Spring is when Californians shed winter layers and show skin. Whether they featured hippie-chic tops, bikinis or denim, designers at LA’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios (and numerous off-site shows) took care to play up their regional vibe with body skimming fabrics that complemented shimmering bronzed limbs. The best of the best celebrated the rites of the coming season in its purest sense.

Here some of the week’s highlights:

FRANKIE B: BEYOND DENIM
At Frankie B "Stepford" went sexy with chintz-inspired floral prints on form-fitting blazers paired with matching hot shorts. Who knew the kind of patterns you would expect to see on grandma’s couch or Chinatown luggage sets could be transformed into girly mini suits and bikinis that brought to mind beautiful hippie girls? Designer Daniella Clarke stayed true to her hip-hugging signature jeans, but offered them in melons, greens and other whimsical hues. Reminiscent of idyllic Santa Cruz in the ’60s, the collection epitomized flower power.

CUSTO BARCELONA: CRUISIN’ ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON
Custo Barcelona’s tastefully psychedelic spring collection sparkled in the tones of sunsets and the sea. Designer Custo Dalmau’s penchant for playfully "clashing" bold, ethnic patterns on the most comfortable fabrics took the casual, 1960s-inspired collection to luxe-yet-trippy vacation glamour—West Coast style. Tan and tattooed models strutted in cutout one-piece swimsuits that were just revealing enough. Shades of ice blue were the dominant color palette. As with other lines at the LA shows, fashions steered away from the predictable, and transported the audience to faraway places with true Custo flair.

ASHLEY PAIGE: CALIFORNIA DREAM GIRLS
Walk down Hollywood Boulevard or Rodeo Drive, and you’ll see Angelenos have forgone tweed for jeans and cowboy boots this fall. Swimwear designer Ashley Paige raised the bar, spontaneously pairing western boots with sexy bathing suits and knit cover-ups. There is no debate: she has established Ellie Mae of "The Beverly Hillbillies" as a fashion icon with her spring line. People in their seats sang along to the aptly selected soundtrack that included "Harper Valley PTA" and Nancy Sinatra’s "These Boots Were Made for Walking." Models decked in two-piece sets that were ruffled, rainbowed, knit and gingham-checked walked orphan puppies—up for adoption in the collections programs—on the runway. Paige’s vision captured both fashion nostalgia and that special California "thing" the Beach Boys celebrate in their songs. She even playfully paid homage to Dogtown style with bold, knee-high striped tube socks, which peeked out from the tops of sassy kicker boots.

ROCK & REPUBLIC: ROCK ON!
With its celebrity following and international appeal, Rock & Republic turned up the heat at its Cadillac-sponsored show, which was attended by Paris Hilton, Victoria "Posh" Beckham and rap star Eve. Designer Michael Ball and his team took what they do best to its most risqué evocation. Models had to contain themselves in their tops. With tight denim minis at barely legal lengths and cropped jeans, the skin-baring collection proved that jeans should be "rocked" with personal style and a sense of the past, not just worn. Two classic Caddies parked on the runway helped pay tribute to Malibu and the Sunset Strip. Rock & Republic clearly understands that history is synonymous with freedom and rebellion through a very iconic wardrobe staple.

MARTIN MARTIN: COLOR AND CLASS
Martin Martin wowed LA Fashion Week with their "Anger and Love" collection. The husband and wife team elevated their status as avant-garde artists who juxtapose architectural elements and beautifully shaped fabrics into refined creations. Usually a stark study in contrasts of black and white, the collection included striking color this season, which worked to its advantage. The two offered a hint of bright fuschia and dark brown, which complemented their inherent eye for unrefined beauty in clothing–an unexpected drape here, an origami fold there. Their ability to combine European tailoring with LA’s disregard for the staid was most evident in a red satin gown strategically paired with designer athletic footwear. The entire show was infused with a modern and global attitude and it perfectly mixed the urban and the urbane.

— Martine Bury, Valarie Anderson