Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicked off yesterday at Smashbox Studios in Culver City. And if L.A.'s fashion week has been underwhelming to some in the past, this season isn't likely to change that perception, with a slightly smaller lineup of shows (22 rather than last season's 23) and some mid-profile standbys (like Kevan Hall, Sue Wong, and Eduardo Lucero) missing from the designer roster.
Nonetheless, the program is sticking to—even punching up—one of its classic ingredients: celebrities, although not necessarily the A-list kind. The Pussycat Dolls, Lauren Conrad, Jenna Jameson, Traci Lords, and Nicky Hilton are among the folks showing or participating.
In a story called “Our Tabloid Runways” yesterday, The Los Angeles Times pointed out that Fashion Week here is generally more about stunts and celebrities than about high-drama fashion: “Like a television network shuffling its fall lineup for maximum effect, event organizers IMG Worldwide and Smashbox continue to dispense with the drama in favor of sizzle. The result? A week long on sex and celebrity, but short on the sort of bankable—or even recognizable—designers needed to give the week resonance beyond the next cycle of supermarket tabloids.”
The Times also quotes Smashbox cofounder Davis Factor chalking up some of the lackluster feeling of the season to fallout from the far-reaching writers strike.