Theatrical Dressings: The clothes were certainly not the thing in Parachute’s fantasy unveiling of its fall line at the Palace last week. The cotton separates, Kabuki-inspired beltings, and oversized detachable pocket solutions were almost completely upstaged by the creative vision of Steven Arnold, one of Los Angeles’s most iconiconoclastic forces.
The theatrically choreographed fashion extravaganza, billed as Gomorrah Borealis, was written and directed by Arnold, whose cosmic other-worldliness alluded to ancient rituals and mythical dream states. His tribal masks, pyramid- shaped headpieces, and Cocteau-like set underscored a sense of the mystical, the rites of passage that transcend temporary cultural moorings. Gomorrah Borealis was populated by the disciplined troops of the Los Angeles Ballet, who responded with brio to Jennifer Narin-Smith’s hypnotic choreography.
The entire event pivoted around a musical score culled from epic chariot films of the fifties and sixties, including the Ten Commandments and Ben Hur. The SRO crowd ranged from colorful paste-and bauble glam queens to handsome Capri- panted young men sporting tuxedo shirts and Egyptian eye makeup. By comparison, Parachute’s fall line of simple cotton coordinates faded into the background, eclipsed by Arnold’s innovative theatrics and a fascinating collection the city’s most fashionable cognoscenti.