Morgane LeFay Fall 2005 - The Mists of Runway

How many designers have you heard of that would do their very first Mercedes-Benz Fashion Show after being in business for 22 years? New York designer Liliana Casabal is the mastermind behind Morgane LeFay.

Born in Argentina, Casabal has been designing clothes since she was 16 years old. A balladeer draper, Morgane LeFay incorporates mysticism, and architectural modesty into her Baudelaire-inspired collection, that is both dark and somber, much like her namesake; Morgane LeFay (King Arthur's moody sister whose low-down scheming ends in his demise, and the destruction of Camelot). 'Are we going to see sword fighting and gowns from the Renaissance?' A curious audience member spouted as lights dimmed and the first slew of models came strutting down the runway.

A black silk chiffon long skirt of intricacy, black velvet lace-up top, and black silk chiffon jacket with pleated train and high collar. Is it no wonder that Morgane LeFay attracts such clients as Bjork, whose voice, perhaps coincidently, was heard bellowing in the background. Also spotted on the scene was fellow designer Petro Zillia, her pink head of curls could be seen mingling with the crowd.

The procession of the show was much like the progression of the pieces it was allocating. Invoking a quiet moodiness, one got the sense that they were escaping into the peaceful landscape of an imagined prairie: midnight blue wool jersey, short vest, white cotton shirt, black crochet tie, followed by a blue/ gray harris tweed plaid shirt with back neck and shoulder inserts. The line was accesorized with black hats, and rough Argentinean boots; a new item that Morgane Le Fay will be carrying in her stores this season. One could argue whether it was the ties, or the plaid skirts, or their combination with the simplistic black hats that placed Morgane's girls in an Amish ' quot; schoolgirl style arena.

Perhaps Ms. LeFay should have incorporated the runway shenanigans of Alexander McQueen (who daringly had paint thrown on Shalom Harlow back in the 90's.) After all, a horse and buggy might have made for an interesting prop.

The collection careens with rigorous elegance: an ivory duchess satin gown with draped skirt, ivory silk chiffon floor length dress, long ivory duchess satin gown with open back. One could hear the wedding bells loud and clear, and there is no doubting Morgane LeFay's background as a wedding dress designer. Make no mistake, the woman knows how to build a dress ' quot; and even though she has never had an official show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, her store in Santa Monica has been around for over 10 years.

Managing to capture the spirit of Los Angeles, Ms. LeFay is not afraid of experimenting. Mixing chiffon with tweed the Morgane LeFay spring collection gives one the sense that, with exploration comes great freedom.

Photos by Getty Images

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