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Fall 2001 / LOS ANGELES FASHION WEEK

Cornell Collins

April 06, 2001|BOOTH MOORE

North Carolina-born Cornell Collins' fall show at the downtown arts space Laboratory had a certain homespun charm. There was no catering service. Instead, volunteers prepared food for models backstage out of Trader Joe's grocery bags. No fancy bathroom, either. The walls of the Lab's sickly green painted loo are decorated with urine sample cups (filled with varying shades of yellow liquid) hanging from nails. (Those crazy artists.) Collins even did his own press, calling reporters personally to nudge them to come to his show.

About 100 people--many friends and relatives--watched from the sea of folding chairs set up for the runway show, which Collins said was inspired by independent thinkers--mathematicians, painters and inventors.

A beige, blue and orange mini-skirt inspired by the paintings of Paul Klee looked wearable paired with a brown kimono-inspired jacket, and a swingy black wool gabardine dress was elegant in a 1950s sort of way.

Other pieces suggested Collins may need some more practice cutting and sewing. A black silk taffeta, funnel-necked cocktail suit with a jacket and skirt made from layered strips of fabric worked, but an evening gown with the same layered effect seemed to bunch in all the wrong places.

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