Skingraft is Cassidy Haley, Johnny Cota, and Katie Kay

Photos by Tom Wallace

Boxeight’s LA Fashion Week at the gorgeous downtown Los Angeles Theater had many interesting moments, but the greatest highlight was the Skingraft Designs show March 14th. Attracting a crowd of eclectic designers, musicians, steampunk hipsters, indie press to mainstream, and a variety of avant-garde drag queens, it was a very appreciative audience–all there to witness this design trio%uFFFDs latest creations that have gained a steady reputation to inspire through a mash-up of motifs, styles, time periods, and attitude.

Skingraft is lead by Johnny Cota, Cassidy Haley, and Katie Kay. Three artists who combine their love of fashion with their love of events and creating alternative worlds. When we first came across Skingraft, thanks to an invite from Pure Consulting, it was 3 years ago in one of the most memorable runway shows and events we’d ever been to, hosted at the Pool trade show warehouse. Not only was it an amazing runway show, but they had transformed the entire warehouse into a completely alternative world. It struck us then that obviously this clothing brand had a deeper agenda. Original designers Johnny and Cassidy come from a circus, costume, and performing background and have a genius gift for creating avant-garde street styles, bringing together a combination of designs and silhouettes with leather, metal, chiffon, satin, and cotton, that create energy. Their results seem part fantasy, history, and neo-apocalyptic Wild West. Its what you would think of if you thought about a futuristic Americana, with inspiration from Victorian eras, vintage motorcycles, fitted leather corsets, holsters, riding blouses, and even military-inspired shapes. And they get the music right -which oddly was something many of the shows we attended, didn’t seem to be able to do.

So when the show started, everyone was expectant for something incredible to happen, and it did. Starting with a dance troupe performance to set to the mood and ending with them running offstage and up through the crowd, things moved straight into a showstomping, fast-paced runway show. Highlights included riding blouses and jackets, slim corseted fits and dramatic metal detailing, ponytail coats with punk zippered pockets, jodhpurs on men and women, suspender bags and bridle harnesses, slim-fitted leather vests, and a finale that included 7 couture gowns combining leather, black hoods, feathers, chiffon, and metal in a concept quite unfamiliar for couture.

Overall, the show was an inspiration for attendees, but as others concur, it’s an inspiration for LA that such designers will put the City of Angels in the spotlight when it comes to fashion on a global level.

Skingraft shoes were provided by John Fluevog and jewelry was by Angel Court. All hats were by Skingraft.