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The End is Near: Sunset Gower Studios Event Closes Out LAFW

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Right before the lights went down at the Saturday night edition of Fashion Weekend at Sunset Gower Studios, we were feeling a little uncertain about things. We had traded what we thought were good-natured jabs with a colleague about the legitimacy of the event -- our chief complaint is that it's so retail-focused, and within the overall context, it doesn't burnish what little luster LAFW has. Friday's event had a runway show for fancy sweatpants, for crying out loud. (Or so we heard from a couple reliable sources.) The colleague was all, no, it's great, it's really representative of what LA does best. We kind think we hurt his feelings, about which we felt bad. And then we started to wonder if he might possibly be right.

Then we saw Ron Jeremy sitting in the front row, which sort of voids all credibility Fashion Weekend has as a legitimate display or incubator for serious design talent. (Nothing against him, of course. For the record, the Hedgehog is a super nice guy.)

Fashion Weekend is basically a hybrid -- it's an extension of market week, in shiny flashy fashion week packaging. Saturday night was a showcase of Biatta Intimates, Nuvula, Nicole Lee handbags, Civil Society, Z Brand and Dina Bar-El. Besides the runway action, a few other brands showed up to offer previews of their wares in the open bar area.
Nuvula looks like what would happen if Custo Barcelona and Skingraft got together and made a baby?and neither parent wanted it, and the baby was put in an orphanage called Forever21. Exaggerated shoulders, hoods, cowls, some pieces augmented with?was it pleather? Vinyl? Leather? Next up was Nicole Lee Handbags. Which were also on display in the bar area. Not good. The runway show featured a few OK-enough basic handbags, but most of the bags had doo-dads like fur, fringe, weird colorblocking, and an obnoxiously large logo. They look like the kind of bags you'd find at a souvenir shop along Hollywood Blvd. Z Brand and Civil Society featured decent-enough casual looks for men -- mostly denim-based, with sporty jackets and shirts. Both lines featured handsome, wearable clothing that's pretty much identical to a lot of the handsome wearable clothes you might find at Macy's right now. Once we stopped being able to tell the difference between Civil Society and Z Brand, we figured it was a good time to leave -- though we missed out on Dina Bar-El, whose dresses are supposedly loved by celebs like Kate Hudson and Eva Longoria.

For all of our quibbling, there was actually one part of the night we really enjoyed: The discovery of Tash Folds, a new footwear line that's a fashionable step up from Roll-a-Sole and the like. The Tash Folds soles are slightly thicker, so it's not like you're walking on concrete in your bare feet, which is kinda what Roll-a-Sole feels like. Tash Folds come in a few dozen style and colors -- all of them mostly adorable. Printed oxford, ballet slippers, TOMS-esque, even penny loafers. And they'll retail for less than $40. And the placement was genius: they were located right next to another shoemaker who was displaying really cheap looking stilettos covered in spikes -- making Tash Folds like both practical AND classy.
· All LAFW coverage [Racked LA]