If you're trying to get a bead on what constitutes modern Californian style, look to Raquel Allegra. Based in Los Angeles, Allegra emphasizes soft tailoring and relaxed gauze and jersey separates that conjure the distinctive SoCal ease. The earthy vibe is reflected in her signature mottled overdyes and in the raking technique she employs to create shredded effects. She uses the T-shirt as a jumping-off point for many of her designs, and her tie-dye prints reference hippie history without in the least reiterating the look. Allegra has apparently zero interest in clothes that are vintage-y; her brand is recognizably Californian but in its own, current way.
This season, Allegra's big innovation was print. A doodled line print was deployed to graphic effect, showing up on soft linen suiting, silk dresses and blouses, and even a bustier. Elsewhere, Allegra created a cool, irregular polka-dot print and another one based on her trademark shredded tee. She also continued to develop her tie-dyes, creating crisp patterns by using chiffon as a canvas. Likewise, Allegra worked to define her shapes, albeit tentatively; some of her sharper pieces included sexy mid-calf tank dresses with dropped waists, oversize jackets, and nightshirt-inspired cotton button-downs. Her shapes still need work—refining the silhouettes would instantly elevate the look of Allegra's collections. She's a clever enough designer to figure out how to accomplish a little refinement in an unfussy, idiomatically Californian way.
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