Photos by Tom Wallace
GenArt’s Fresh Faces Fashion Show has become the quintessential must-see show for scoping the best emerging designers on the West Coast and providing a glimpse of what may become the next trends in fashion overall. The track record for showcasing tomorrow’s designers include Jeffrey Sebelia, Louis Verdad (who dressed Madonna, Cate Blanchett and others following his debut at the show), Zac Posen, Shoshanna, Rebecca Taylor, Michelle Mason, Hollywould, Jared Gold, Chaiken, Milly, Twinkle, Sari Gueron and Eduardo Lucero. As the unofficial “official” kick-off to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in LA at Smashbox Studios, and a precursor to BOXeight’s fashion shows, GenArt’s Fresh Faces show brings out industry leaders and designers who are interested in learning about what’s new and leading-edge.
Returning again to the Petersen Automotive Museum on October 10th, this year’s show, hosted by Mandy Moore, featured Nanushka, Quail, Wayne Hadly, Peonie, Wayf, KZO, Laeken, Maxine Dillon, and accessory brands by Azature, Jerome C. Rousseau, Laura Kranitz, and Posso. Music was spun by DJ Jasepi, who has also become one of the must-have DJ’s in the fashion party scene on the West Coast.
This menswear collection had hints of a recontextualized grunge but with tailored plaids, high boots, and button-down shirts that could be worn for work or going out. However, as designer Joel K describes his collection, there is something about the global connectivity of today’s youth culture lifestyles in his work with aspects that borrow from other cultures and music, perhaps based on design influences from his Japanese counterparts based in Tokyo and Osaka. Fresh jacket hoodie and vests were also interesting parts of this collection.
Sexy silhouettes inspired by Australian sportswear and Tokyo streetstyles provided the inspiration behind designer Mallyce Miller’s inventive collection. Clearly travel was a big inspiration with saccharine colors, bright plaids, grey palettes infused with bright colors, tie-dyes, and a sporty urban sensibility in short dresses and skirts, capris and a cute blue sailor dress with white piping.
Modern women’s suits with shorts and oversized jackets with short skirts that somehow also have a masculine edge to them, were a part of Maxine’s collection. However what really grabbed the crowd’s attention where the pieces made from custom silk prints that Maxine designs herself each season. Interestingly, Maxine, who graduated from FIDM and was a design assistant to Alicia Lawhon and Society for Rational Dress, made a name in her own with her collections being picked up immediately by AERO & Co., the LA boutique known for introducing fresh talent. For Spring ’09, you can also find her pieces at Revolveclothing.com.
Playful, soft sack dresses gathered at the waist were among the signature pieces of Nanushka, designed by Hungarian designer Sandra Sandor. Comfort and function were a part of the soft, light dresses, intended for today’s active lifestyle. Color palettes in orange, white, brown, black, and greys rounded-out the collection.
Swimwear designer Peonie brought back the bikini reminiscent of beautiful Brazilian women on the beaches with designs such as Bandai tops, big O ring gathers, and lowcut bottoms. This Brazilian influence can be explained by the fact that designer Lila Caren spent most of her life at the beaches of Florianopolis, a southern Brazilian island with some of the most breathtaking coastal landscape in the world. A favorite was the last bikini in feather peacock colors and patterns.
Designer Michelle Williams was a favorite at GenArt with pieces borrowing from a broad range of inspiration such as grunge and pin-up girls from the ’40’s and ’50’s which is becoming more in vogue each day. Quail, which means woman or girl and was a hipster slang word from the ’60’s, is actually an underground empire in LA. People love her work, which has a broad range, from bubble bottom shorts, to high-waisted pin-up girl shorts and skirts, one-pieces with shoulder ruffles, and oversized shoulders in skirts that are quite fun, colorful, and look great with thigh-high leggings.
Well-tailored menswear with an edge (i.e. striped shirts, neon lowcut T-shirts, asymmetrical ties) was brought to life with Wayne Joffe’s Wayne Hadly at GenArt. Joffe, who’s known for amazing attention to detail and sharp silhouettes, hand-finishes each piece in his collection which brings back the era of a finely tailored garment. Influences come from travel, music, and nature, and at only 26, with no formal training, this is one designer whose instincts lead the way to excellence.
From shorts to long flowing trousers, skirts, and short dresses, Wayf has a broad range of options that are fashion-forward and active. Picked up by the LA boutique Satine while designer Meredith Fisher was still in high school, Wayf became a must-have label for fashion insiders such as Rachel Zoe, the Olsens, and the Traina sisters.