Sunday, May 13, 2007

Los Angeles, I'm Yours

What comes to mind when you think of LA fashion? Lindsay Lohan et al's paparazzi-friendly style? The Cobrasnake's brigade of underage hipsters? A few burgeoning labels are out to change all this, merging East Coast-like maturity with West Coast ease.

Philippines-born designer Donny Barios's designs are refined, feminine, and totally and utterly covetable. The former menswear designer drapes rougher-hewn fabrics like wool-felt and gabardine into relaxed, wearable shapes. “My menswear background has given me the utmost careful respect for designing for women." says Barrios, "Sometimes your liabilities can turn out to be your voice.” From the looks of the fall collection, snapped by filedunderwant, it doesn't appear that Crispin & Basilio is in any danger of losing this voice anytime soon.

I have the feeling that Unhee's playful aesthetic would be just as at home on the playground as it is on the backs of stylish LA filles. The current collection features voluminous sleeves reminiscent of Stella McCartney’s spring line, playful bubble-hem dresses, and rompers galore. Young designer Suzy Yun can herself be found blogging at trueheartsblue about her line and other daily adventures.

Society For Rational Dress The brainchild of LA-born Corinne Grassini, Society For Rational Dress takes cerebral dressing and pares it down to its utmost wearable basics. The sex appeal of the line is anything but in-your-face, as the subtle chain and buckle details prove. And that West Coast ease I mentioned earlier? Add a few pieces from the spring collection into your wardrobe and poof! Insta-easygoing intellectual.

So there you have it, three labels that are taking the idea of LA fashion to the next level. I've never been overly fond of the city itself, but perhaps this is just the first in a series of steps towards my approval.

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