lafw: ash couture

(images via can)

so i guess you could say my plan right now is to shuffle through some of the fashion events we’re really only skimming the surface on, whether because they were limited as to the number of shows, because we were just meant to glimpse through, or because there were relatively few of actual interest to us. and i think you know which case is relevant to los angeles fashion week. and yes, i’m aware i’m being harsh, but then, i think we can all realize the event needs it. after all, in the handful of years since i’ve graduated design school, it feels as though it has gone nowhere but down.

right, then. i guess i should clarify–but then, i think i always try to–that there were, as ever, a few bright spots in the rough-and-tumble nature of the week punctuated by too many meandering collections and f-list celebrities, but then, even we do see a few worthy labels, as i research their background info, i’m appalled at how many blogs of invited-types bestow upon us images of the writers themselves, looking fahbuhlous! (oh, so!) with their girlfriends and their swag bags, reminding us they were invited to…what exactly? oh, right, lafw. fancy-fancy.

but maybe i’m being too sarcastic, and we should just take the time here to wind the event down with the relatively intriguing f/w 2013 collection of the mumbai-based ash couture (or ash haute couture, though i tend to hate it when designers throw the ‘h’ word in there, given how over-utilized it has been in recent years. but don’t let me set off again!). anyway, designed by one ashna a. kalra, the brand for the upcoming fall attempted to blend traditional indian motifs with more western silhouettes, and although at times the palette (a lot of pastels) and vibe (lacy, frippy dresses) came off a little spring-like, i’d say homegirl largely succeeded.

or, should i say, at the very least, she produced enough desirable pieces to set many of us back in our wallets for a few solid months, at least. although the general silhouettes in the mostly dress-driven show tended to range around about knee-length, clipping in at the waist and flowing out into a fuller, a-line skirt, she nevertheless produced some nice detailing efforts, such as embroidery or lace at the bodice. there were a few slight variations, though, like a very nice lilac shirtdress, with dainty little capped sleeves and what looked like coordinating mesh at the bodice, while the couple of dresses in a sort of dark periwinkle blue/gunmetal gray shade were, if in the main line of shape, still gorgeous and my personal favourites of the outing.

but, anyway, as to background, in a nice little pre-show interview with the designer, when asked about her inspiration for the season, she told the examiner that “I travelled to six different countries in last four months, which gives me different outlooks, ideas and design concepts. Turkey was a huge influence on my collection this season. From the colours, patterns to the clotted silver embroideries, the lustrous silks that determine the character of the clothes. This inspiration was a reminder that the fashion industry is missing the hybrid of east and west. We did some extravagantly handworked pieces as our motto that fashion is an art. The elegance of rich fabrics and the cuts make this collection simply French chic.”

meanwhile, noting that the designer held her presentation at vibiana, which seems to be one of the mainstays of lafw, while so many others come and go, california apparel news related that “(f)or looks that would fit in with traditional Mumbai, Kalra detailed garments with traditional Indian embroidery and beading. For Western silhouettes, Kalra was inspired by the golden age of Hollywood, what with gowns made with a nude-colored fabric and jump suits inspired by the wardrobe of a 1940s playgirl.”

“Other looks,” they carried on, “included a cocktail dress with a corset-style back and a long red-carpet dress with an embellished bustier, which received applause from the crowd.” there were also a couple of trouser/pant/jumpsuit-type looks in similar silky materials to those in which she rendered her dresses, and honestly, given the length of the collection, i found myself wishing she had expanded these offerings a bit. while i must confess that none of the pants really got me going for one reason or another (maybe too pajama-like), i think if she’d have kept at it, she probably could have come up with a winning–and different!–look.

on the whole, i want to say it was a success in that the designer captivated my attention for most of the show, and produced many more looks that i was drawn to than the typical lafw designers, but as with most, it was too draggy in parts, with not enough versatility and sometimes a rather meandering overall vibe. nevertheless, i think she could really go somewhere if she keeps at it, and i really did love the fascinators many a model sported combined with a kind of ‘old world’ sophistication (spliced with a certain measure of modernity) that was there in spirit, if not always execution. but it’s a good look for la, different, and i’ll certainly be hoping to see her back next season–although as always with this event, i’m not holding my breath (enjoy some additional images at mademoiselle michelle & the lafw site).

(check out the catwalk video here)

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