The sounds of spray paint and electric shocks cut through loud, heavy bass as models stomped down a slick white runway.
Grunge, minimalism and androgyny were major themes at Los Angeles Fashion Week 2016. Hollywood’s Columbia Square hosted the event from March 13 through Sunday.
Eleven designers, including Saturday night’s Phlemuns, Underlash and Esther Perbandt, showed their Spring/Summer 2016 collections on the runway. The simplicity of the designers’ styles makes it easy for UCLA students to pick up on the trends.
Hairstyles were dominated by messy, twisted buns – think Miley Cyrus buns – and cropped, razor-sharp bangs. Black, white and the occasional earth tone formed the color palette of this season’s styles. General clothing trends on the runway included wide-leg pants, long blouses with side slits and spring-appropriate layers with cropped sleeves, vests and overall-type straps.
The venue’s industrial, bare-bones architecture complimented the gritty aesthetic of the runway shows.
“Backstage the setup is very raw, so it definitely enhances the vibe,” said Ozzie Morales, a senior stylist with LuxeLab, LA Fashion Week‘s hair styling team.
Saturday night started out vibrant with Phlemuns’ offbeat collection. Los Angeles designer James Flemons combined green and yellow plaid with beige earth tones in a series of wide-leg pants and jumpsuits. He layered the pieces with sweaters in a geometric red and pink pattern. Male and female models sported the same Phlemuns pieces with twisted topknots and Dr. Martens-esque Mary Janes. At the end of the runway, each model showed personal style with a dance or a twirl.
Phlemuns’ pieces can be incorporated into student style with layered clothing in bold, contrasting patterns. Phlemuns chose plaid and chevron print, but students can play with patterns like polka dots, stripes, tweed or corduroy. Branch out from classic combat boot Dr. Martens and explore its shorter footwear.
Anika Perkin’s line of bold, sleek activewear, Underlash, featured female models with slicked bobs and ponytails braided with steel rings. Black sports bras and leggings were cut with strips of mesh and blocks of soft blue spandex. The collection seemed at times like a glorification of Lululemon leggings. Some models carried nylon backpacks or donned futuristic space goggles, implying that Underlash is the future of activewear.
“I’m really into gradients and complimentary line work to your body,” Perkins said backstage, waving her hands in a zigzag motion. “I was going for minimalistic with the highest impact.”
Athleisure apparel is a favorite for UCLA students, and Underlash sets the tone with simplicity, color-blocking and cool blue and green hues.
The Esther Perbandt show, the anticipated centerpiece of Saturday night, began with a video clip of the Berlin-based designer speaking into a microphone, concluding with the statement, “No longer is woman a different idea than a man.”
Beeping, spaceship-sounding music blared as androgynous models strutted in black and white designs united by a common theme of strappy, loose material reminiscent of bed sheets and nylon aprons. Female models wore ties, waistcoats and skirts with deep slits. Male models wore dresses, tailcoats and ruffled tuxedo shirts, blurring the line between menswear and womenswear.
Most models wore black, preppy knee-high socks with black loafers. Makeup, by Cinema Secrets, was minimal — fair-skinned models wore pale powder with grey flecks spattered across their faces.
“My favorite trend this season is androgyny,” said Kenny Nogueira, a Los Angeles Fashion Week model. “I could wear any of (Esther Perbandt’s) pieces whether a girl is modeling it or a guy is modeling it. I absolutely love that.”
In addition to venturing into both women’s and men’s sections in clothing stores, UCLA students can take inspiration from the common threads in Perbandt’s designs: a black and white palette, hanging strips of fabric and long, draping garments. Straps are no longer limited to overalls and suspenders; students can explore A-line skirts with long shoulder straps or jumpsuits with straps tied around the waist.
“LA Fashion Week is up and coming,” Morales said. “LA is no longer known as just a celebrity city. It’s definitely starting to set the pace for other fashion-oriented cities.”