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That’s L.A., all sewn up

Times Staff Writer

How do you know you’re so L.A.? Your favorite cocktail is Master Cleanse and vodka, you pay your Pilates trainer more than your shrink and you can’t wait until it snows at the Grove.

Or so says Nony Tochterman. The Petro Zillia designer closed out Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios with a show dedicated to the L.A. fashion girl, complete with a tongue-in-cheek questionnaire to help determine if you are one. (I am not.) No questions about doing time, though. After all, Paris Hilton was in the front row.

It was a high-spirited end to a successful week, when the L.A. shows were at last accepted for being so L.A., and not so anyplace else.

Tochterman took a few seasons off to open her store on 3rd Street, and it was good to see her back, hitting spring’s color theme on the head with a Crayola box of gowns -- one in a sheer cobalt blue with gold chain edges, another in silvery gray with chains dangling from a high collar. Then there was the fuchsia charmeuse jumper. Too cute. Paperbag, full-legged trousers have become a Petro Zillia signature, and this season they came in charcoal gray paired with a silver Lurex one-shouldered top. Gold gladiator sandals by Gracienne were a hit too, as were bamboo hoop earrings by Noir, which Tochterman wears herself. . . . because she’s so L.A.

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It’s difficult to imagine Jeremy Scott’s collection playing better in Paris, where he usually shows, than it did here in the car-culture capital. Scott was inspired by construction sites, back alleys and trash, sending models out with garbage-can lids for hats and skid marks on their faces and legs. The tire-tread and road-sign prints may have been inspired by the street, literally and figuratively, but the silhouettes were ladylike -- a bow-front shirtdress in a blue pipe print, an off-the-shoulder grid-print gown with the word “sewer” spelled out on the ruffled bodice, and a sharply tailored, one-button jacket with black leather lapels, worn with a black leather pencil skirt. Even wide belts, done over as rubber tires, were great to look at.

If only Christopher Enuke’s collection was half as inspiring. The Oligo Tissew designer is a denim guru, foiling or rolling paint over his jeans in the most surprising ways each season. But this collection fell flat. The denim wasn’t anything special, save for a pair that appeared to be whitewashed.

Prep-school hooligans paraded down the runway at Monarchy Collection. Men’s argyle cardigans, polo shirts and vests with unfinished seams were emblazoned with gold foil graphics, which suited the rough-and-tumble nicks and cuts painted on models’ faces. (Models were really put through the ringer this season.)

Suit pants were made into cutoffs and tapered through the leg for a twist on traditional golf shorts, and driving caps topped modified faux hawks.

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In a move that really captured the L.A. spirit, or at least the Century City spirit, JC Obando showed his collection at Craft restaurant. In the shadow of Creative Artists Agency, he presented each guest with a “screenplay” to explain his inspiration. Inside were photos of a grizzly bear, packaging for David Lynch espresso, works by Matthew Barney and more.

It was a lot of inspiration for 13 pieces, shown on mannequins instead of models. But Obando has always been a great storyteller, which is half the battle when launching a fashion brand. In another sign that he is well on his way, he’s developed signature pieces, including his draped jersey “hanger dress,” which isn’t much on the hanger but on the body is beautiful, and his waxed-cotton jackets and coats, which look like leather but are much better suited to warmer climes.

There were also several dramatic gowns -- one, the color of a cafe latte, had a playful pouf of chiffon on the shoulder, another a released back and knotwork around the collar. But it was a gold lame dress, which Obando ironed, hand-pleated and waxed himself (he made the collection without a pattern or sample maker), that took the trophy. Draped over one shoulder, with knotwork at the neckline, it was a wonderfully creative take on the now-ubiquitous goddess gown.

Now, if only one of L.A.'s red-carpet goddesses would snatch it up.

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booth.moore@latimes.com

Melissa Magsaysay contributed to this report.


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