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Is Concept the Defining Show of LAFW?

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After emerging a few short seasons ago, MacGyvered out of a shoestring budget and a wildly disparate assortment of designers, it seems Concept might have the biggest impact on what future LAFWs look like. We were thinking this while swigging some organic tequila fruit cocktail and peeping a very dynamic assortment of fashion scenesters at the Concept kickoff event last night. This season, Concept left its downtown base and set up shop at the Ace Gallery on Wilshire, a huge, art deco affair with about a zillion little rooms and niches that will hold fashion presentations and installations.

Since the implosion of the whole Mercedes Benz/Smashbox Fashion Week, LAFW has been in an existential freefall -- which is to say, regarded with either curiosity ("What the hell is it trying to be?") or flat-out scorn and derision. Concept seems to be saying, "Anna Wintour may not be gracing our show anytime soon, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate LA design and throw a good party." At least, that was the vibe at last night's event.

It felt like a more glamorous version of a gallery party at the monthly DTLA artwalk. The kickoff event didn't have any formal shows, but two presentations: the bands The Meek and Black Ryder styled by Henry Duarte, and a sort of on-the-fly presentation of ROARK Collective in collaboration with photographer Ian Morrison. A few hundred people turned out for the occasion -- all dressed like they were walking their own personal runways shows, which blurred the line between what was presentation and what was life happening around it. The gallery and its indie/intellectual/outsidery art exhibit provided a very surreal background.

Concept kicks into gear, for real, tonight, showcasing local lines Chemline and LAVUK and then finishing big on Sunday, with runway shows from The Battalion, B:Scott and Fremont, and a Skingraft presentation. Look for coverage here, next week.
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Ace Gallery

5514 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 935-3388 Visit Website