That didn't stop Kevan Hall from gathering 700 women to gawk at his sleek, spy heroine-inspired fall collection.
It wasn't your average L.A. fashion crowd: no quirky outfits, denim or drunken hipsters. The audience at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel consisted of actresses and powerful ladies-who-lunch, including a stunning 75-year-old Joan Collins.
Former first lady Nancy Reagan, the luncheon's honorary chairwoman, was not in attendance, but the collection showcased sheaths worthy of first lady Michelle Obama, along with structured dresses in tweed and wool and Hall's classic red-carpet creations in earthy shades of ruby, bronze and brown.
"I was inspired by the spy, heroines Emma Peel and Honey West, all those fabulous girls that influenced American fashion," Hall said. "There's a restrained elegance, with the economy."
Well constructed trench coats, belted pencil skirts and a gorgeous black wool A-line dress with zippers snaking up the sides came first, blended in with cheetah jersey dresses accented with leather or fur.
In the audience, actress Virginia Madsen wore a Hall creation in snug-fitting leopard print, and model-actress Molly Sims donned a bright cranberry colored one-shouldered dress custom-designed by Hall for the event and decorated with real, freeze-dried cranberries to promote a new cranberry body wash by Dial.
Waists on the runway came cinched into feminine silhouettes, with silk chiffon spilling out into brown or purple trains in a series of award show-ready gowns. An understated yet lovely red multi-patterned wrap dress in wool had a retro '50s fit and full skirt.
Other standouts included a cowl-necked metallic bronze sheath made out of matelasse quilted fabric, and two back-to-back blood red gowns: one in silk chiffon with a one-shouldered sash, and one strapless with an asymmetrical, geometric neckline.
Hall is also debuting a more day-centric, non couture line for Paul Stanley this year, with pieces "at a contemporary price point, for the working wealthy," Hall said.
The former Halston lead designer had been a mainstay at Mercedes-Benz L.A. Fashion Week, which ended in October after event organizer IMG and Smashbox Studios split from their five-year partnership.
This season, alternate shows and collaborations have popped up all over Los Angeles.
The events range from funky Petro Zillia's noir trunk show to Gen Art and arts collective BOXeight's joint kickoff event for emerging talent to Downtown Los Angeles Fashion Week's "An Evening of 20th Century Glamour" benefiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring stylized photos of Louis Verdad's newest collection.
"I think L.A. Fashion Week will continue," said Hall, smiling at the luncheon. "But this is a different kind of vibe. It's a great setting, beautiful people, shoppers."
The swanky event benefited anti-violence nonprofit the Children's Institute.