By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Fashion has two purposes: comfort and love. Beauty comes when fashion succeeds.
Comfort, for Coco Chanel, was the caterpillar, those everyday clothes (think Gap, Old Navy) that increasingly define for many of us our wardrobes. And then there was love, the butterfly, garments transformed by the placement of a button, the cut of the cloth, the stitching of a seam, the choice of fabric. “There must be dresses that crawl,” she said, “and dresses that fly.”
In this issue, we searched out L.A. designers who create ensembles that soar. Each has a way of turning cloth into art — and in the case of Josh and He Yang, that’s quite literal: People have been known to buy the fabrics they make just to hang on a wall. Then there’s the witty seduction of Louis Verdad, the chic playfulness of Grant Krajecki for Grey Ant, the gothic voluptuousness of Bao Tranchi, the charming edginess of Diane Moss Martin and Eric Martin for MartinMartin, the sleek refinement of Monah Li, the sexy elegance of Eduardo Lucero, the whimsical sophistication of Nony Tochterman for Petro Zillia, the romantic opulence of Cornell Collins, and the clever grace of Marina Toybina and Ashton Hirota for Glaza.
With these designers, beauty does indeed come.
—Kateri Butler, style editor
“Design is about being inspired by our rich cultural history, the beauty around us, the strengths within us, and channeling this all into a garment that is new. Take the past, but infuse it into the resonance of the now. What transforms a garment into something more is when it makes one rethink the possibilities of cloth.”
Jack Atlantis wears an acid-washed notched-collar cutaway corseted jacket, wool riding pants, leather knee-high spats, and a leather and brass cock ring belt; Evelyne Bennu (Dragon Models) wears a silk-jersey ball gown, brass breastplate with leather straps, beaver penis-bone leather neck brace, distressed-silk and leather shoes, and faerie antler headpiece. Bao Tranchi is available through www.tranchi.com.
“What could be more spiritual than fashion? Every design is an offering to gods so gorgeous we can’t even see them. When I design, I think of the woman and that she wants to express herself in a way that’s subtle but makes a statement. I design because I need to enhance, disguise and celebrate what creation gave me.”
Sarah Ring (Osbrink Models) IS in an overdyed silk-jersey blouse with leather inset, an overdyed silk-jersey skirt with outside seam, and an overdyed rayon-velveteen jacket. Monah Li is available at Traffic (Beverly Center, Sunset Plaza and Costa Mesa) and Giselle (Santa Monica and Malibu) or www.monahli.com.
“To me, fashion design is not just about the clothes, it’s about a life. It’s about a feeling I try to portray in my designs and a message I try to pass through everything I get involved in. Life is too short — we need to enjoy every second and cherish every day, have fun, smile a lot, and love our family and friends.” “To me, fashion design is not just about the clothes, it’s about a life. It’s about a feeling I try to portray in my designs and a message I try to pass through everything I get involved in. Life is too short — we need to enjoy every second and cherish every day, have fun, smile a lot, and love our family and friends.”
Laura Soltz (L.A. Models) wears a leather-and-silk-chiffon dress. Petro Zillia is available at Saks Fifth Avenue (Beverly Hills), Nordstrom (Topanga Canyon and South Coast Plaza), Macy’s (Beverly Center, Sherman Oaks and South Coast Plaza), Shaya (Beverly Center), Gisele Tune (Studio City), Madison (Melrose, Robertson and Beverly Hills), PatricK Reid (Santa Monica), O Boutique (Sunset Plaza) or www.petrozillia.com.
“Like life, design is an ever-changing process, fluid and evolving. It is the embrace of the moment, taking a stand, making a choice. It’s like dancing. You feel the music, but how do you choose to move? You can plan each little groove or you give up the control and let the music lead, open to the unknown.”
Vanessa Christelle (Dragon Models) wears a bustier top made out of silk ribbon, plastic bags, tulle, denim, embroidered cotton, vinyl, silk, cotton velvet, organza, vintage quilt fabric, sequins, snaps and buttons; a miniskirt made of denim, tulle, organza, cotton, lace, silk, vintage-cotton napkins and drapery fabric; leggings out of tulle silk, cotton, organza, sequins, upholstery fabric, Tibetan prayer flags, satin and braided trim; and a hat of recycled fur, organza, silk ribbon and yarn. Josh and He Yang is available at Josh and He Yang Studio (Silver Lake), Planet Blue (Malibu and Brentwood) and Jamie Lynn (Robertson).
