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Fashion Week: SKINGRAFT and Louis Verdad

By Cat Brosius
Published: Wednesday, October 14, 2009, at 12:50PM
SKINGRAFT Eric Richardson [Flickr]

SKINGRAFT Spring 2010 Runway Show; Downtown Los Angeles Fashion Week; Tuesday, October 13, 2009.

The L.A. Fashion week festivities at MOCA on Tuesday night found their wings — both literal and metaphoric — with the edgy Downtown imagination of SKINGRAFT and the sleek whimsy of veteran Louis Verdad. Their presentations, which closed an evening that began with a showcase of work by emerging designers, were intricate, accomplished and, at moments, playful.

The SKINGRAFT show began with a fluid and somewhat eerie performance of four barefoot dancers gliding down the runway clad in leggings, T-shirts, leather harnesses and aviator caps. The choreography of the teeming human forms interpreted flight and falling, appropriately setting the stage for designers Jonny Costa and Katie Kay’s modern urban collection inspired by birds and aviation.

Fitted leather jackets, vests and harnesses were the focal points of the runway looks as the designers showcased their remarkable craftsmanship in leatherworking. Intricate seams, cutouts, and carefully placed studs provided a hard-edged, yet distinctly artistic sense of style for the collection. The designers’ passion and their value of high-quality work were evident in each item of clothing. An all-white, tightly fitted bodysuit of various textures of leather received thunderous applause from the audience. The real showstopper, though, was the final garment — a black gown with a train of large ruffles and a detailed studded leather corset top, the model’s face nearly obscured by a headdress of bird wings.

Louis Verdad’s collection, Louver, was the final show of the night. Slideshow photos of influential African American women were projected on the walls on either side of the runway to proclaim the designer’s inspiration for his collection.

The looks married young and mature styles, with whimsical details and a sleek design aesthetic. Playful qualities were expressed through ruffles, puffy sleeves, lace, sailor buttons and hints of sparkle in the form of sequins and metallic accessories. Rosettes, a design motif for spring, also made an appearance. Verdad pressed the classic color scheme of white, navy and gold into service, sending a message of sophistication and high class through his impeccably tailored pantsuits and dresses. The message—pride!--embodied by the African American models was clear, but not ostentatious. The charm was in the details.

The shows were part of the Downtown Los Angeles Fashion Week, which runs through Thursday at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.


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