Owning the Runway One Semester at a Time
DIG follows fashion student Basil Malicsi as he ventures into Hollywood with his latest collection
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Updated: Thursday, May 26, 2011 02:05
Bright lights suddenly emerged from the dim lit room. They shined on the white ready-made runway carpet placed in the center of the Playhouse club, located at the nightlife capital itself, Hollywood Boulevard.
Vibrant hues of pink, orange, red, green, blue and yellow on sequined and silky materials sauntered down the runway to the soundtrack of Florence + the Machine. Bottles of Corona were ever-so present, clasped in the hands of the audience, signifying the celebrated holiday of Cinco de Mayo.
Despite the holiday, the occasion held on this particular day at the Playhouse was not centered on Mexican food, music or culture. Instead, it revolved around local independent artists such as 23-year-old CSULB textiles and clothing design student, Basil Malicsi.
Prior to the runway show, Malicsi is in another room of the club preparing to showcase his fourth collection of elaborately embellished garments. He isn't frantic or nervous, as you would expect from a typical student designer presenting in Hollywood; he is calm and ready.
"I've done quite a few shows so I wasn't stressed. I was only stressed during the morning that I might be late but other than that, I was just taking my time," explained Malicsi. "I was feeling pretty confident and all my friends came and they really supported, so that helped," he said with a soft smile.
Towering thin models snacked on Snickers bars as they were being spruced up with pre-show makeup. Their hair was uniquely constructed into updos with elaborate braids that outdid the fanciness of any Prom hairstyle ever seen on a young girl.
Meanwhile, a number of photographers stood around the club mingling with other attendees as they simultaneously scoped out the featured work of the other artists. They awaited the start of the fashion show by looking around at the various forms of pop art, digital art and graffiti art, placed on the circular tables and benches throughout the club.
One professional photographer in particular, Ben Miller, was in the corner of the club diligently shooting away at a photo booth lined with a black backdrop. Guests lined up for the free photo booth and covered themselves in stylish props such as retro glasses, a vintage red leather jacket, and an oversized black faux fur coat.
Malicsi was one of the two fashion designers chosen to participate in this year's Los Angeles RAW: Natural Born Artists event. RAW is an independent organization whose mission is to give emerging artists the opportunity to gain exposure through their hosted events, seminars and workshops. The event was sponsored by Pierre Water, which was displayed on the tables of the club and in ice chests for attendees to take for free. Malicsi was contacted to be included in the show directly by the event coordinator through modelmayhem.com, a well-known website commonly used in the fashion industry.
"It's a website with tools that enables young designers, photographers, makeup artists and hair stylists to build their portfolios," said Malicsi. He also was able to attain all of the glamorous models used in the show from the very same website, free of service. "It's a way for them to build their portfolios too."
Feeling inspired after watching the movie about surrealist painter Frida, Malicsi started conceptualizing his nine-piece collection in February and began to produce the garments in late March.
"Frida stuck out the most to me because she was really elicit and vibrant with her sense of style - in a turban and long flowy skirts. For some people it's a lot of work and takes a lot of confidence to pull off but with her, its just effortless," explained Malicsi in a passionate tone.
The audience's eyes focused on Malicsi's garments as each piece hit the runway displaying powerful strides of color. Camera flashes after camera flash went off instantly as photographers attempted to capture every angle of the clothes and the models draped in them.
"The long gold dress was my favorite – it was so beautiful!," exclaimed attendee Grace Gleason after the final garment glided down the runway.
Malicsi's collection consisted of dressy long gowns all primarily designed with sparkles, feathered trims or a sequined pattern. According to Malicsi, the white-feathered pieces in the collection were inspired directly by Frida's famous self-portrait, "Diego on my Thoughts".
"There are so many loud colors and prints. I didn't want it to be clashing so the white breaks the whole collection by making it more mellow and balancing it out," continued Malicsi.
Off the runway, Malicsi is currently a top five finalist for the Style Network's How Do I Look Young Designers Search. The chosen finalists of the show get the chance to design an outfit for the show's host, Jeannie Mai.
"The process is that she is going to wear it on the show and we're going to get a picture, rolling credits, and a CD of her wearing the dress that we designed for her. It's a great opportunity to get our names out there," said Malicsi. "It's been really fun to be apart of. I just did my fitting with her the other week and they were filming us, I was nervous!"
Malicsi is also awaiting the near-future launch of his clothes to be sold online at erynz.com. Price points for his garments will range from $80 to $450 for specially made pieces. Nonetheless, each article of clothing will only be produced in quantities of three or four to sustain their uniqueness.
"I don't want others to be wearing all the same thing, so we want to keep it the minimum amount of pieces."
It was just a few years ago when Malicsi was treading away on his grandmother's old sewing machine back home in the Philippines. Now, he is making a name for himself in the realm of fashion, Hollywood, and even television. He acknowledges every experience with a humble attitude and a sense of gratitude towards the people who make everything possible for him.