic, almost Victorian and definitely less tough-girl chic. They were as refined but more wearable than the avant-garde deconstructionists Imitation of Christ, L.A. designers who wowed New York with their reinvention of thrift-store clothes.
Here, Michelle Mason's navy pinstripe floor-length skirts and high-neck blouses were sensual without frontal nudity. Magda Berliner offered Western and Victorian looks with modern cropped pants and asymmetrical skirts.
L.A.'s ethnic influences were seen in Estevan Ramos' "home-girl" dress, splattered with tagging and graffiti, and his Asian woman prints. Jared Gold showed design talent with the grace of a gauzy printed pink kimono.
Cornell Collins balanced drama with decoration in sophisticated evening gowns such as a bright yellow voile gown with layers of ruching. Ina Celaya deconstructed a skirt and matching top. KellieDelkeskamp's Josephine Loka women's wear had a new, streamlined feeling in bold, geometric-print separates. Blocks of leather trim accented cream twill shirts and pants in John Cherpas' menswear.