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Mar 18, 2011

CONCEPT Fashion Week - Fall 2011, Sunday March 13th

On Sunday I was back for the final day of CONCEPT. Sadly, it seemed like some of the attendees got a little out of hand as there were now security guards watching over the art displays by The Date Farmers (Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez). The duo’s artwork is inspired by graffiti, gang culture, and their Latin heritage. The bar, which offered Pinnacle’s Cotton Candy Vodka and Three Olives’ Cherry Vodka along with an assortment of vitamin water and energy drinks, had dwindled down to an unknown brand of vodka, some wine, and 5-hour energy shots. Being that a few hundred people attended the event each night I have to give them credit for still offering beverages on day four.

The installations for the night were presented by ISM Mode, KittinHawk, and Skin.Graft. ISM Mode had a very artistic set up. The models, wearing the fall collection, posed in front of various props and backdrops. The collection, which was inspired by vintage pieces from the 20’s to the 50’s had a romantic feel to it. The company was founded by designer Inka Sherman in Berlin, Germany, before relocating to Los Angeles. Inka and her boyfriend/partner Justin Myrick strongly believe in giving back to the community, so they donate a percentage of ISM’s profits to a local non-profit that provides after school programs for children.

KittinHawk’s presentation, dubbed "A Season in Hell," was more cinematic. Models, adorned with outlandish make-up and headpieces, posed in a web of black string while a video projected on the wall behind them. Designer Allysun Maria Dutra started KittinHawk in 2007. The line was spawned from her obsession with textiles and love affair with recycling. Her one-of-a-kind pieces, dubbed recycled couture, are very avant-garde with a Japanese edge.

Tattoo artist Johnny Vampotna of Black Banditz was also on site – representing both art and culture. For $20 attendees could pick one of several designs as a permanent reminder of the evening. Black Banditz is located at 7276 Melrose Ave. Hollywood, CA. In case you feel the need to grace your body with one of his creations.

The first show of the evening was presented by The Battalion. Before it started I noticed Brett Westfall (designer for Unholy Matrimony) sitting in front of me along with his lovely wife and adorable daughter. Brett was there to support his friend, designer Linda Wong. Linda runs The Battalion along with her sister/stylist Chrys Wong. The runway show began with a model in skinny white pants and a tailored jacket slowly walking down the catwalk while carrying a fencing sword. The sophisticated eco-friendly collection featured jackets with high collars and powerful shoulders. I really liked the two-toned faux fur jacket and vest. There was also a cute, black baby-doll dress and a lace mini with winged sleeves. Another highlight was the large chain mail necklace that was paired with a floor length gown. The finale piece was a dramatic black gown with a sexy low back that would be great for the red carpet.

Apparently B:Scott was the show to see. The photo pit took up half the room and fans were lined out the door. Is it because menswear presentations are sparse or because designer Brandon Scott has so many fans? Perhaps, it was a little of both. While studying fashion in San Francisco, Brandon won an award for “Most Marketable Designer”. After a successful stint with Nice Collective and B.Son, Brandon launched B.Scott in 2009. His debut collection earned rave reviews and praise for his unique vision and ability to breathe new life into West Coast fashion. The theme of the Fall 2011 collection was “Every Man For Himself;” thus, the model’s faces were hidden behind a black cloth, so they would all be on a level playing field. The collection reflected a hip-hop edge and street sensibility. Brandon’s distinctive outerwear pieces were paired with oversized leather duffle bags that would be great for travel or the gym. He also introduced a hybrid type short, which tapered at the knees. Hoodies featured leather sleeves and there were also a few fleece cardigans and oversized tops. When the show was over Brandon was greeted by loud cheers.

Of course CONCEPT saved the best for last – an installation by SkinGraft. All the presentations started at 5 P.M.; however, Skin.Graft chose to start theirs at 8 p.m. It makes perfect sense since their clothing is favored by the children of the night. My favorite part of Fashion Week is seeing the presentations by Skin.Graft. They never disappoint and are always a work of art. The Fall/Winter collection, which was inspired by the passing of designer Johnny Cota’s grandmother, explored the elegance of death and the circle of life. Models wore elaborate black and white feathered headpieces made from human hair that reflected the fragility of life and were inspired by Isabella Blow. Johnny chose to show only a few pieces from the collection, which included a form fitted leather mini, a tailored women’s jacket with feather-like shoulder pads made from a mix of goat and human hair, a men’s snakeskin jacket, and a few double-breasted jackets, which were a new look for the line. I was happy to see that the lovely Algo was amongst the models chosen to represent the collection. She’s a favorite of Cota’s and it’s easy to see why – she looked regal and elegant standing on the riser in her stunning outfit. Thankfully, Skin.Graft held a media preview at 7:45 because by 8:05 the room was packed with adoring fans, one of which was Adam Lambert who also frequents their store in Downtown L.A.

Narrative and photos by Nikki Neil

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