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July 10 2014

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Surfer, Skater, Chola, Star

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For many in fashion, L.A. is a full coast away from where the real action is. “Style in L.A. is sort of an oxymoron,” admits former L.A. Times writer and journalist Melissa Magsaysay. “It’s jeans and it’s T-shirts. But what’s wrong with that?” In hopes of changing the conversation surrounding style in the City of Angels, Magsaysay penned City of Style: Exploring Los Angeles Fashion, from Bohemian to Rock.

While following the contemporary market in L.A., the author realized that mass market brands were referencing L.A.’s ease and attitude as inspiration—without necessarily wanting to admit it. “No one will acknowledge it because it’s not Dior and Vuitton. But to me, it doesn’t have to be those labels and brands to be stylish, per se.” City of Style combines street-style photography with interviews with some of the city’s reigning tastemakers, ranging from Monique Lhuillier and Trina Turk to Phillip Lim and even Slash. Magsaysay makes the case for L.A.’s own native style archetypes, which need no reference to Paris prêt-à-porter or New York cool: its skaters, surfers, rockers, cholas, bohemians, and glamour-pusses of the old Hollywood screen-star mold. “They’re not trends but actual looks that came about from subcultures, music, and counterculture—what I think are inherent and totally unique to the city,” she says. They hint at an L.A. beyond the old jeans-and-tees cliches, and according to stylist/designers (and City of Style subjects) Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, they may prove more influential than many yet admit—even outside city limits. “In the past decade, L.A. has really come into its own in having a distinctive and relevant fashion sensibility,” the duo tells Style.com.

City of Style: Exploring Los Angeles Fashion, from Bohemian to Rock is available at Barnes and Noble May 22.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

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Dept. of Culture