By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Wendy Gilmartin
By Jennifer Swann
By Claire de Dobay Rifelj
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Catherine Wagley
By Zachary Pincus-Roth
People think L.A. is only about T-shirts and shorts and bathing suits, but that is so wrong. Actually, there is no L.A. style — people may wear slipdresses all year round, but that’s the only difference. Things are so globalized now, there’s no real unified look to any city anywhere. Everything’s on the Net, and everything’s connected.
Things have to look really done, or they have to look really thrown together. Of course, if it’s done, it can’t look like it’s done. It’s all about wearing luxury casually — wearing a little beaded dress with hair that looks like you just stepped out of a shower, wearing stilettos with a Bettie Page haircut. Young people are subverting wealth like that. But it’s not just happening here, it’s happening globally — young people are much more aware of fashion, whether they live here or in an igloo in Alaska. What does happen here is that women 20 to 50 want the same things, though they wear them differently. They have good bodies, and they want to show them off.
The prevailing “look” in L.A. is divided east and west. People might buy the same designer item, but they’ll wear it very differently. On the Westside, a woman might buy a little cashmere sweater and pencil skirt, then wear it with a denim jacket and lip gloss. An Eastside girl might wear the same sweater and skirt with a rhinestone belt and a vintage rabbit-fur jacket. L.A. fashion is about freedom: You can wear jeans anywhere if you want, and it’s almost always T-shirt weather, but at the same time the concentration of the entertainment industry and nightlife provides a lot more opportunities for really dressing than in other cities. Fashion becomes about individual expression more than any need to obey a certain code.
MICHELE BOHBOT, Bisou Bisou
Before, L.A. fashion was very cheesy, not very happening, because it was not very urban. But I found out in the last year that fashion is all coming from L.A. The trends right now — asymmetrical lines, open backs, a woman showing all — come from L.A. designers who really didn’t have a presence before. I’m European, and I’ve seen trends in Milan, Paris, London, but what I see over there are things that started here. What’s changed is that women from different places are starting to be more body-conscious, like California girls have always been, so fashion is more fitted, more feminine — the Hollywood-style glamour.
The L.A. look, the whole freedom of style, is coming on strong now. People here are not scared about what other people are going to say. Women are going for the feminine look, the sculpted heel. High heels get a lot of flack, but girls want to feel sexy, they want to feel good. By the way, platforms are not over. For the last six years, they’ve been coming back season after season. I have a feeling that Western boots will be back in a big way.
The look of L.A. is about color. Black head to toe just isn’t it anymore — it’s kind of passé. People can wear plain Earl jeans with a great top and great accessories. You can be plain, but you have to have a great handbag. What’s really selling are not mass-produced clothes. Small designers are bigger because they’re more timeless, more unique. If you buy a great hat at a small place, you always have a great hat. Also, people like to look at what people are wearing on TV, and TV actors are all wearing L.A. designers — stylists come to shops like mine and get stuff, and it goes across the world. We have lots of ruffles and ornamentation now, but I think it’ll get cleaner. If everything’s cyclical, that’s what’s going to happen.
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