While raging wildfires in Southern California delayed several editors from getting to Los Angeles on time and a mass-transit strike resulted in terrible traffic even by LA standards, LA Fashion Week went on October 26 through 31 with relatively little drama.

The shows in LA are split between two major venues and organizations. Big gun IMG's 7th on Sixth took over the Standard Downtown hotel for several days of shows. These shows were spread over four venues there and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. Meanwhile local photo studio Smashbox had its own brand of fashion week in its studios in Culver City, a half-hour drive from the Standard.

The two rival organizations have not been able to find any common ground in the fight for fashion supremacy in LA. As a result, schedules often overlapped, causing editors to race back and forth between the two venues, or, more often than not, many editors and stylists chose to skip certain shows rather than brave the traffic.

Celebrity spottings were sparse, and very often, shows were poorly attended, with venues often half filled. Still, local designers were optimistic that LA will become a fashion capital with its own brand of style. "We're all trying to make something happen here," says Yohanna Logan, designer of LA label Shawn. "As long as it’s exciting to watch, it will become more legitimate," she adds.

On the runways, what LA Fashion Week lacked in originality it made up in salability. Sexy, casual styles and bright colors were the key trends.

Here are some highlights:

Best known for the fantastic fit of his long-legged, low-slung pants, Alvin Valley has quickly become a force in the American fashion scene. Born in New York but raised in Spain, the Cuban-American has become a celebrity favorite. His fan base has grown to include such figures as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Cameron Diaz. Highlights of the collection, showed at Smashbox Studios, included super-high corset waist pants and fabulous skinny jeans. A corset theme reigned throughout the show, which featured corseted bathing suits worn with a white satin blazer. Pastel colored color-blocked jersey dresses in taupe, yellow and pink were a sexy counterpoint to the boned, corseted looks.

The New York-based quartet As Four is a staple on the Manhattan party scene. They’re known for their avant-garde outlook to fashion. So, it was a bit of a surprise that they took their vision to Smashbox in LA, having showed in New York in September. The collection featured lots of gold, Swarovski crystals and paillettes, perfect for a Hollywood gala, but what As Four is most interested in is shape and structure, and the collection was a showcase for their innovative designs. Teardrop-shaped pieces of fabric were sewn together in a variety of ways, including drapey tank tops and mini dresses. Pants that billowed at the ankles, a signature style for the group, looked right in a season where so much attention is being given to new shapes in pants.
The second half of the show turned weird as models danced and twisted down the runway fully wrapped in skintight catsuits that even covered their faces. And for a finale, the company pit bull Powder took a bow on the runway, wearing pink fairy wings.

It's a neo mod world for designer Yohanna Logan, a staple on the LA fashion scene who is relatively unknown outside her hometown. Logan's collection for her label Shawn blended mod silhouettes and a red/black/gray palette with digital inspired graphics that were screenprinted on blazers, trousers and more. Leg warmers worn over heels were a very LA styling detail. Polka-dot sweaters and matching legwarmers, as well as a gray polka dot dress, were hot looks.

The designer who made her name with beautifully constricted corsets did not show a single one this season. Instead, slouchy sweatshirts in gray with neon accents were sent down the runway to a blazing rock-‘n’-roll soundtrack. The show had a very LA-style beach carnival theme: attendees were given cotton candy at the door and the aroma of suntan lotion and candy wafted through the venue. Models in sun-drenched makeup modeled the very feminine collection that featured lots of ruffles, miniskirts and blousy, slouchy tops. In addition to the sweatshirt fabrics, the designer blended pastel tweeds with unique pastel umbrella-print fabrics that looked fun, sexy and perfect for a day at the beach.

We never heard of her either, but the 24-year-old designer who made her runway debut this season surprised editors with one of the best shows of the season, thanks to its theatrical mood, great models and interesting designs. The show opened with Tranchi's neo-romantic boyfriend in a long leather coat singing David Bowie's "Scary Monsters." The collection, which Tranchi explained was inspired by 15th century style and exiled royalty, offered lovely male models wearing body skimming maxi coats, and women in leather pieces, corseted minidresses and beautiful knits that resembled spiderwebs. The collection was a bit on the goth side with a dose of glam rock and a bit of damsel in distress.

