Photos by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete
When one thinks of the term, "fashion week," the first images that come to mind tend to be the vast concrete landscapes and urban canyons of New York, or the uber-chic cities of Milan and Paris. When I heard LA Fashion Week has been organized by a loose collection of designers and boosters since 2002, I raised a very well-groomed eyebrow.
The idea of LA fashion produces visions of flip-flops, board shorts, and Juicy Couture sweatpants with the word, "slut" written on the ass. I decided to see if a casually dressed city could make its mark on the high fashion world. I soon realized the answer to that question was, "nope."
Every Fashion Week event is independently run with different credentialing systems. It's not surprising that turnouts for these events aren't great.
My first Fashion Week appointment was a pre-show "party" that attracted about eight people, including the large gentleman with the cape/curtain/table cloth seen above. Those eight people were crammed inside a space about the size of Anna Wintour's closet. It definitely seemed exclusive, as only the world's least interesting people showed up to shove appetizers down their throats.
Up next were the runway shows. At last, I thought, haute couture, the lifeblood! Too bad the first show I went to took place in the middle of a corporate monstrosity of an outdoor mall called the Grove. The Grove is a great place to take your young tikes to get new sneakers or purchase a Father's Day gift. The last thing that screams "high fashion" is a Wetzel's Pretzels, and yet, the show took place right next to one.
Don't believe me?
Whatever dark, druid shit he was trying to evoke was totally undercut by the fact that somewhere nearby, you could purchase Beanie Babies and bedazzled iPhone cases.
One of the Three Muskateers showed up as a surprise guest, though he had a tough time walking the runway with his very noticable limp. That said, I was down with LA Fashion Week supporting the differently-abled swordsman.
The celebrity sightings didn't stop there, though! Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer modeled this season's most daring garment, the bellbottom sweatpant. I assumed these were for goths who need room in their pants after hitting the lunch buffet.
This dude made it all the way down the runway, and when he went to remove his hood for the fabulous reveal of his grumpy face, the hood got stuck. He fumbled for a bit, and then he just gave up. His shoulders slumped in defeat as he soaked up the deafening snickers of the crowd. What's the point of a cloak if you can't remove the hood to terrify and intimidate your prey?
Here's a picture of me texting a friend, "LOL! at a fashion show at da mall. lulztimesamillion!"
Here's a picture of a model catching me texting. At that point, I felt it was best that I leave the event immediately.
A few days later, we went to Downtown LA's Men's Fashion Week, which, according to literature stuck to the walls all over the event, is the only week dedicated to men's fashion in the United States. At least Downtown actually felt like a place that should have a fashion week, rather than a place that should have an American Girl store.
The runway show that morning featured Noral Apparel, which appeared to be a primarily "urban" men's fashion line for black dudes who love pouting.
My photographer and I arrived early, but because this was LA Fashion Week, absolutely nothing was organized. After spending weeks trying to register, my name wasn't even on the list, and I had to physically show the event rep my email confirmation to get in. Once in the building, it became clear the show would not be starting on time, so we wandered through an adjacent trade show which featured a wide selection of douchey fedoras.
I can't really read the words tattooed on that man's lip, but I think it says "My hat makes me look terrible."
This hat was made for the decerning gentleman who prefers to carry his firearm in full view of the public, while also having a really hard time reaching it. There's a good chance that if you wear this hat outside, you'll end up in the kind of fight that would require you to draw your weapon quickly. Bad idea, guys.
After an hour of staring at hats, we went into the event space. It was a pretty solid turnout for LA Fashion Week.
People trickled in slowly, which pushed our start time yet another hour. These guys showed up in their finest...wait. Is that a black dude with a Hitler moustache?
Yup. Sure is. #thirdreichswag
These guys could only text in unison, and they did a great job.
People really started to show up when the guy with the dookie braids and Egyptian necklace arrived. The lady in the bottom left corner didn't stop laughing until the end of the event. Like, really. She laughed at everything.
Finally, after two hours, the room filled up and the "extreme pouting competition" could begin in earnest.
Everyone was quickly snapping photos, eager to share their glimpse at camo suspender swag. I was looking forward to other looks this pouty dude would bring to the table.
His next outfit was definitely not something he was proud of, as he went to the trouble to obscure his face with a censor bar. Maybe he knew he was going to be featured in this article.
Continuing the day's theme of "accessories that make it harder to walk down the street comfortably," this guy was wearing noise-canceling headphones and some kind of Klingon sash around his waist.
By the end, all the models gave up posing and just started looking straight into the cameras and frowning.
LA's fashion community is trying their hardest to compete with New York, Paris, and Milan, but right now, I could probably see a better fashion show in Delaware. Let's stay away from the malls next year, please.
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