L.A.’S TURN: The weeks-long series of fashion proceedings that is Los Angeles Fashion Week made a glamorous debut Thursday night with “Designer and the Muse,” an event put on by á LA Mode Productions at the Sofitel Los Angeles. Among the designers who attended with muses in tow were Mike Vensel, whose muse for the evening was Karrueche Tran; Lloyd Klein, who was paired with Ivy Levan; Walter Mendez, who teamed with Sarah Stage, and Michael Costello, whose match was Jodi Smith.

In a silk charmeuse dress, Tran was playing the role of muse admirably, but Vensel said his design inspiration is often not from a particular person. “I really get a lot of inspiration from nature and going hiking and looking at animals and kind of studying how their fur is or how their skin is,” he said. “A muse can be so many more things than just a person.”

This story first appeared in the October 7, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On the opposite end of the design inspiration spectrum, Costello almost always has a person in mind. “I love models. I’m obsessed with models,” he said. Specifically, Costello continued, “My heart will always belong to Esther Cañadas. I love her. Every time I look at her pictures, it’s an inspiration.”

With another L.A. Fashion Week getting under way, designers took a moment to express their thoughts on how it could be better organized. “There has to be some sort of a new coalition formed, but nobody has really come forth with the same strength as IMG,” said Sue Wong. “Everybody’s off doing little happenings here, little happenings there, and I’m so independent I just do my own thing, and I have been doing that for years.”

Louis Verdad concluded that the fashion industry ignores the L.A. scene at its peril. “L.A.’s getting very, very, very strong. I think we’re moving into a direction where there is a lot of creativity,” he said.

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