Fashion Forward at L.A. Fashion Weekend

Anthony Franco designs.

Spring fashions already? Yes, the latest collections from acclaimed and emerging designers were presented at L.A. Fashion Weekend at Sunset Gower Studios. Sponsored by ScreenShop, the three day runway extravaganza propelled new trends into the spotlight as an audience of fashion industry denizens, buyers, stylists, and press enjoyed the shows. Celebrities were on hand too, including a couple of guys who always look sharp on the red carpets, Jack Black and Matthew Morrison.

The weekend launched with Anthony Franco’s 2012 Spring Collection, and his highly anticipated runway show did not disappoint. He is a designer who creates beautiful dresses and clothes that came to life on the stunning male and female models. The trends that emerged were fabrics in chiffon and silk that flowed, wide-brim hats, bright prints for sportswear, a retro look for men, and attention-grabbing orange as the color du jour.

Franco was beaming after the show as he thanked family and friends for supporting his vision and “encouraging me to follow my dreams.” He told me that his collection was inspired by a trip he took, and he went fabric shopping when he was drunk. If that’s where creativity comes from, please pass the champagne.

Karen Capili design.

The sensational idea of starting L.A. Fashion Weekend is the brainchild of Mikey Koffman. She is the CEO of The Gallery LA, and head of Hollywood Style Haus at the Sunset Gower Studios. As the dynamo producer of the event, Koffman had KTLA broadcasting live from the runway.

The second day of the fashion festival had afternoon and evening shows packed with a lot of eye-candy for style mavens. Featured first was the Spring/Summer 2012 Emerging Designers show. On the runway were innovative collections from Nathanelle Couture, Lawren Michele, Age of Aquarius Apparel, C for You Apparel, and Tumbler and Tipsy. At night the Women’s Contemporary showcase featured designers Naven, Karen Capili, XCVI, and Cristina Nitopi’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection. A standout among them was XCVI’s comfortable design in easy, breathable fabrics that had a nostalgic look and a ’60s seaside flavor. Karen Capili was one of the most talked-about designers, standing out from the crowd with her use of vivid colors and a touch of the Victorian-era for a distinctive couture style. “I am eager for the industry to get a sense of my vision,” Capili said.

Anthony Franco design.

The final night of the shows was called Swim at L.A. Fashion Weekend and had designs creating an atmosphere of sun and sand. Certainly swimwear is a staple in Southern California, and the Fashion Weekend event was eager to give designers the opportunity to present their fun Summer collections in an upscale environment, with an ocean of cocktails flowing through the crowd of fashionistas. Seen on the runway were styles from Beach Rays, Culture Swimwear, and Nicole Lee handbags with unique designs and funky details. A bonus was the addition of the enthusiastic Betsey Johnson Runway show.

There could not have been a better sponsor of the three-day event than ScreenShop, East Coast stylist Mary Lou Krewson told me: “It’s the perfect merger of Hollywood and the fashion world,” she said about the company’s goal of making the fashions showcased in movies and on TV accessible to consumers. From Philadelphia, Krewson is a repeat attendee for the L.A. Fashion Weekend, “because it’s a must-see now among those who know that the wearable fashion trends start in Southern California. The designers who are presented always have a handle on fashion’s X-factor.”