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Insider Report: Kristi Moe on LA Fashion Week

October 27, 2009


As the founder of Wisconsin Fashion Week, it’s logical that Kristi Moe would venture out to see other fashion weeks across the nation for inspiration and ideas.

When we heard she was off to LA Fashion Week, which took place mid-October, we caught up with Madison’s fashion guru for a re-cap of her experiences, a trend forecast and, of course, fashion gossip.

BRAVA: Paint us a picture of LA Fashion Week.
Kristi Moe: LA Fashion Week is really a month-long endeavor with events spattered throughout October. It’s a much less cohesive series of events than New York Fashion Week. I think because of that, it has a more local slant. Generally, most events were held downtown, and I definitely saw my share of celebrities including Brooke Hogan, Kathy Ireland and Jerrell Scott from Lifetime’s “Project Runway.” The most dramatic moment was when I was literally almost knocked down by a mob waiting to get into the Mode Israel show!


BRAVA: Sounds exciting…Do tell more!
KM: My experience started and ended with a huge bang. The official kick-off party hosted by the Fashion Group International of Los Angeles was a red carpet event that brought you close to famous designers and their celebrity muses. The venue was the rooftop of the Standard Hotel nestled amongst the high-rises of downtown LA, and was intimate enough to make mingling easy. It seemed no matter which direction I turned I was faced with an incredible style icon. So many of us watch “Project Runway” and would be familiar with Rami Kashou and Nick Verreos who were in attendance. Or “America’s Next Top Model’s” Cari Dee English who is certainly 10 times more beautiful (and taller!) in person.

Then there’s the traditional fashion icons like John Galanos who has designed for Nancy Reagan, Sue Wong and Randolf Duke. All these stars were freely accessible to meet and talk to. I was almost more starstruck by the press that was covering the event, including media outlets like “Vogue” and “Women’s Wear Daily.” I come from a PR background and consider myself lucky if I can just get these people on the phone! I exchanged business cards with photographers, makeup artists, designers and publicists from LA, Chicago, New York and Argentina.

For me, I ended the week at Saturday’s Elmer Ave. runway show and after-party. One of the designers on the four-person design team—Johnny Day—was recently a contestant on Bravo’s “The Fashion Show” and a guest designer “America’s Next Top Model.” There was an insane amount of media blitz around the event and lots of street buzz. It was a “top secret” event so there was a lot of anticipation and they didn’t disappoint.

The venue was downtown LA in an old bank building with incredible architecture. I was placed on the VIP list which meant

The Elmer Ave. photo pit

The Elmer Ave. photo pit

we had prime seats at the end of the runway near the photo pit (shown at right). The whole show was choreographed and had a professional music score. It was definitely a performance! Their collection had a street aesthetic with revolutionary themes. Silhouettes ranged from high-fashion formal wear to deconstructed tees. It sounds all over the place but they pulled it off. The hair and makeup had a distinctive 20s flair.

BRAVA: What trends did you notice for the upcoming seasons?
KM: There were the trends on the runway, and then trends in the crowd! The crowd was the most amusing. The 70s mustache seemed to be a trend that more than a few guys are trying to force back in. For the girls, it was ALL about the shoes. The more studded and aggressive-looking, the better, and they were paired  mostly
with leggings or skinny jeans. Booties were everywhere, but so were incredibly high platform heels. Everything was black and the interest came in the layering, silhouettes and fabrications.

BRAVA: And the runway trends?
KM: Trends on the runway were lots and lots of zippers. The clunky, big-teeth kind that have a definite punk influence, but combined with luxurious fabrics. They ran the length of a skirt or a sleeve. The most fun application was on the back of the leg opening which makes a lot of sense with the trend of showing off shoes…you can unzip the back for a flirty look at the heel.

A runway shot at the Mike Vensel show

A runway shot at the Mike Vensel show

BRAVA: What was your favorite runway show?
KM: It’s amazing to me that it’s so easy to pick out a favorite collection because I was definitely enthralled by quite a few!

Mike Vensel’s Wild Horses Spring/Summer 2010 collection (shown at left) was absolutely beautiful in its entirety. Each garment is constructed from a single pattern piece and a single piece of fabric, reducing seams and construction elements and stripping the garment to its core.

Wild Horses integrates elements of suede silk, multi-layered chiffon, organic cotton and elements of feathers and fringe, drawing inspiration from the raw natural free spirit of wild horses. The single cutting helps eliminate fabric waste, but also made the clothing drape and float in an interesting way.
The presentation was ideal. The models wore slicked back high ponytails and gray suede knee-high boots. The runway was on the stage of an old historic theater with an almost black wood floor that had been dusted with white flour. Colors like gray, black and white were seamless in the fabrics and the set. Really perfect execution from a design and production standpoint. I was impressed!

BRAVA: Any up-and-coming designers that should be on our radar?
KM: The young three-person design team of Skingraft are sure to continue to shine. Their collection channeled Amelia Earhart and had an aesthetic of strength with bomber jackets and aviator-inspired blouses. Their strength is clearly in leather fabrication, including a ball gown in leather ruffles. Although there were dominant couture-looks that took the “aviation” theme literally—with birds perched on shoulders and as a facemask (that was insanely gorgeous!)—many simplified looks could do well commercially to the masses.

BRAVA: What colors, textures and patterns did you notice?
KM: Colors were really subdued…light creams, creamy yellows, light grays, dusty pinks and eggshell. When they were accented with black, it made them interesting.

Intense makeup

Intense makeup at LA Fashion Week

BRAVA: What about hair and makeup trends?
KM: I saw quite a few shows using a 20s influence with pin curls and deep burgundy lip and dramatic smokey eyes. On the whole, it definitely takes us away from doing either a dramatic eye OR lip. That’s definitely out the window—now we can do both! Make-up was all about intensity.

BRAVA: And on the accessory front?
KM: Accessories in collections were pretty minimal. So with the crowd I’d have to say shoes were the biggest accessory.

BRAVA: What inspiration did you take away from your experience that you plan on integrating into your own wardrobe?
KM: I fell in love with a hooded scarf that I saw on Katie Kay, one of the designers from Skingraft, while she was rehearsing the show. It wasn’t a runway look at all, just something that was identifiably her style. To me it kind of defines the look of LA—an effortless style. So yep, I’m going to steal it!

For more on Wisconsin Fashion Week, visit

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 6, 2009 7:43 am

    Great to see your posts here, wondered what happened to Fashionistaville.

    Actually I went to the Mike Vensel show too and enjoyed it. I didn’t realize the designs were only made out of one piece of cloth. Wish they prepped people with the invites they sent out. Great write up!

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