L.A. Fashion Week: Villaraigosa, Vibiana’s and Another Vision

Never mind that film drives the machine of Los Angeles, both in terms of employment and image. The arrival of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the BOXeight-hosted fashion-week showcase at St. Vibiana's last night was enough to shut down the last two minutes of celluloid being enjoyed by the packed house in attendance. Tony was in the house to see a fashion show, and that's what he was going to get!

Not that it was the fault of the Mayor, whose stop served as an official sanction of fashion week returning to the city of Los Angeles. That's right, kids, Culver City, where the tents go up at Smashbox Studios counts only as L.A. County. Nor were Diane Pernet or Dino Dinco to blame for running late with the first part of their brilliant program, "You Wear It Well." The world-traveling fashion-film fest premiered last night before it goes global, with a juried selection of shorts masterminded by the likes of Maison Margiela, Nick Knight and Gareth Pugh (more on that later with an interview with Mme. Pernet).

The organizers pulled the plug. The schedule had spun out of control, unfortunately, and continued to as the already ridiculous midnight time slot for Bohemian Society pushed well beyond the patience of even the most patient reviewer (I was long in bed by then).

Despite this, and despite the uneven shows by Louis Verdad and Eduardo Lucero (the presentation that demanded the Mayor's attention), the first night of BOXeight was a promising exercise. Getting there was a snap. Leaving, stress free thanks to all the reasonably priced parking just steps from the front entrance. Outside of the schedule issues, the production was as it should be expected in an industry town with the resources. The crowd–many who paid for the privilege of being there–was manageable and reasonable. Whether they actually provided a business opportunity for the designers outside of branding is another matter. But the people watching kept us entertained in between the highlights.

Then again, this downtown former cathedral-turned-event space has the power to cast a gorgeous glow on just about anything. And it was all worth the priceless view of watching Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa seated just across the aisle from Bobby Brown, who'd apparently suffered a heart attack only the day before, during Lucero's show. Now that's entertainment.

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