By  on March 14, 2007

The designers showing during fashion week have backgrounds as varied as their points of view. Here, some contemporary labels, both new and more seasoned.


JOEY TIERNEY
It seems natural for the celebrity stylist to segue into design. Joey Tierney burst onto the fashion scene in 2002, styling Britney Spears with partner Tanya Tamburin. They created a line of graffiti-print miniskirts and T-shirts for Spears, called Joey and T, which launched at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in April 2003. The line, like the pop princess, eventually crashed and burned. Tierney moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2004 and began dressing clients Jaime Pressly and Andy Garcia for the red carpet. "But I never stopped designing," she said. "That would be like asking a musician to stop writing songs." Her tastes have grown more sophisticated, and she was influenced partly by Garcia's natty style. About a year ago, Tierney began working on a new collection, but kept it under wraps until last week, when she got a silent partner and decided to return to the tents in Culver City. The 40-piece line, with an average wholesale price point of $100 to $300, is based on black lace with some navy, gray and a few splashes of emerald green. She calls the silhouettes "a cross between Helmut Newton and Bianca Jagger. I had grown pretty conservative, but styling Juliette Lewis and The Licks (the actress' band) inspired me to put a little funk in it," she said. The line features tuxedo shorts with a matching vest, lace rompers, short dresses, pencil skirts and a jacket with a pocket square, inspired by Garcia. "Can you believe it? I went from being on the road with Britney going, 'Let's make fun skirts!' to a pocket square."

CRISPIN & BASILIO
After a year of growth, Donny Barrios is ready to pop the Champagne. His line, Crispin & Basilio, sells at Neiman Marcus and Intermix, and the former men's wear designer, who was born in Manila and educated at the Fashion Institute of Technology, is beginning to build on a look of softness and mobility mixed with tailoring. "L.A., for me, has always been more of a party scene," he said. "We have already sold at our New York markets, so the pressure is released. Now, we are ready to celebrate in a way that would be appropriate to our customer." His presentation at a Culver City art gallery will be a showcase for 12 looks from his 75-piece collection, which wholesales from $100 to $298 and was inspired by the lesser-known sportswear designs of Charles James, who died in 1978. "He was known for his eveningwear and embellishment, but his sportswear pieces are based on form and architecture and have a consistency that is seasonless," Barrios said. "I want that consistency to inform my line so that we can build a voice." Barrios rose to the challenge of taking the thickest of warm fabrics — wool felts and gabardines — and giving them drape and movement as well as structure in jackets. His signature ivory silk chiffons once again are shaped into voluminous tunics and short dresses. For outerwear, he took the athletic-inspired cropped, hooded jacket and fashioned it in brocade and jacquard, and cut a tailored blazer in terry cloth. "I love to twist fabric into ‘inappropriate' silhouettes," he said. "My men's wear background has given me the uttermost careful respect for designing for women. Sometimes your liabilities can turn out to be your voice."

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