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1st Night of Concept Had a Live Owl, Courtney Tayloy-Taylor from the Dandy Warhols

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We're trying to emphasize the positive regarding the first of three nights of Concept, the grab-bag of a fashion show that's become the de facto anchor of LAFW. We'll start out with the things we were really into: The installation from Melanie Mills (we're not totally sure of what she makes) incorporated a majestic live owl. Those things are kick-ass.

And arguably one of the very first indie rock sex symbols, Courtney Taylor-Taylor from the Dandy Warhols, was in this house -- strolling the halls, chatting with friends, offering wry commentary on the art, fashions and spectacle of the night. He played a somewhat experimental set in which he bashed a set of drums and sang over European dance music.

We were sort of ambivalent about the installations, which included Melanie Mills, Curly-V, a film by Henry Duarte, Mo Wear, and some indefinable something from Black Banditz. In the casee of Melanie Mills and Curly-V, the presentation was very good, overshadowing the product. And Mo Wear's presentation consisted of a bunch of girls with viciously teased hair just standing around making faces. Or are we missing something?

We caught the tail-end of the Nuvula, and it seems like the clothes were designed to be worn in music videos, clubs or by circus performers. We think we saw the equivalent of a mullet leotard. NAGL.

Next up on the runway was S & G. About 75% of the looks had that post-apocalyptic nomad vibe, with frayed and tattered fabrics and gratuitous holes. In general, we're not big fans of the look. There was one nice piece, though: a men's ombre shirt in blue that looked like a more fitted version of a Baja pullover. In addition to the threadbare, burlap-looking pieces, the collection featured a few nice leather jackets with good details, like straps that buckled at the sleeves. We'd be stoked to own one.

Last up was Sachika, a line by sisters To-Tam and To-Nya. They started their show with a dance number that felt like the Sophomore Talent Contest at the local high school: dancers in mismatched chones that had foilage glued on and painted animal markings. Wait, didn't the MC say something about a collection inspired by mermaids and the ocean? Anyway, the clothing was the most credible of the night -- meaning, it had a certain level of refinement, you could imagine who might wear it, it looked like it could be readily mass produced, and it boasted a level of artistry, craft and skill. As opposed to some of the other stuff we've seen at Concept, which seemed like it had been conceived and stitched together on a whim in a couple of days. They're not exactly breaking new ground: they showed some nice resort-like pieces that reminded us of Lotta Stennson, which definitely isn't a bad thing. They showed a ton of scuba-type dresses and sepearates, with cutout, stripes, piping, colorblocking?they practically explored that theme to its death. The show was SO LONG; and they must have sent at least 25 of these looks down the runway. And finally, there were splashy evening dresses, many of which riffed upon one of the prior two themes. There might have been more, but since it was so hot, and the show kept going and going and going and going, we impetuously decided we couldn't take it any more, and left. And at that point, we'd seen probably 50 looks, and it seems like another 50 more went down the runway. No kidding, it was like the War & Peace of runway shows.

As far as pros and cons of the night?it is, without a doubt, probably the funnest event at LAFW. The attendees are usually better dressed than any of the models in the show. And it has a rip-roarin' attitude; you feel like anything could happen. But on the downside, they're still have administrative difficulties. And all of the runway shows are so long. You seriously start thinking, Dude, is this everything you have ever made in your entire life? A little goes a long way. Show your 15 or 20 best pieces, and leave the audience hungry for more?not overloaded and bewildered with what the hell they just got pummeled with.
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