The runway shows ended on a low note Friday at the Downtown Standard hotel, with a handful of shows that did little to improve L.A.'s reputation as a junior market.
Designer Sue Wong took a trend-for-everyone approach, rehashing themes such as mod, the 1920s and punk in a half-hour spectacle (complete with ridiculous-looking hats decorated with Mondrian-ish shapes, disco balls or blue mops) that felt like a shopping mall fashion show. Dripping with beads, flapper dresses that brought to mind costumes from "Chicago" were crowd-pleasers, as were ombre chiffon gowns in flame red with sleeves that puffed out in the wind. But none of it was particularly innovative.
After several seasons of sitting out the shows, Monah Li returned with artsy velvet and satin cardigans and skirts with lace insets in rich plums and greens that were attractive, despite looking like something the British label Ghost did several seasons ago.
Husband-and-wife designers Eric Martin and Diane Moss-Martin continued to attempt the minimalist Japanese aesthetic. Their simplest pieces, including a red jacket with black seams and a white peplum, and a gauzy white tank top with a stitched and puckered front, were their best. But too often their more conceptual ideas fell short: a black skirt with an unfinished hem and a horizontal slice at the knee looked like a nun's habit gone wrong, and a jumper with a stiff square of fabric bound to the model's bust was laughable.
Stylists-turned-designers Joey Tierney and Tanya Tamburin of Joey & T finished off the week with what amounted to a striptease. Models, including actress Taryn Manning, gyrated their way to the end of the runway, where they zipped off pieces of their leather skirts and threw them into the air.
Those in the audience who were not busy catcalling felt the need to take a shower.