“I know that I would not be able to create the body of work that I do, in the way that I do, if I were not the person I am. I would not be the person that I am if art did not exist.”
“At its best, design should offer an original combination of texture, color and architectural fit that results in an overall presence created by the artist with intelligence and foresight. It’s something out of the ordinary — a new concept for now.”
Jeneleen Floyd (M Models) wears a cotton dress with lace trim over a tulle crinoline. Grey Ant is available at American Rag (La Brea), B. Luu (Pasadena), A. Mason (Robertson and Santa Monica), Tryst (Studio City) or www.greyant.com and www.girlshop.com.
“With all the mass production and corporate branding, design is losing its art. For us, design has no jurisdiction. It’s an escape from reality to where there are no boundaries or limitations on creativity — each design takes on its own philosophy. We make one-of-a-kind clothes because we want to see individuality and visual artistic synergy be the center core of fashion rather than a repetitive cycle of trends and followers.”
Jeremy Scott (Osbrink Models) IS in a silk-velvet bolero jacket with woven leather sleeves adorned with hooks and eyes and embroidered velvet cuffs and faux-fur collar over a sleeveless cotton-satin and cashmere-wool dress shirt and a silk-velvet kilt; Erica Yarbrough (Q Models) wears a cotton-satin tuxedo vest with rhinestone closures and cotton-satin and stretch-cotton tuxedo pants with satin ties and shoes by Arianna Custom Heels. Glaza is available at Glaza Studio (downtown), Blest (Hollywood), Four X Four (Third), Planet Blue (Malibu) or www.girlshop.com and www.rockyourglaza.com.
“By disrupting the codes by which traditional clothing makes its appeal and by radically interpreting the Western concept of beauty and ugliness, we are questioning the ambiguous marriage between the enduring and the ephemeral.”
MartinMartin is available at H. Lorenzo (Sunset Plaza) and B.NY (Santa Monica).
PHOTOGRAPHED BY DEAN CHAMBERLAIN at Light Space Gallery, Venice
Capturing the Still Life
The first thing everyone asks as they watch photographer Dean Chamberlain work is: “How come you don’t end up in the picture?” Their second question? “When do you use the computer?” Chamberlain never uses computers; he creates “light paintings,” a technique he pioneered in 1977. He opens the shutter of his camera in a dark environment and then enters the composition space with a flashlight, which is used like a paintbrush — the light is the paint, and colored gels placed over the flashlight are the pigments. His subjects must remain completely still as Chamberlain, who evokes an elfin shaman engaged in some fabulously exotic ritual, moves around the space illuminating the model and surrounding areas during extremely long exposures (while it may seem easy not to move for 10 minutes at a time, try it wearing stiletto heels!). The reason he doesn’t end up in the photos, of course, is because he’s the source of light, not the object.
Chamberlain has “painted” portraits of Raymond Pettibon, Francesco Clemente, Kenny Scharf, Timothy Leary, Tom Robbins, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Deborah Harry, and Paul McCartney as well as done shoots of Christian Dior and Christian LaCroix (one of his favorites is of model Violetta Sanchez, who appears five times in five different LaCroix dresses in a single frame of film). His work has appeared in magazines from Vanity Fair to Wto Vogue Hommes, and he has exhibited in numerous galleries and museums (for more, see www.deanchamberlain.com).
“A garment is transformed into a fashion showpiece when it elicits an emotional response. It’s about the strength of the image, and L.A. is a city that’s built on that. You have control over the way you present yourself to the world through the clothes you choose, but most people rarely take advantage of that. How you perceive someone is so much based on the first impression, and that’s such a powerful thing.”
“Designing is art. Your passion speaks your statement.”
Kira Verrastro (L.A. Models) is in a metallic silk-twill coat with Swarovski crystals over a lace dress with leather inset and silk charmeuse and tulle underskirt with shoes by Christian Louboutin; Brandise (L.A. Models Runway) wears a wool-bouclé suit with recycled vintage mink muff and Charles David shoes. Louis Verdad is available at Belle Cosa (Robertson), Bleu (La Brea), Sara M. (Palms), Shaya (Beverly Center) or www.ShopLAStyle.com.
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