Before New York Fashion Week, All Eyes Are on Los Angeles

marieprom (marieprom)

The night before the first big snowstorm of the year hit the first day of New York Fashion Week, Tommy Hilfiger held a runway extravaganza.

It had oversize sports jerseys! It had cropped hoodies! Jeans strewn with patches and leather shorts! Nash Grier (9.9 million followers on Instagram) was there. So was Cameron Dallas (17.9 million). Lady Gaga, fresh from her Super Bowl performance, and Kris Jenner bobbed their heads as the model Gigi Hadid and friends strode by.

Afterward Wednesday, Mr. Hilfiger hosted a full-blown festival, as he did last season in New York, complete with pop-up shops selling the collection, carnival rides, food trucks selling churros and fried chicken sandwiches, and places to create your own screen-printed T-shirts or add patches to jeans. It all culminated in a concert by the pop star Fergie, where she sang some of her biggest hits for the crowd of 3,000, a mix of industry people and consumers.

Mr. Hilfiger was simply the biggest name in what turned out to be something of an alt-fashion week on the West Coast made up of a handful of defectors from the New York circus who decided to show their seasonal goods among the palm trees and laid-back vibes. Los Angeles has become a favorite backdrop for the fashion industry of late, with Tom Ford, Burberry and Saint Laurent holding runway shows here in recent years, the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton presenting its 2016 resort collection in nearby Palm Springs, and Anna Wintour giving the city her implicit blessing by holding the annual Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund show at the Chateau Marmont, the storied hotel. This season, however, the relationship reached a new level.Continue reading the main story

So did the shows, which shared a sense of performance (no doubt a reflection of their environs) that made them feel more like proper events as opposed to a glorified trade ritual. With more time and room to breathe than is available on New York’s crowded schedule, they — like so many things in Los Angeles — exuded a relaxed energy.The Saturday before Mr. Hilfiger’s extravaganza, for example, Rebecca Minkoff held her show at the Grove, a popular outdoor mall in Los Angeles that is adjacent to the CBS studio where “The Price Is Right” is filmed.

Social media influencers like Aimee Song and Jamie Chung modeled floaty printed prom dresses in uk, tomboy overalls edged with eyelet, and Baja hoodies for front-row celebrities like Lauren Conrad and Keke Palmer, along with hundreds of passers-by. Earlier in the day, there was a free yoga class and wine tasting, and after Ms. Minkoff took her bow, pieces from the collection were available to purchase in nearby pop-up shops.

“From the beginning, this collection was about California,” Ms. Minkoff said backstage. “I’m from San Diego. This was my ode to the easy, beautiful, casual lifestyle.”

It’s a sentiment that was also expressed by the celebrity stylist and reality-TV-star-turned-designer Rachel Zoe, who held her show at the Sunset Tower, an Art Deco hotel on Sunset Boulevard that recalls Schwab’s-era Hollywood. Ms. Zoe showed her sequined cocktail dresses and red-carpet-ready gowns during a seated dinner of salmon and asparagus, near a pool with views from Century City to Downtown, to celebrity friends like Eva Longoria, Nicole Richie and Jaime King.

“I’ve only ever shown in New York,” she said, tossing her beach-y blond waves while wearing a fur coat to ward off the barely noticeable chill. “My headquarters are here. I moved here 13 years ago. For me, there’s always been a push-pull thing between the cities. I wanted to show in my home, in a place where I feel comfortable.”

According to Steven Kolb, president and chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America: “I think fashion week borders are not so walled anymore, and you see designers taking opportunities to be more fluid with where they’re showing. We see fashion shows as a time of experimentation, and that encompasses many things. L.A. is an entertainment city, it’s a media city, in its own way. It’s going to reach a lot of eyeballs.”Mr. Kolb brushed off a suggestion of rivalry between the two cities. “I don’t think the energy in L.A. diminishes the energy in New York,” he said. “It complements it.”Case in point: Rachel Comey’s show and dinner, held at the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel art gallery downtown on Tuesday. The stark, grandiose architecture of the gallery’s outdoor courtyard acted as a direct contrast to the warmth and intimacy of her funky-cool clothes: a Victorian dress with a high collar and asymmetrical hem, a dropped-shoulder wool jacket with slick contrasting seam details, and soupy pants embroidered with a squiggle pattern. The audience, which included Miranda July, Maya Rudolph and the New Yorker writer Susan Orlean (who’s a customer), grazed on scallops and vegetable risotto as the chanteuse Justin Vivian Bond serenaded the crowd. It felt like family, not business.

“I’m interested in the exchange between New York and L.A., it’s huge,” Ms. Comey said the next day from her sun-filled shop, which opened on Melrose Place last June. “There’s a big migration happening. I think that New York is a hard place to be young and creative. There’s a growing art scene out here. There’s opportunity in terms of lifestyle. That’s a big cultural shift.”

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2017-2-9 -04:00
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