Jennifer Lee Image by: Jennifer Lee
The season’s festivities began with a kickoff party held atop the stunning Standard Hotel in downtown LA, where designers, including the Bosnian-born Ina Soltani, walked the red carpet with their respective celebrity muses. Dressed Soltani, actress Dania Ramirez of Heroes’s fame posed for the camera in a spectacular red cocktail dress with an alluring peak-a-boo back cut and a skirt of ruffles rounding the parameter of the waist, while supermodels Kathy Ireland (now the designer of her own eponymous umbrella brand ranging from home decor to jewelry) and Josie Maran (most recently seen as a guest judge on this season’s American’s Top Model) floated amongst the crowd. A live performance by Canada’s own top ten billboard sensation Anjulie set the stage for a month of fashionable shows, parties and exhibits. ELLECanada.com rounded up the best of the best that LA Fashion Week had to offer.
The Winners Circle
Best Musical Performance - Terry Poison at Mode Israel
There is an obvious penchant amongst participating LA Fashion Week designers for live musical performances. From designer Jen Awad rocking it out on her own runway with band The Great Entity, to crooner Matt Goss kicking it Las Vegas style before models took over the catwalk for Canada’s Elizabeth Mason of The Paper Bag Princess show. Music with a healthy dose of nerve seemed to be the order of the month. But none did so with more panache than electro-dance queens Terry Poison at the Model Israel runway show. Radio sensations in Israel, the foursome looked as much like models as they did rockers in glittery pastel leotards (reminiscent of David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust days) and their hair swept up á la Marie Antoinette.
Standout designers in the collective show were Kadem Sasson, who aspires to bring a subtle touch of the avant-garde to the too long neglected plus size market with a combination of balloon pants, Victorian neck lines and dresses accented by mounds of fabric stiffly draped upon itself. Stylist-turned-designer Keren Naftali, a former apprentice of Issey Miyake known for her feminine cuts designed to be mixed and matched showed an equally impressive collection of gold and bronze pieces where sequins were the reigning queen; and Shai Shalom, a menswear designer (with a made-to-order women’s line) who’s popular private-label is crafted by hand in his Tel Aviv studio.
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Best Show - Elizabeth Mason, The Paper Bag Princess Vintage Couture Celebrates Valentino, The Last Emperor
When the prelude to a runway show involves honouring actress Maria Bello (The Cooler, History of Violence), you can be certain that Hollywood will be occupying the front row. The recipient of this year’s Los Angeles Spirit Award for Style and Substance, Bello — dressed in a snug black gown by Elizabeth Mason -- brought with her a throng of notable names including Daisy Fuentes, the original indie heartthrob Lukas Haas (catch him in next year’s blockbuster Inception alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard) and seat upon seat of LA-based television hosts.
The show itself was an ode to the great Italian designer. Cherry-lipped models were true to Valentino’s vision of glamour, looking every bit the sophisticated coquette in Mason’s floor-sweeping evening gowns. A free-flowing one-shoulder number playfully trimmed with feathers conjured visions of the silver screen’s famed femme fatales, while the glamour of Old Hollywood resounded in a curve hugging red mermaid gown and an artfully structured red jacket worn over a simple black gown.
Best in Swag - Simply Stylist
Be it fashion or film, every celebration of the arts comes with its own collection of pop up PR showrooms otherwise known as “lounges.” At LA Fashion Week, it was Caro Marketing’s (the same PR genius behind TheLookBook.com, the industry’s directory bible) Simply Stylist that wowed celebrities and professional fashion types. In an unassuming studio in West Hollywood, stylist, editors and Hollywood starlets perused through collections by international designers including Oday Shakar, Mike Vensel and Ronald Abdala. Couture sensibilities were rounded out by an eye fetching display by TOMs shoes, the “it” footwear for the socially conscious sect. More comfortable and stylish than a pair of Keds, these wooly hipster approved brand of kicks donate one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. Special to the Simply Stylist event: a pair of freshly painted canvas slip-ons by LA-based artist Tyler Ramsey.
After finished sifting through the many wonderful items of clothing on display, guests of the lounge, such as Jeanne Yang (stylist to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise), moseyed to the back of the studio where a full-fledged beauty rejuvenation laboratory had been set up, complete with a hair station stocked with Sebastian Professional products, nail bar courtesy of OPI and a luxurious spa corner where experts from Bliss Spa, offered a quick skin plumping via a relaxing oxygen facial, rendering all who left the studio red carpet ready
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Best Celebrity Spotting
As always, the red carpet at the annual Hollywood Life Style Awards was graced by a parade of celebrities dressed for the cameras. Actresses Vanessa Hudgens, Teri Hatcher and Emmy Rossum shined in flirty cocktail numbers; singer and former-Melrose Place star Ashlee Simpson-Wentz opted for the sleek and simple look, a black dress perfectly paired with the gun mental suit jacket donned by hubby Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy, while reality TV star Kim Kardashian opted for a form fitting, cropped and glittery number.
For the more laidback fashion enthusiast, the Simply Stylist party at MyHouse was a well-designed haven straight from the collective conscious of The Fear, a group of LA artists ranging from photographers, graphic designers to stylists. Celebrities in attendance included J.C Chasez, formerly of ‘N Snyc fame and now a judge on MTV’s American’s Best Dance Crew. Chasez looked street cool as he eyed the art on display, nodding his head to the beats coming from the DJ booth. The Hills’ Audrina Patridge was also seen weaving through the crowd, a fan of the Simply Stylist lounge, where she was spotted earlier