4 posts tagged "L.A."
This season, it’s become abundantly clear that designers are trying to break out of the New York fashion week mold. Whether it’s rethinking the standard runway format or forgoing a show altogether, brands are embracing change more so than any time in recent memory—and that’s a good thing. The latest label to buck the system is Ruffian, which will be presenting its Spring ’15 collection in Hollywood on October 27 after years of holding down the Saturday 9 a.m. slot at Lincoln Center.
For designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the spontaneous decision to relocate their show followed a cross-country road trip peppered with trunk shows and press events that ended in Los Angeles, where they accepted a creative residency three months ago. With the help of the L.A. Tourism & Convention Board, the Ruffian boys set up a second studio in the historic Hancock Park neighborhood, and have been working on a lineup—all sourced and produced locally in L.A.—inspired by their new home-away-from-home. And while many forward-thinking talents (with Hedi Slimane being the poster boy, of course) have treated the City of Angels as a laboratory for ideas, few established brands have actually dared to show there until now, so perhaps Ruffian will spark a West Coast movement.
On the eve of NYFW, Style.com spoke with Wolk and Morais about leaving NYFW to show Spring ’15 in California, L.A.’s cultural renaissance, their plans for the future, and more.
Why was showing in L.A. this season the right move for you?
We have always been inspired by our community of artists. Over the last couple of years, many of our most talented fine arts collaborators and collector friends have moved to Los Angeles to show and to live. The West has always been associated with creative freedom and a wide-open landscape. During our three months’ residency here, we have had boundless inspiration, experienced extraordinary enthusiasm for our work, and have had the opportunity to form a fresh expression of our aesthetic within a new cultural context.
Did you know you would end up staying in L.A. after your #ruffianroadtrip?
We decided to cross-country by car after our Fall show, with L.A. being the final destination. At the time, we didn’t know L.A. would become the source of inspiration for our next collection, but sometimes you have to be able to listen to l’air du temps and react. We quickly discovered through our travels that the fashion diaspora was not limited to the geographical boundaries of any one city. The world has changed, and the availability of fashion online has blurred the boundaries of previously established fashion capitals. Now the global experience is informing the future of fashion more than ever. We as designers need to stay on our toes, and keep moving along with our clients. Being stagnant doesn’t seem to be the mode of the time.
Would you agree that L.A. is having a fashion moment?
Absolutely. The mood is palpable. It’s kind of a perfect storm of irreverence, street style, cinematic allure, and unapologetic glamour. Whether it’s a demure late-night dinner at the Sunset Tower, Giorgio’s Disco Saturday nights at The Standard, or a “cool” iced coffee at Intelligentsia on Abbot Kinney, the diversity of the L.A. fashion repertoire and its focus on lifestyle is truly its strength.
Has the city changed your aesthetic in any way?
I think it’s always exciting to be in a new environment when you design. In terms of our aesthetic, we’ve always liked to say we dress the “impeccable rebel,” and that hasn’t changed so much. What has changed is the new environment that we’re in, in terms of different clients and different collaborators who help form the collection.
What can you tell me about your plans for the show and the Spring ’15 collection itself?
We’re going to be showing at Sarah Gavlak’s recently opened gallery in Hollywood on the corner of North Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Sarah is someone we’ve known for quite a while from New York, who also has a gallery in Palm Beach. Her new space is incredible, and she works with a group of artists who we have strong relationships with. We’re still figuring out the actual logistics of the show, but really want to reflect Los Angeles in terms of the way we present it. The collection itself is inspired by the graphics of the city, and you’ll learn more about that as we get closer to the show.
Do you anticipate that showing in L.A. in October will affect your sales in any way?
All of our retailers are totally on board, and we’re going to be doing our market in New York as per usual. Obviously, we had extensive conversations with everyone before making the decision to go ahead with the plan. For buyers, it’s a rolling calendar anyways these days, and they are open to looking at Spring and Fall with different timing. It’s going to be an interesting experiment for us, but at the end of the day, the business element is just as important to us as the art.
Do you plan on staying there, or will you return to NYFW?
Well, New York is where our books and our lives and our apartment and our permanent studio are, but we would like to keep a studio here in Los Angeles. The bicoastal life has been good to us, so you’ll have to stay tuned.
Born out of the desire to craft the finest leather goods in the world, Parabellum has set out to carve its own well-constructed path since 2008. Working most heavily with the American bison, the inventive L.A.-based brand has created leather goods ranging from men’s duffels and women’s clutches to valets and key chains that are anything but precious. Using age-old techniques to give the leather an elegant but still natural feel, each creation is tough, textured, and luxurious—and all with an ode to the relentless spirit of the American West. Just days shy of opening their first stand-alone retail space this Friday on Melrose Avenue, creative director Jason Jones and president Mike Feldman spoke exclusively to Style.com about this important step for the brand, why bison is best, and what we can expect next from this leather pioneer.
