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Emerging Designers Show Divergent Flavors

By Cat Brosius
Published: Wednesday, October 14, 2009, at 12:11PM

The future of L.A. fashion was on display Tuesday night with a touch of mystique, a bit of tasteful pastel sophistication and a wallop of imaginative construction.

Those divergent flavors took the stage at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, kicking off Downtown Los Angeles Fashion Week with a runway show featuring the work of four emerging designers, winners of the first Fashion Angel Awards from the L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs.

Showcasing their Spring 2010 collections were Phong Hong, Fernanda Carniero and the design team of Krysta Henry and Jacquetta O’Dell, who were selected by a panel of designers that included Randolph Duke, Louis Verdad, Nony Tochterman of Petro Zilla, Nick Verreos, Vanessa Gonzalez and Project Runway Season 3 winner Jeffrey Sebelia.

Each of the 10-look collections displayed a fresh outlook on design representative of the L.A. fashion scene.

Hong, who has a background in graphic design and a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in L.A., headed the evening’s lineup with short, feminine dresses dubbed “Femme Noir.” True to their name, the looks had an edgy twist evident in the contrasting color palette of cream and black with hints of lavender. Silk rosettes gave way to black, corset-waisted dresses with a harder edge. Doll-like silhouettes and sweet details combined with hard lines and style seams on sheer fabrics, leaving an impression that was both delicate and endearing--with a bit of mystery.

Carneiro’s reserved, simple spring dresses were in keeping with her goal of marketing sophisticated, stylish clothing to the average woman. The color palette was a subdued mix of soft spring pastels, with floral accents and khaki. Carneiro, another FIDM grad, who comes to L.A. by way of Brazil and Miami, appeared to be playing it safe. But the impeccable tailoring and tasteful design choices gave a clean and satisfying impression to her line.

Standouts Henry and O’Dell, who teamed up in Oklahoma in 2003 and design under the name of Krys-N-Jack, finished the show with their innovative, off-the-wall designs. The designers made a seemingly crazy fantasy a reality on the runway when they transformed ordinary household materials into women’s garments. Their conceptual pieces were cleverly constructed from materials one would typically find on the outside of a house: wood, sheet metal, shingles, hinges, house numbers, and even keys. Belts and strips of leather were used as fringe and design details in these wacky, well-crafted artworks. The models strutted down the runway in “clothes” of metal and wood that seemed to be molded and nailed to their bodies, providing a never-ending game of “I SPY” for the intrigued spectators. The future? This pair seems to have it nailed.


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