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Fall 2001 / LOS ANGELES FASHION WEEK

New Arrivals

April 06, 2001|VALLI HERMAN-COHEN

Five beginning designers, many with varied artistic pasts, ventured into fashion Friday night with runway presentations that were more like fantastically dressed performance art pieces staged in the Laboratory.

The usual conventions of the fashion show were abandoned in favor of dance numbers and interpretive pantomimes performed by models and a ragtag band of friends and supporters.

These collections weren't a showpiece for the arts of tailoring, draping and fitting. They were, however, filled with entertaining fashion concepts, most seemingly executed with a stapler and razor blade. Start with the five simple asymmetric tops created by Gladys & Jeanell, and move on to Michele Montano, whose sheer and glittery ensembles looked like disco dresses gone punk. There's the collage couture of Kimme Buzzelli for Showpony, whose frilly assemblages resembled a child's glued-together doll dresses blown up to adult sizes. Ryan Heffington so successfully brought his 21 years of experience as a dancer to the staging of his Rock'N Sissy show that one almost forgot to notice his simple graphic shirts and separates slashed neatly into stripes.

By his own admission, Miguel Diego Gomez takes ideas to a theatrical extreme, and here, to intriguing results. His clothes are a patchwork of exposed zippers, irregular seams and bits of feathers and studs that hold the promise of becoming something other than a flight of fancy--but only after some lessons in clothing construction.

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