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Concept Fashion Show's Rough-Around-The-Edges Charm

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Despite the fact it was audiciously MacGyvered together on a shoe-string budget, the two-day Concept show in Downtown LA came close to delivering all the goods on our LAFW wish list. The event featured runway shows from both up-and-coming designers and established labels; interesting runway alternatives; and a hefty dose of the theatrical.

Jen Awad, martinMARTIN, and The Battalion closed out the event on Wednesday. Another item on our wish list is diversity, and boy did they deliver in spades. Jen Awad's glammy collection featured lots of lush color, dramatic detailing (pearls accentuating almost everything, many pieces with rosette work, bombshell necklines and slits up to there), and interesting styling choices. A couple of the dresses were so over-the-top with sexy details that they could have been custom-created for Jessica Rabbit.

Next came martinMARTIN, with an art-school cum goth collection that looked like what you'd get if Commes des Garcons and Hot Topic made a baby: clothes with pulls, drawstrings, levers and bondage-strap looking things; big zippers, dramatic funnel-cowls; and inexplicably placed slashes. The models were styled like zombies and we kept waiting for someone to start pumping a fog machine. Is it obvious that this was our least favorite collection? It went on for a long, long time. martinMARTIN weren't done any favors by the fact that there was a super-dramatic SkinGraft installation upstairs

The Battalion finished up the runway presentations. The veggie/eco-friendly line offered a few items we thought were great: moto-style leggings with interesting seams and nice pockets, maxi-dresses with artfully cris-crossed straps, t-shirts with feminine drapes and edgy asymmetric gathering. But then there were a lot of big-collared jackets that were adorned with faux fur that we kind of hated. Did not like the fur at all. It might be an interesting look as a lining, but for some reason, it looked like pizza to us.

The individual collections notwithstanding, this was our favorite show over the last ten days. There were a few hiccups (running a bit late; attendees had to re-check in at the desk for seats between shows), but otherwise, an event that we'll expect big things from in the fall.
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