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L.A. Fashion Week: Amabelle Aguiluz and Rose La Grua reviews

October 14, 2013|By Adam Tschorn

The Los Angeles Fashion Council kicked off its second day at the Grove shopping center with a pair of runway shows by the winners of its recent Open Runway competition (for "brand-new and barely emerging designers"), Amabelle Aguiluz and Rose La Grua.

For her spring 2014 knitwear-focused collection, designer Amabelle Aguiluz drew inspiration from Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's essay on Japanese aesthetics "In Praise of Shadows" and a musical collaboration between composers Philip Glass and Foday Musa Suso called "Music from the Screens." 

"The imagery I felt from the songs led me to clash my journal inspiration photos of Traditional Festival of masks in Burkina Faso with modern Western Culture and practicality in everyday life," Aguiluz, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology's Milan program, explained in her show notes.

The resulting collection, grounded in a palette of black, white and beige, was an exquisitely delicate-looking patchwork of stitched-together knits, fringe that dropped vertically from the hips or draped horizontally across the chest (meeting in the middle, the strands, on one black dress, for a brief moment, called to mind the fragile bones of a rib cage) and details that included crocheted hems and wooden buttons.  

Aguiluz' runway collection was followed by That's Totally Fine by another up-and-coming designer, and RISD grad by the name of Rose La Grua. And if the name of the line wasn't enough of a clue as to the designer's just-gotta-be-me quirky sense of humor, the runway presentation -- which had models teetering precariously on shoes with six-inch wooden block platform heels -- certainly hammered the point home.

"The objective is, as ever, to invoke clothing's unique gravity, the magnetic pull of the perfect flea market find," the designer said in her show notes."Each piece wants to be wanted; to be thrown on and ripped off with a flourish as bold and dramatic as its wearer."

That translated into a runway collection that mixed a grab bag of plaids (most notably bold yellow and orange versions but also a few in black and white) and washed-to-pale blue denim pieces. Silver metallic touches (a bustier top here, some chunky metal hardware holding two pieces of a garment together there) gave some pieces a punk-streetwear vibe, while lots and lots of black organza (layered over plaid trunks in one instance, and pieced side-by-side with strips of plaid fabric in a voluminous skirt in another), gave other pieces a distinctively off-to-a-night-of-clubbing feel.

The verdict: The LAFC accomplished its goal of giving a couple of fledgling Los Angeles-based brands the jump-start of much-needed exposure. The designers, in turn, made the most of that opportunity and showed collections that will likely keep them on our fashion week radar for seasons to come.  


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