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Style Fashion Week Day One: Alternative Apparel’s oasis of color

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Alternative Apparel closed out the first night of Style Fashion Week L.A. shows at Vibiana on Tuesday night, with a runway collection of sun-bleached, surf-softened pieces that hit the sweet spot of SoCal casual.

Photos: Alternative Apparel spring 2012 runway

Titled ‘Oasis of Color’ and inspired by the desert landscape around Palm Springs, the collection was about as laid-back as clothes can be without being sleepwear. It’s all too easy to imagine dudes kicking back at Ace Hotel’s fire pits in the striped Baja pullovers (a.k.a. ‘drug rugs’) and dusty-colored shorts that came down the runway, accompanied by the kind of lithe, free-spirited women who go to Coachella wearing camouflage-print bikini bottoms and striped tank tops knotted well north of the navel.

Indeed, the men’s and women’s collections came across as quintessential Coachella clothes -- comfortable and cool enough for daytime in the desert and with layered pieces sturdy enough to sleep in if necessary. The women’s collection included asymmetrical maxi-dresses, high-waisted miniskirts, sheer tops, mesh tanks and beaded Baja ponchos. The men’s collection featured pullovers, billowy shorts, breezy striped button-front shirts and vintage-athletic-inspired zip-front hoodies, shirts and shorts.

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Also on the runway were pieces from the label’s new assortment of nautical-inspired bags and accessories that will launch in the spring, including canvas and leather satchels, totes and carryalls in a variety of colorful solids, stripes and prints.

Alternative Apparel keys so perfectly into the laid-back L.A.-area vibe, it’s no wonder the brand chose Venice as the site of its flagship store, which opened earlier this year at 1337 Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Based on what came down the catwalk, consider making that address your first stop when planning your next Palm Springs road trip.

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-- Adam Tschorn


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