Los Angeles Fashion Week came to an end Sunday, after featuring five days of panels, parties and runway shows in Hollywood.
NYA Studios, the new Hollywood location this year for LA Fashion Week, a trademarked name, provided a huge space to combine different events at the same time, including runway shows, film viewings, informative panels, lounge spaces as well as cavernous rooms to host parties.
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Attendees were greeted at the front with a retail space selling items from designers participating in LA Fashion Week, which was not as celeb heavy as the producers had hoped, but did provide access to some events for consumers.
Overall, the five days of events were a celebration of diversity in religion, race, sex, gender and size.
For Los Angeles-based No Sesso and Neon Cowboys, that was expressed through dance. Designers Pia Davis and Autumn Randolph brought interpretive choreography to their “Futuro Fish” show. And at Neon Cowboys, it was an ode to the ballroom scene with The House of Marc Jacobs — the dance collective. It was lively, with Asia Hall’s festival-favorite cowboy hats front and center.
Designer Tara Subkoff was also inspired by dance at Imitation of Christ, kicking off her presentation with timely peace prayers.
“I had a vision a while ago of a blessing in every religion happening at the same time,” Subkoff said. There was a Muslim practitioner, rabbi, Christian minister, Tibetan Buddhist monk, Hindu swami, Sufi poet, shaman and Native American flute player. Her mind was very much on the present, wanting to unify in a time of war conflict.
Meanwhile Edvin Thompson of Theophilio was looking back.
“When I was doing this collection — my childhood was so important to me,” said the Jamaican-born, Brookyn-based designer backstage on Friday. “I was so fascinated by seeing the world, being part of the world. I found myself being outside, especially in Jamaica. In my early days, I spent a lot of time alone, especially in creativity, and I always used art as a beacon to have conversation with people, meet people. Looking at fabrics, textures, drawings, I always go back to my early stuff, back to when I was living in New Jersey and seeing suburbia for the first time coming from Jamaica. A lot of things were so new for me.”
Showing in L.A. was a first, too.
“I think it’s so important for creatives, young creatives, like myself, Black and brown, to really take up space,” he said of unveiling spring-summer 24 in L.A. “This is an amazing way to expand the brand, expand the brand identity — but also be given a stage to champion where I’m from, my people, people who look like myself. I really want for L.A. fashion week to not stop. It’s so important for fashion. Because I really feel like, you know, being a designer is one of the most honest ways you can talk about who you are, where you’re from and where you going.”
Thompson celebrated the colors of Jamaica with bright yellow, green, red, orange with signature sparkles and snakeskin embossed fabrics in tailored cuts.
“From catching lizards back in Jamaica,” he said of the snakeskin, singling out the single-breasted lilac blazer that closed the show. “My favorite look.”
The front row included actor Jesse Williams and stylist Law Roach.
“I think he does exactly what he’s supposed to do,” Roach said of Thompson. “It’s a mix of his Jamaican heritage, which is really obvious in the collection, with New York cool, with a wearable sensibility. I think he knows exactly who he is and who the Theophilio guy and girl is. I think that’s great. And it’s the making of a really strong brand.”
They met when Roach “curated” Lewis Hamilton’s table at the Met Gala, he said. “He dressed Sha’Carri Richardson, which was a moment. You know, when I lend my support to somebody, especially up-and-coming talent, they have my support forever.”
“It feels big,” Roach added, of LAFW. “I’m really excited because this season LAFW, the lineup is great, the talent is great. I’m proud to be able to participate in LAFW in the city where I live.”
The Theophilio show was a standout for model and artist Margie Plus, who attended the entirety of LAFW as a social media correspondent. So was BruceGlen “with their colorful fashion-forward lens, and of course the inclusive runway adding plus-size models to walk.”
Plus met Ciarra Pardo, president of LAFW and cofounder of N4XT Experiences, while the two worked at Rihanna’s Fenty — Plus as a model and Pardo as chief creative officer.
“I was recruited to help bring some excitement to social and be a familiar face walking the followers through the content,” added Plus, attending LAFW for the second year. “Highlights for me were getting to speak with Bethann Hardison and Maxwell Osborne about how the industry is changing and becoming more inclusive and the work still needing to be done to get there.” (Hardison and Osborne had a fireside chat.)
Her favorite party was Saturday night’s The Blonds celebration at The West Hollywood Edition’s basement hot spot, Sunset.
“[It] brought out girls like Dylan Mulvaney, Trace Lysette, Chanel West Coast, all to celebrate the brand and LAFW under the disco balls,” said Plus.
For Luis De Javier, L.A. has brought a new chapter, one of growth for him and the brand with Riccardo Tisci as mentor (who was MIA on site, leaving the spotlight on De Javier).