It was two shows in one. And while the presentation at the University Club was a bit on the long side, Mason, an LA fashion favorite, proved there is room for her diffusion line mason and her eponymous sportswear collection. Sexy Boy Scout looks, including cute olive green cargo shorts with straps on the butt paired with a fitted button-front top with epaulettes, were favorites. Sexy safari styling included a long tan trench coat, an olive bikini and flowy tanks and culottes in olive green. Earth tone satins, her signature flippy miniskirts, sexy blouson tops and skinny pants were key pieces that were very wearable.
The designer’s collection for mason was shown on a cast of all African-American models. A highlight of the collection was the kelly green satin fabric used in a sexy dress with plunging V-neckline and a ruffled evening dress.

A glitter-covered live drummer opened the show, which really caught our attention. The denim collection, shown at Mercedes-Benz's University Club, was a throwback to the psychedelic ’60s with a soundtrack that included Jefferson Airplane and George Harrison. Frankie B. was one of the first denim makers to birth the major designer label craze several seasons back, thanks to designer Daniella Clarke's attention to fit and detail. This season, the collection for women featured slim fit jeans with details such as cargo pockets and slit back pockets. Sheer ethnic print chiffon fabrics were cut into wispy, flowy tops, and were often paired with jackets, like the pink lemonade colored corduroy fitted blazer that imparted an updated, almost sexy-professional feel. Lurex and gold accents gave the collection a modern feel. Blousy tank tops were very much in step with the relaxed LA mood this season. And models walked the runway in eye-catching pink metallic slouch boots — a perfect topper to the miniskirts and shorts worn on the runway. The show finale featured a white patent leather coat with pink piping. Clarke featured several men on the runway, and while she doesn’t do a menswear collection yet, they may have been a glimpse of what is to come. Skinny, trouser style jeans looked great on the guys.

After a brief hiatus, LA fashion star Freddie Rojas made a comeback with a fresh, exuberant collection that was sexy, colorful and fun. The 16 looks he showed at the Space in the Standard Hotel were designed for the club kid/stylist fashion obsessed guy or girl who wants to push the envelope with fashion: Rojas’ designs are not for the fashion meek. Reversable vintage puffy vests, neon body suits and micro minis were the perfect blend of vintage athletics, the 1980s and club gear that is the designer’s aesthetic. Slouchy, neon fishnet tops with asymmetric hems worm with flippy miniskirts were a nod to the current silhouette that’s all the rage in LA.

This designer, a favorite among the hipster Silverlake crowd, featured a collection at Smashbox Studios that was a bit derivative but very understandable to the LA consumer. Inspired by the glam rock style, and called Stardust on Reality, models strutted down the catwalk in Ziggy Stardust-inspired lightning-bolt makeup. The collection was both glamorous and casual: Satin tuxedo pants were worn with muscle tees, for example. The rock influence was palpable but anything but androgynous. Sexy femme rocker looks included a fringed halter, a tan leather studded corset dress and body-conscious ruched jersey dresses in a palette that ranged from neon to melon, lime and lilac. Ruching was a key element in the collection and the technique was used in sexy off-the-shoulder cocktail dresses.

Inspired by summer holidays in Cornwall, England, Mon Petit Oiseau’s designer Tracy Wilkinson showed a fresh summery collection that was cute, girly and fun. A SoCal beach vibe infused the collection and the vacation theme was reinforced by models walking the runway clutching vintage print suitcases. Beach worn fabrics included denim, kimono print cottons and awning stripes in loose, flowing silhouettes, including drapey tanks. Mini shifts, hot shorts and tees printed with cartoonish, chubby little birds, paisleys and cherries were shown with lots of ruffles and ribbon trims.

Imagine a shipwrecked fashionista, and you'll understand the vibe at Nicole Miller's (Nicolemiller.com) debut collection for her younger line millergirl (PICTURED ABOVE). Neutral colors, rope trimmings and piles of gorgeous silver and gold jewelry — charm necklaces, amulets and delicate pendants were the look. Rope tied drainpipe capri pants, micro miniskirts and oversized blousson tops were key silhouettes. The line mirrors the older Nicole miller collection in inspiration, but is more edgy.

(Edina Sultanik Silver, New York Bureau Chief, Sportswear International)