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From Laguna Beach to the runway

By sriktemp

Section: Arts

March 21, 2008

diverse-city-3-21-08-final_page_4_image_0001.jpgIs The Hills star and Laguna Beach alum Lauren Conrad the socialite-cum-designer of her generation à la Tory Burch and Diane von Furstenberg?

This may be unlikely if her Fall 2008 collection, which debuted at her first runway show during Mercedes-Benz Los Angeles Fashion Week, is any indication.

The collection features the usual autumnal color palette of olive green, maroon, burnt orange with some black and white mixed in for good measure. The collection features a number of comfy, flowing tops and mini dresses, as well as more structural cocktail dresses. However this is hardly ground breaking. While Conrad displayed her ability to reflect the current state of fashion, whether or not she can actually determine fashion is yet to be decided.

Conrad told the Daily News that her collection was influenced by her recent trip to Paris as a Teen Vogue intern. While the hair and the accessories (i.e. berets, veiled headpieces and dainty gloves) were dead on in terms of lending a French air to the show, the clothing itself failed to reflect this European influence. The collection appeared to be more a reflection of Conrad’s upbringing in laid-back California and felt rather uninspired. Her full-length strapless dress with a twisted knot in front has a beach-bum feel to it that has already been claimed by C & C California.

Her other pieces were not much better in terms of originality. One outfit consisted of a long sweater wrap which was cinched at the waist worn over black leggings with a black belt, an ensemble that has been seen on the likes of Sienna Miller and Lindsay Lohan for over a year now.

Despite the overall mundane feel of the collection, there were a few interspersed pieces, which suggested that Conrad is not completely lacking in creativity. The stand out piece of the collection was a long-sleeved black-and-white mini dress with printed flowers and a plunging v-neck front. Perhaps this piece only stands out when viewed with the rest of the collection, but this dress was her best attempt at capturing that je ne sais quoi that makes Paris the fashion capital of the world.

The show also mustered up enough Parisian glam to end on a high note. The last model to strut down the runway wore a retro halter dress, consisting of a black bustier top and a two-tiered, flouncy bottom, cinched at the waist by a black bow belt.

However, this piece is not striking enough to make one peg Conrad as “the next big thing.” Her collection lacked the creativity that gives birth to such iconic items, such as von Furstenberg’s jersey knit wrap dress. While the wrap dress has been imitated today by everyone from BCBGMaxAzria to Old Navy, von Furstenberg was the first and even now the discerning viewer can distinguish her dresses from the others.

Nicky Hilton, on the other hand, may be one socialite worth keeping an eye on. Hilton debuted her Nicolai by Nicky Hilton collection a mere two hours after Conrad’s show, presenting a refreshingly edgier look. Of the two, Hilton is more likely to reach the heights of product iconicism, which she already has achieved to a small degree with the line of bowling bag-inspired purses she created for Tokyo designer Samantha Thavasa.diverse-city-3-21-08-final_page_4_image_0002.jpg

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