Why open the store now?
Mike Feldman: Honestly, this has been our dream and our plan for more than five years. It took a while for us to find the right location, and it took a while for us to get our brand reach to the level where people needed to see the full collection in one location. We have 35 different items and we have 11 different leather colors and there are three different hardware options, so there is a tremendous library of goods that we’re really proud of.
Jason Jones: And to be able to design the furniture and everything and show the brand as a whole, it’s really exciting for us.
Will there be anything exclusive to the store offered?
JJ: We’ve been planning on doing a lot of things that are specific to the store, like special projects and collaborations and more expensive things that might not be able to be carried by other stores.
MF: It allows us to really do a lot of things that we’ve thought about but we never necessarily had the reach to do through wholesale. We can try things like jewelry and clothing.
How would you classify your brand?
JJ: It’s really a new version of American luxury. It’s something that we really haven’t seen in the market, and that’s why we came. We felt like there was a hole.
How do you think your design is different?
JJ: We design everything to last—that’s really a key element of what we do. A lot of the handles are removable and interchangeable, we really look at longevity and how things are going to wear, that’s really important to us. We want things to get better with time, not worse, so that’s a super-important chief goal for us—how it wears and how long it lasts.
MF: You can look at the material first off. Our materials are completely off the grid. The combination of bison and ceramic—certainly when we entered this business, nobody was using either, and we’re using both and putting them together in a way that I think is a little different. Just that juxtaposition of old and new is something we’re very proud of, and I think being a younger brand allows us to not have to repeat the greatest hits of before. We get to actually create with our eyes right now, in this world, with all the information that we have and all the interactions that we have. It allows us to be a little bit different without having to go back to the well of the past. This is our now and these are our glory days, so we can really get into it.
How is sustainability built into your design and production process?
MF: Three ways. One is the fact that our goods are built to last forever. They’re a little bit more expensive because they’re built that way and there’s a cost to that, but they last forever. The second way would be our production. All of our production is right here, it’s 10 minutes from our new store, and we make everything here in L.A. And the third is the materials. The bison leather that makes up the majority of what we do is sourced from free-range animals from North America, and it’s all North American-raised and free-range and not in factory conditions. And hides are shipped to domestic micro-tanneries where everything is tanned to EPA standards. A lot of leathers are done overseas, and there’s a reason 99 percent of the tanneries that existed in this country in 1900 no longer exist here. It’s not that people aren’t using leather, it’s that people are doing a lot of their tanning in other countries where the laws are a little less stringent about how you treat the environment, and we take the environment very seriously.
How has being in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund changed your perspective?
JJ: It’s nice that it connected us to New York, and via the television show, it really connected us to the world, so we have a much wider audience now. It gave us more time and energy to explain the brand to the world, and that was the important thing for us.
MF: We’re L.A. guys, so when we do business in New York, we show up and we leave. The CFDA process is in the middle of the storm, so we get to really see how it works. It inspired us to work harder, to work faster, and to work smarter to be on that level.
MF: We’ve got some really exciting new handbags that we’re getting ready to launch in September at Barneys. We started as a very small company and we’re still very small and we just keep going.
Parabellum, 8251 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, 90046. For more information, visit parabellumcollection.com.
L.A.-based jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth is admittedly no Tony Hawk. “I have been known to get on a skateboard once in a while,” the designer told Style.com. “But I can barely go around the block. Getting down the street is my biggest skill,” she laughed. However, what she lacks in technique, she makes up for in aesthetic. This Sunday, the designer will put her latest creation—a skateboard covered in $60,000 worth of chrysoprase, labradorite, and Sleeping Beauty turquoise—up for auction at LAXART’s annual garden party. Neuwirth, who will cohost the public and experimental arts organization’s fete with Rebecca Bloom, is joined by artists and skaters such as Kelly Barrie, Andrea Bowers, and Natas Kaupas in crafting boards for the cause. Bidding for most items will start at $250, while Neuwirth’s deck will start at $2,000. “For me, it’s really incredible to work with a nonprofit that raises awareness for art,” offered Neuwirth. “They’re always doing really neat things all over Los Angeles, and [this project] was just kind of a perfect storm.” As for her board, which debuts exclusively above, Neuwirth admits that she designed the whole thing while recovering from dental surgery last week. “Maybe it was just because I was pent up in my house, but I thought it would be cool to make it really over-the-top.” She thought right—although, with its organic swirls of electric green and midnight stones, we wouldn’t recommend taking this particular piece of equipment out on the half-pipe. “I think this is more of a board that hangs on the wall,” she suggested.
For tickets to LAXART’s garden party, visit the organization’s Web site.