Tatiana Shabelnik presented her fall and winter 2014 collection on Monday, the second day of Style Fashion Week's five-day run at L.A. Live's Event Deck.
Inspiration: In her show notes, the Minsk-born, Whittier-based fledgling designer cited the works of Kandinsky and Chagall as inspiration for her "Contrast" collection.
The look: The designer needn't have professed her penchant for orange in the show notes, the color was well-represented throughout the collection (and, as orange usually does, it worked best here as an accent color).
There was also plenty of the aforementioned contrast too -- some in terms of juxtaposing light- and dark-colored fabrics in colorblocked pieces including a range of black dresses, some short with white leather side panels and others that were longer and festooned with red leather appliques.
But the overriding contrast was in terms of texture, with leather pieces large and small stitched onto, into and next to woven fabrics. Cropped jackets and shrugs as shaggy as bathmats were paired with leather skirts and pants and pleated skirts were accented with horizontal metal zippers.
The felted flowers that appeared on some pieces, made by Belarusian artists, was a nod to the designer's roots and provided a touch of '70s-era flower power to some of the pieces with a bit more of a hippy vibe.
Key pieces: As with most of the Los Angeles Fashion Week shows we've been to the last several seasons, the collection could have used a serious edit (though the show-it-all impulse is understandable, especially for up-and-coming labels) and Shabelnik's design skills would have been showcased perfectly well by the handful of Japanese-inspired obi dresses, large, flowing robe-like silks and chiffons printed with swirling abstract watercolor patterns and flower or tree designs. belted with belts of leather or silk in varing widths.
The scene: The runway show was bookended by a pair of dance numbers -- recently crowned Cha Cha world champions Maria Zhukovskaya and Cristina Oviedo to kick things off, and Angie Gega and Maksim Leonov to close things out -- that added a much-needed dash of energy to a slate of group runway shows that didn't get underway until at least an hour past their scheduled start time.
The verdict: For such a recent addition to the local fashion fold (Shabelnik's full-time gig is at Claremont McKenna College, where she works as the Web interactive services manager, and she launched her first collection in June 2013) we found her to have mounted a surprisingly memorable, entertaining and professionally executed runway show. With her second course now officially served, we're interested to see what else she's bringing to the table.