FRESH STARTS

Call it the West Coast’s version of New York’s South of Seventh. On Friday night, the first-ever New Arrivals show brought together a coalition of five young design firms at a downtown gallery space called The Lab. Among the most noteworthy were Gladys & Jeanell, Michelle Montano and Kimme Buzzelli for Showpony.
Even though Gladys, one-half of the design duo Gladys & Jeanell, holds a day job as a sales associate at Fred Segal, she and her partner still found the time to whip up their debut collection. The duo focused their efforts on wearable black tops in chiffon, mesh and jersey, pairing them with black boy-cut panties and fishnets.
Michelle Montano, one of the most experienced of the group, showed a compilation that unfortunately veered toward the cheap and gaudy. An exception was her black-on-black striped nylon one-shoulder dress with side closures and a raw-edged slit skirt. Meanwhile, her black off-the-shoulder glitter minidress looked like something Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex and the City” would love.
But Kimme Buzzelli for Showpony was the highlight of the evening. Buzelli, a Chicago native whose previous incarnations include painter and vintage-clothing store owner, is now a buyer for Wasteland, the hip vintage shop on Melrose, as well as proprietor/curator for Showpony, an art collective/clothing space in the artsy Echo Park ‘hood. Her distressed and tattered vintage fabrics were cut into looks such as a mesh winged-sleeve blouse paired with a black and pale-peach circle skirt as well as a pieced-together dress consisting of a peach-and-black striped blouse, a wide, torn lace waistband and a black raw-edged skirt. But it was the theatrical presentation — the first model inched down the runway shyly, the second tripped down seemingly drunk, the third marched angrily with a butcher knife — that made the audience sit up and take notice.

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