Like Alexandra Grant’s colorful, unframed paintings of text, there is nothing too precious about Gregory Parkinson’s equally colorful, patterned and seasonless clothes. Yet the two also share a process for carefully selecting their materials (she, text; he, fabrics), not to mention a fan base that cherish every piece for how it makes them feel.
So the designer’s decision to present his Spring 2009 collection on 20 pink mannequins in situ among the artist’s super-sized work at the Honor Fraser Gallery Saturday night was purely a case of cosmic serendipity. After all, neither one of them collaborated on their intentions. But once completed, it was obvious that it just belonged together.
The one-night showing of the clothes in the gallery (Alexandra’s show ends October 25) kept a well-turned out crowd that included actors Elijah Wood, Perrey Reeves, Tracey Ellis Ross and Rachel Griffiths; musician Ben Lee, Ione Skye, model Guinevere Van Seenus and a room-full of fellow designers, friends and editors buzzing nonstop about the complementary pairing, and about each of their work. Of the half dozen “Portals,” hung in the main space since the September 6 opening, five had already sold, Honor beamed–including one to the LACMA.
An enormous papier-mâché mobile spelling out “A Love That Should Have Lasted,” dangled above the frozen models, some who were engaged in a board game about fashion. A cheeky wink at the entire exercise in presenting a collection? The event, hosted by Glam Media and TheFind.com, did come a couple of days after fashion week ended here in L.A.
From one collection to the next, Gregory’s clothes manage to come off so effortlessly. It’s likely because they reflect the milieu of his childhood in Lancashire and his nearly two decades as an adult in L.A. He’s not trying to pretend he’s in another time, or in another world, imagined or real. What appears like a discordant choice of patterned textiles and colors somehow always pieces together beautifully, in that charming yet edgy way that is ascribed as Brit eccentricity. Yet, they’re imbued with the spontaneity and spirit of the California lifestyle that seems like second nature to the very tan, very laid-back designer.
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