By  on October 11, 2006

Evisu
This Japanese denim brand, based in Hong Kong and marketed from the U.K., started in 1990 with a collection of 14-oz. selvage denim jeans and has evolved into full women's and men's collections. After its introduction in the U.K. market in 1996 and the U.S. market in 1999, the brand began to show in Milan. For its first runway show in the fashion-forward Los Angeles denimscape, Evisu will highlight its full range of women's and men's products, from Japanese selvage jeans (the Heritage Collection) to the Triple E line (Italian-produced denim) and the Donna collection for women, which is designed by Bonita Newby. Fashion week will also mark the debut of a limited-edition collection of 1,000 pairs of jeans codesigned with Evisu's one-time brand consultant, Adriano Goldschmied.

Candice Held
In addition to creating the one-of-a-kind pieces made with recycled scarves that have caught on with the celebrity set (Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson are fans), Candice Held incorporates original prints in her feminine line, Candice Held Vintage. Held, a former dancer and freelance wardrobe stylist, is inspired by a love of color, vitality, elegance and fine details. She honed her skills at the New York Fashion Academy in her hometown of Seattle, and her sketches for each design are represented on the hangtags.

Tart
Expanding upon the supersoft draped T-shirts that made it a commercial success, Tart now has a collection that includes select prints — a rich, exotic botanical leaf and a floral pattern — to complement the solids and highlight the fit. Inspired by Seventies Halston style, Tart has come into its own with an evolved vision that's ripe to be showcased in a runway show. From a brand-growth perspective, Jamie Finegold, chief executive officer of JD Fine & Co. (parent of the Tart brand), knew the time had arrived. "The right team was in place, the collection has garnered good press and demand for Tart at the retail level has skyrocketed. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios is the ideal venue to experience Tart as it is intended to be seen," she said.Life & Death
The designers of Antik Denim, Philippe Naouri and Alexandre Caugant, have joined forces with artist Cynthia Tello to create Life & Death, which made its debut at the Project trade show in Las Vegas in August. The lifestyle collection of T-shirts, dresses and knits uses cottons and hemp embellished with embroidery and details such as glass and bone buttons. "Our line is very earthy," explained Tello. "We incorporate concepts from anatomy and biology into each design. We want to assimilate a scientific perspective into the world of fashion. We go through an incubation process with our designs until they bloom."

Kushcush
Already a successful swimwear line selling at Henri Bendel, Kushcush will introduce a ready-to-wear collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios. Designer Kerry Cushman, a former advertising executive who launched the line with her husband, was inspired by the early Eighties, which she calls "one big trip down memory lane." Films like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "Sixteen Candles" inform her fun, girly clothes. One black and gold group is a tribute to the band AC/DC, which she had on steady rotation as she designed the collection.

Balans
"It was important for me to introduce the line during L.A. Fashion Week because Los Angeles is my home — I grew up here and the line is a reflection of me," said Balans designer Alison Zimmerman, pictured here wearing her washed silk strapless disco dress. "I am inspired by a woman's body, how she moves and how a fabric like habotai silk complements that movement — it's feminine, and sexy," she said. Her collection of dresses, lingerie, tunics, camis and jackets — all hand-washed for a softer hand — incorporates colors from nature like ash, rust, ivy and ice. Raw edging and hand-wrinkled treatment, paired with the high-quality fabric, create a laid-back luxury.

Thrive
Thrive, founded in March 2005, is a distinctive line that fuses exotic, high-quality fabrics such as silk, silk-chiffon and lace with detail-rich designs. Thrive incorporates the contributions of up-and-coming Los Angeles area painters, musicians, graphic designers and graffiti artists into high-fashion, design-driven pieces. The subtle incorporation of graffiti and screen printing adds an edgy street undertone to the black, white and metallic pieces. It is a dichotomy that captures the clash of high-fashion glamour with street casualwear as seen in Los Angeles, believes creative director Jacqueline Lavaun, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in L.A.

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