PAST AND FUTURE OPEN L.A. FASHION WEEK

With styles sexy and surprising, local designers relish a chance to show off on the runway.

  A model walks the runway at the Collection Bebe Fall 2007 fashion show, during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, Calif., on Sunday, March 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

A model walks the runway at the Collection Bebe Fall 2007 fashion show, during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, Calif., on Sunday, March 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

The clothes were fine. The crowds were A list. A supermodel came out of retirement. The parking was insane.

It was, in other words, a successful debut for the first ultra-organized fashion week this town has seen in years. The L.A. fall collections kicked off Tuesday night at the Standard Hotel downtown. There were a few logistical hurdles -- valet parking at the Standard was jacked up to $25 from the usual $15 (and that's no small matter in a place where a parking spot can be a deal breaker).

Still, the Mercedes-Benz Shows L.A. event, which mostly took place in a tent erected over the hotel's parking lot, put a sorely needed professional spin on the fashion shows here.

David Cardona stole the evening with a collection so full of sexy swagger, the models seemed to rattle the tent flaps as they walked the runway. The designer continued his leather theme, perhaps channeling Jane Fonda's femme fatale call girl in the 1971 film "Klute."

A sweetheart neckline was deliciously ironic on a burgundy leather cap-sleeve top with bondage-style buckles across the back. Mussed-up sequins gave a cocktail dress the patina of an oxidized penny. And a dramatic sweep of a black leather gown, slit to the thigh, with lacing across the back, brought many in the audience of more than 300 buyers, journalists and various other fashion world types, to their feet.

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April 03, 2003 Booth Moore | Times Staff Writer

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/19/AR2007031900919.html