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The fashion spotlight shined on Los Angeles this week, giving West Coast designers the perfect stage for their imaginations — sophisticated ladies, Latin lovelies, incurable flirts and so much more.<br><br><br><br>David Cardona: While being...

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The fashion spotlight shined on Los Angeles this week, giving West Coast designers the perfect stage for their imaginations — sophisticated ladies, Latin lovelies, incurable flirts and so much more.

This story first appeared in the November 6, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

David Cardona: While being young has myriad advantages in Los Angeles, for David Cardona, experience — 10 years of it — is finally paying off. The former engineer spent the last five years quietly building his business, catering to sophisticated clients and a handful of celebs with his simple, elegant eveningwear. But can Cardona also meet the needs of a wider market?

In a word: Yes. The collection he sent out proved he’s finally found the perfect balance between fresh styling and familiar classics, all tempered with his signature razor-sharp tailoring. There was plenty of silk twill and clean-cut charmeuse, and his sexy leathers skimmed the body. But it was the subtle details that really stood out. A beige suede skirt, for example, featured a dropped waistline that curved seductively around the hips, while a belted canvas motorcycle jacket topped a striped godet skirt that swished around the model’s knees as she walked the Pollack-like paint-splattered runway. Even in his sassier moments — a V-neck minidress covered in icy blue beads — he retained a certain refinement keeping the hemline at a more sophisticated than saucy height.

Eduardo Lucero: No girls allowed. While such a sign doesn’t mark Eduardo Lucero’s Beverly Boulevard atelier, it might as well. The Cuban-American designs with women in mind, particularly the Latina ideal who makes no apologies for being curvy and uber glam. Nor does he make apologies for loving a little beaded sparkle or plunging necklines or even the va-va-voom of red and hot pink played together. New to his liquid charmeuse or lacey diva gowns were handkerchief hems and plenty of strategically placed lace insets with red-carpet appeal. Even the looks that could work before sunset didn’t dare edge into casual, for example, an olive and tangerine floral blouse wrapped in a boned red corset. Pants, a widening category in Lucero’s repertoire, were flared or tapered and could easily fulfill other areas of a busy socialite’s life.

Martinmartin: Eric and Diane Moss Martin, husband and wife, have a reputation for their intensive methods of manipulating fabric. They do that “a twist here, a tuck there” thing really well, but it’s time to move on. At their show Sunday night, they showed many of the same pieced T-shirts, layered, raw-edged skirts and fencing-style jackets that they’ve been doing for seasons. Still, the designers’ stoic palette of black, white and olive suited the pretty long, silk charmeuse slipdresses, one with a tres-glam loop of fabric at the hem to hook around the wrist — the better to negotiate the red carpet. The slim pants were great, too, as well as the blouson jackets shown with cuffed cargo pants and the olive minimalist jumpsuit. But it’s definitely time to retire all those jackets with tricky cutouts in the back.

Tree: On a rooftop above Hollywood Boulevard and L.A.’s urban sprawl, design duo Beverly Klein and Theresa McAllen created a whimsical forest with slide-projected sorbet-hued leaves, green turf and tree stumps — the perfect backdrop to their pretty spring lineup. They dolled up beige suits with candy-colored embroidery, trimmed girly handpainted silk dresses in ribbons and slipped a delicate Twenties dress over culottes. While some of it looked a tad familiar, for the most part, these are just the sort of clothes any flirty girl-at-heart would love.

Petro Zillia: Inspiration may have started with cutesy vintage figurines but it took a turn somewhere, and the results looked like Heidi on acid. Yosi Drori and Nony Tochterman, the husband-and-wife duo behind Petro Zillia, have always relished nuclear color and graphic patterns, qualities not enough of their peers fully embrace — even Angelenos love black, after all. But there’s no getting around the fact after several seasons in the limelight, folkloric ruffles and tiers no longer feel fresh. Still, shown to the strains of blaring Brazilian pop, there was something infectious about the sweet, pretty drawstring skirts with multicolored frills peeking out beneath their hems, the flirty sundresses and the ruffled patchwork mini worn with a striped boatneck sweater.

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