One Night in Tokyo via L.A.

Geishas are typically known for their quiet demeanor in public and avoiding a loud presence. While Maggie Barry's collection shared some of the same fabrics as typical kimonos, shyness and silence were not really present as evidenced by the first outfit, a kimono in black and creme, but worn wide open with leather hot shorts and thigh high boots. The name of the season's line was Geisha a go-go and there were some definite fierce geishas walking the runway.

Maggie's inspiration for the line was Tokyo circa 1960. She wanted the line to evoke images of hipsters gathered in smoke-filled clubs listening to jazz and 'swaying cheek to cheek'. While few of the outfits would have actually been seen in jazz nightclubs back in the '60s, the inspiration definitely flows into the line. In addition to kimonos and silks, there were also touches of shogun warriors with their leather skirts and corsets (OK, shogun warriors didn't wear corsets, but you get the idea.) with burnished metal accents. If there is a negative about the collection, it's that it could be slightly more focused. It seems at times that ANYTHING Japanese fit into the collection: Hello Kitty, jeans, samurais, geishas, tigers, Japanese lanterns. It may have been a stronger line if it had scaled back on the 'everything but the Japanese kitchen sink' and stayed closer to some color and/or style.

The garment lineup started off with black, creme and nude colors and moved into more olive and kiwi mixed with purple and brown. In the middle portion of the show, the colors ran from bright lime green to aqua and orange. There were also a few more subtle colors. One of the more interesting dresses was a black ribbon baby doll dress. If it didn't fit so well, it could have looked like a cheap bunch of ribbons sewn together. But I said if it DIDN'T fit so well. It actually fit beautifully and was an elegant twist on the little black dress. As the line up progressed, there were more elegant dresses in fuchsia, orange and bright fun feels.

As one of the designers at P. KABU, the fashion show held for independent designers at the Pacific Design Center, Maggie Barry is not a well known, big time designer, but her Geisha-a-go-go line was a fun, accessible line with strong potential. Almost every outfit was wearable and could serve as clothing suitable for 'special events, cocktail and daring daytime wear.' She has designed an inspired, fun collection for Fall 2005.

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