LA Takes NYC: Part 2

The second installment of my roundup of LA designers showing in New York this week, starting with:

1. Jovovich-Hawk
I normally view fashion lines designed by models with extreme skepticism - after all, we all know that Kate Moss has probably not picked up a pencil and sketchbook since starting her Topshop line. But for some reason, I feel like Jovovich-Hawk has a bit more credibility, probably because it doesn't have the backing of a big brand behind it - ergo, it probably isn't a publicity stunt so much as something borne out of true passion. It looks like Carmen and Milla were doing their research for this collection at an Echo Park dive bar, which, again, would normally annoy me - but, again, it doesn't for some reason. Black and white jailhouse stripes, neon pink silk and prom dress sleeves aside, the collection really brings out the edgier side of LA that most people miss. Not to mention that they've created a few of the winter maxidresses that have been popping up on runways, another trend which I love.

2. Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent
This is one of my favorite every-day labels - I always know I'll find a piece from Twelfth Street that's a little bit different, yet totally classic and easy to wear. For Fall 08, Vincent gave her presentation a circus theme and filled her collection with the season's standout trends - feathers, bold patterns, and sparkle. A fun and whimsical interpretation of fall's emerging mood of excess.

3. Halston
I've been looking forward to this collection more than any other this year - so maybe I was setting myself up for disappointment. Because disappointed I definitely was, with this overly literal translation of the label's past. Rather than updating and modernising the label's signature pantsuits and trapeze dresses, it looked like designer Marco Zanini simply took a few pieces out of the archives, took a steamer to them and sent them out on the runway. The fabrics looked like cheap polyester, the colors were straight out of a Brady Bunch rerun, and the silhouettes seemed more frumpy than fabulous. I've always associated Halston with glamour and excess, and this dull homage to the most embarassing aspects of 70s fashion was the complete opposite. I mean, just look at this picture - an unfortunate periwinkle jumpsuit more suitable for RuPaul than Nicole Ritchie

4. Rodarte
I mentioned in a recent post that I think of Valentino as being outside the realms of fashion, and I sort of think of Rodarte in the same way. Their gowns are probably not going to spark any Forever 21 knockoffs or 'Who Wore it Better' articles in Us Weekly, but that's the best thing about them - it's more about art than fashion. This collection just reaffirmed the label's status as one of my all-time favorites, rendering me awestruck at the way they've managed to make humble fabric look like something altogether otherworldly. The one word that kept coming to my mind is 'gossamer,' a word that I don't really know the exact definition of, but which I associate with fairy tales and imaginary princesses. This transcendent, dreamlike collection was definitely the stuff of fairy tales, so fragile that it looked like it could go up any second in a puff of smoke-colored chiffon.

5. Koi Suwannagate
This show marked Koi's debut in New York, her first since winning the CFDA / Vogue fashion fund last year. She's a knitwear designer before anything else, creating art out of cashmere, and this collection didn't disappoint. Loved the voluminous capes, which looked like upside-down tulips and looked just as chic with a little black dress as with a pair of slouchy trousers.

6. Monique Lhuillier
She's best known for her bridal gowns, but this collection proved that Lhuillier is capable of so much more. It perfectly encapsulated the season's mood of unbridled decadence, with slinky gold cocktail dresses, rich fur trimmings on film noir skirtsuits, and jewel-encrusted boleros. My favorite? This gold sequined column draped in light white fabric, the collection's closest approximation of a wedding gown - but again, one that's the epitome of luxe.

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