“I’m just so, so happy,” De Javier said post-show on Saturday, after unveiling a sophisticated collection that featured his signatures — latex, leather and corsetry with horned looks — elevated in technique and luxe fabrications. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so taken care of, with production, with my family, with Riccardo. I’ve never learned so much. I’ve never pushed myself so hard. I’m just so happy. I can’t even talk.”
Called “La Ruta,” the line was inspired by the ’90s hardcore rave movement in his native Spain. De Javier initially imagined a utopia in which this movement would still be alive today, but it evolved to more.
“For me, it’s been the root of self-discovery,” he said. “I really just want to become more of a house, more established. I’ve really showed myself that I can run a big bitch.”
Several designers from Los Angeles and elsewhere were new to LA Fashion Week, giving the event a fresh vibe.
Sergio Hudson was fresh from showing his fall 2023 collection last month at New York Fashion Week. But the Los Angeles-based creative known for dressing powerful women, including former First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris, unveiled his spring 2024 collection at the event as he switched his selling season from see now, buy soon to the traditional selling season.
His Los Angeles fashion presentation was slightly different from previous fashion shows. Instead of a runway show, models walked out and posed for several minutes in front of tall flower installations made of paper, fabric and real flowers, giving attendees the opportunity to get an up-close view.
Inspired by a summer in the Hamptons, the 14 looks ranged from summery dresses to casual suits in a color scheme dominated by white, off white and camo beige. “Everybody enjoyed the presentation. It was more casual and didn’t feel so elitist,” Hudson said after the Thursday evening show, noting this was the first time he had done this kind of presentation. “John Galliano used to do these kinds of shows all the time in the ‘90s. It would be a vignette where girls walked around and showed off the collection.”
Hudson said he would continue to show at New York Fashion Week but is open to showing pre-collections and resort during LA Fashion Week.
Also new to the LA Fashion Week scene was Kwame Adusei, who originally is from Ghana where he studied at the Vogue Style School of Fashion & Design. After finishing his studies, he launched his first label, called Charlotte Privé, which did well for eight years. But he felt he needed to explore doing business beyond Ghana and came to the United States in 2019. Two years ago, he launched his self-named label, which is headquartered in a studio in downtown Los Angeles’s Fashion District. With sustainability in mind, most of the collection comes from deadstock fabric sourced just blocks away in the area’s fabric district.
The designer said he is creating looks that can fit every body type and be worn by men and women. Adusei originally was scheduled to show with other designers at NYA Studios, but then he switched the fashion venue to his small West Hollywood store where everyone sat on white benches lined up in the middle of the boutique and along its walls for the Sunday afternoon show.
The fall 2024 collection of 35 looks was filled with the unisex ease he tries to instill in his designs. Pants and jeans do not have outside seams making them fit more easily on different body types, and loose, drapey dresses were inspired by African fashion. Big, puffy outerwear jackets engulfed models walking down an aisle in the store cleared of merchandise for the event. Unisex jumpsuits were also very popular. The collection was heavy with black and brown tones with touches of yellow, orange and blue. “This is very much an L.A. collection, but also Ghana has an important role in everything I do. You can see that the collection kind of fits every body type,” the designer said.
Making a return engagement to LA Fashion Week was L.A. designer Rio Uribe, whose Gypsy Sport label is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Uribe’s creations seen Saturday afternoon at NYA Studios were filled with transgender and unisex looks that he designs to celebrate the LBGTQ+ crowd he feels has been ignored. Models wearing athletic-inspired dresses and minis strutted their stuff around the runway and danced on a platform set up in the middle of the room.
Many of the looks had a Zoot suit/Pacheco feel to them, a nod to Uribe’s roots. “I would say this collection is a tribute to Chicano fashion styled over the last 60 years,” the designer said after the show. “There was a bit of the cholo look, with the typical baggy pants and tall socks. There was a bit of dandyism. And then there was bit of punk Goth, which is more modern. It was just showing the diversity of Latino fashion.”
There were also taffeta dresses emblazoned with the Gypsy Sport logo, long and short dresses in pink and yellow that looked like extended basketball jerseys with ruffles around the edges, and even an elaborate cowboy outfit with beads, topped by a fancy cowboy hat. It acknowledged the cowboy culture prevalent in northern Mexico and in other regions there.
Returning again to LA Fashion Week was Demobaza, a Bulgarian label big on deconstructed garments and apocalyptic looks similar to the ones seen in the movie “Dune: Part One.” In past collections, the desert and earth tone colors have been dominant.
For this spring 2024 presentation, Dimitar Sulev, the chief executive and creative director of the 16-year-old brand, said the jungle influenced the looks while blending motifs of the ground and the sky. “Instead of our usual desert adventures, our inspiration this time was a nomadic, adventurous jungle experience,” said Sulev, who always looks to nature for his ideas. “We have a lot of washed colors with brownish hues, a green palette and red, of course. We have a lot of deconstructed denim, a look we have had since Day One. And we are doing a lot of jersey with detailed and washed looks.”
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