Los Angeles Fashion Week: One Medusa too many at Sue Wong

Sue Wong kicked off Art Hearts Fashion's slate of Los Angeles Fashion Week shows Monday night at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood as only she could -- by sending an exquisitely detailed collection of embroidered and embellished gowns down the runway, many topped with towering headpieces and paired with crystal-encrusted accessories.

In the notes accompanying her fall 2015 "Mythos & Goddesses" collection, Wong said she was paying homage to her patron goddesses -- Aphrodite, Artemis and Athena. And there was certainly no shortage of draped, regal-looking pieces that would look right at home in the halls of Mount Olympus: long beaded gowns with trains trailing out behind, strapless peplum gowns, drop-waist gowns with pleated lace skirts and Grecian halter gowns with beaded neckbands.

There was no shortage of statement headgear to accompany (some by Wong, others by Kicka Custom Design, Lisa Marinucci Design or Studio Art Metal Shop): jeweled crowns, fan-shaped peacock-feather headdresses, at least two snake-festooned Medusa headpieces and even a warrior-goddess spiked metal helmet that caused audible gasps from the audience.

The collection was so heavy on the intricate beadwork and embroidery that are Wong's stock in trade, we found the noteworthy pieces coming down the catwalk to be the less-complicated ones -- particularly a blue, one-shoulder peplum gown with just a bit of jet beading at the bodice.

The runway presentation itself could have benefited from a similar sense of restraint, and if Wong's inspirational troika of goddesses were in any way guiding the proceedings Monday night, we need to seriously challenge the wisdom of Athena in allowing a 7 p.m. show to start 70 minutes late, continue for a full 36 minutes and feature nearly 80 looks. A small gripe, perhaps, especially given the enthusiastic response of the audience and the fact that Wong did the same thing last season (sending 76 looks down the runway over 30-plus minutes) but we mention it again because a more powerful statement would have been made with a pared down presentation of far fewer pieces.

Instead, the sheer number of repetitive looks and long running time dulled us to all the beauty and craftsmanship Wong's talented team had clearly labored over, almost as if we'd turned to stone.

In the end, it was one Medusa too many.

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