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Oct 24, 2010

Ashton Michael, Skin.Graft, Anthony Franco – Spring 2011 Collections

One of my favorite shows to attend during fashion week is Skin.Graft, so needless to say I was thrilled when I received the invitation. Before the show started we befriended a very fashionably dressed lady named Mary. Turns out she was the mother of one of the skin.Graft models, Algo Brehene. When Mary attends one of Algo’s shows she always likes to pay tribute to her daughter. This time she put a rip in her pattern stockings because Algo likes to wear shredded tights.

Once inside we enjoyed complimentary cocktails courtesy of Hypnotic and snacked on blue candy from the candy bar. The historic L.A. Stock Exchange was packed with eager fans waiting to see their favorite designer’s latest creations. The runway was divided into three sections. The models walked down each row, which provided more front row seating. Kat Von D had a perfect seat.

Ashton Michael started the evening off with the “Black Label” capsule collection. Ashton Hirota, an East L.A. native, designed and hand-made the eco-friendly goth/punk inspired line in 4 weeks, which featured low-slung suspenders and chain-mail shoulder accents. Made from recycled water bottles, bamboo, cotton, and coconut the black and white color palate of separates showcased bondage silhouettes, androgynous pieces, and military styles. The asexual collection was comprised of dramatic and provocative closet staples that transcend seasons.

SkinGraft opened their presentation with a video featuring Algo. A few seconds later people were yelling her name as she appeared on the runway. Algo walks the catwalk like a pro. It’s easy to see why she’s quickly becoming a designer and fan favorite. Skin.Graft has a cult following that appreciates the label’s meshing of raw underground fashion with sleek, high-end couture. For the SS 2011 collection designer Jonny Cota took his inspiration from African tribal body modification and the ghosts of ancestors. Lots of black, grey, and white graced the runway. Soft draping created billowing shapes, and leather bodices were paired with flowy silk skirts to create a ghost like effect. The models wore turbans and the label’s signature structured leather garments and accessories were paired with cowl-necks, mesh fabrics, disheveled knits, and draped harem pants. Algo emerged again wearing the collections finale – a jaw-dropping interpretation of a wedding dress. Skin.Graft’s closing pieces are works of art. I’d love to own one. The label defies current trends and their clothing is geared toward the individual that wants to make a statement.

The night ended with a presentation by Anthony Franco. Anthony took a three-year hiatus to focus on his styling career (Andre 3000, Brad Pitt, and Eva Longoria are some of his clients) but found he could not stay away from design. His Spring 2011 ready to wear collection was inspired by 1030’s Boardwalk style. Anthony brought color to the show as models descended down the staircase in bright turquoise, subtle pinks, and feminine florals. Many of the tailored looks were fashioned from cotton and hand beaded lace. (Anthony has a blog in conjunction with Cotton Inc called “Behind the Line.) The womenswear reflected a demure vintage aesthetic. I really liked the cotton tire track print suit and the silk tattoo print ruffled dress. Knickers, seersucker, and nicely tailored suits were the focus of the menswear line. The show finished with a groom in a light colored suit and a bride in a silk wedding gown with embroidered flower hand beading.

Narrative by Nikki Neil, Photos by J

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