L.A. Fashion Week: J.C. Obando’s Case Study

So much of what passes on the runways this week doesn’t warrant such a production. So it’s even more refreshing when a designer who could support a catwalk option, opts out for the sober, intimate showcase of a private dining room, a limited guest list and an edited selection of 13 looks, simply displayed on 13 glossy white mannequins. Juan Carlos Obando forwent the officially sanctioned program at Smashbox this season for a salon-style showing and lunch at Craft, and to great effect. “Top Chef” Tom Colicchio’s new dining hall next to CAA is also a skip from J.C.’s HQ, so the spaces served as a kind of living room for the designer. The dresses, however, demanded an evening out on the town. There was something reminiscent of James Galanos in the modern elegance of these mostly silk-cashmere blend, mostly black, cognac and café gowns, as well as in the way they were displayed. The collection was an exercise in draping for J.C., who underscores the point by noting that he did not enlist a pattern maker and that he crafted it alone. As for production, he recently secured a small atelier of highly skilled seamstresses in a town outside his native Bogotá that is supervised by his mother, her self a veteran of the apparel industry there.

Calling the collection his Case Study N. 7, he provided each of the two-dozen guests who attended Tuesday’s lunch with a thick, bounded script-like packet illustrating inspiration as far ranging as a doorbell and the sample packaging for a David Lynch organic espresso cup. It all evidently charged at least one lady at the lunch—a private client who booked about $20,000 worth of looks (that would be five dresses, he pointed out).

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