The schedule included seven fashion designers, with shows alongside art installations, dance performances by the Hysterica Dance companies, and a short film-festival of fashion related films projected onto a large screen in the courtyard. Walking into the cathedral itself, stripped of everything but doorless confessionals, I was awed by the feel of empty space. The runway was centered down what was once the main processional aisle. The empty space, high-arching baroque style columns and a geodesic patterned vaulted ceiling illuminated by club-style lighting, lent an ominous feeling to the nighttime event. Combined with loud music, I stared to get a giddy feeling, as though I was trespassing, or going to a rave at an old, abandoned warehouse.
As I took my seat, I found myself staring at none other than Mayor Villaraigosa, who appeared to support the fledgling artists and growing downtown renaissance the event featured. He was quoted by the LA Times as wishing fashion week would return from Culver City to downtown, stating, “this is where the industry is.” Also in the audience was Bobby Brown, former R&B singer, as well as a few other familiar famous faces.
As my first show, I was uncertain as to what to expect or how to judge the collection, which was unlike anything I had seen on the “Fashion Network.” However, the theme of the collection was certainly drawn from the surroundings, as Mafiosa-like widows - dressed in all black with lace head scarves - with drawn, pale faces strutted down the runway. Either for shock or comedic value, or perhaps both, Lucero presented a couple of modern ‘nun’ looks, with models sporting a white headband and drawn black hood.
One piece, likely the signature of the collection, stood out, even to the untrained eye, as a masterpiece. The crowd oohhed and aahhed over a big, black flowing matt jersey gown, made of cotton and accentuated by a chrome horse-bit. While the front high collar made it appear to be a priest gown, a turn of the model revealed a wedding-length train and naughtily low bare back.
I have read that Lucero was a designer and tailor of custom gowns in a former life, which may explain the tailored, beautifully precise fit of each piece. Thankfully, the show did not linger on the Catholic, rosary toting theme for long, as tight, all-black frocks gave way to full-bodied, voluminous black and white evening dresses. The models seemed to float down the runway, perhaps Lucero’s interpretation of modern angels. Light and lovely, with tightly pulled back hair, the styles seemed to carry themselves.
Lucero also broke from the black and white overtones to celebrate Easter-like pastels, as spring is a season of color. Sage green, rose red and laser-cut lavender silk, as well as plunging backs and short skirts, made the line seem wearable and accessible. Ruffles, sheer blouses, and navy skirts with large brass buttons demonstrated the line's versatility and mobility. What church girl doesn’t love to get a little dressed up now and again?
As the show finished, the crowd roared and rose to their feet. Even the mayor looked more than pleased. “Like a Virgin” may have been the initial theme for the show, but Lucero proved his expertise and experience to this first time fashion reporter.