"L.A. is my lady,” Bryan Rabin is saying while enjoying a nosh at a Bronson Canyon hang. It’s the morning after an event Rabin produced at the Paul Smith boutique on Melrose, featuring Brit documentary photographer/photojournalist Martin Parr. When heavy hitters like Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Paul Smith, Volkswagen, Stella McCartney and Oscar de la Renta want to tap into L.A.’s vast and idiosyncratic cultural reservoir, Rabin is the man they call.
“A big part of what I love about my job is that I get to be involved in the wonderful culture-collision that’s so intrinsic to the DNA of this city. L.A. is brimming with style tribes that have evolved out of the various scenes. For me, producing a memorable event is about being able to properly curate all the elements in a way that they fuse together joyfully — from the venue and the décor to the food and drinks as well as, of course, who ultimately attends the event.”
For Rabin, the journey to high-end impresario began with the launch of his floating nightclub, the Lounge, and various clubs in the early ’90s, capped off by the long-running underground sensation Club Cherry. All of which segued into event production, starting with the launch of Madonna’s Music album in 2000 and the formation of Rabin Rodgers Inc. with then-partner David Rodgers in 2002. (Rabin is now on his own.)
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“Definitely, a big part of what makes doing what I do tricky is understanding how L.A.’s geography affects the culture; how so much of what makes this city great exists in these little pockets spread out all over, and the challenge it presents — which I love — of drawing from all these scenes and pulling them together in a way that feels not only organic to the brand but also creates a visceral experience for everyone involved.”
Recently, Rabin has revealed a whole other side of his persona. Last year, despite the energy required to continually mount huge events, Rabin found time to rekindle a passion from his youth: figure skating. There was a time when skating seemed like Rabin’s ultimate calling; he was a legitimate Olympic hopeful. But he suffered a career-ending stress fracture. Now, after a nearly two-decade hiatus, he has returned to the ice. “Beyond it being just a great physical challenge, it was a kind of amends to a part of myself I’d sort of abandoned,” Rabin explains.
Last spring, he not only placed first in the Pacific Coast Sectional Championships but also went on to capture a bronze in the U.S. Figure Skating Masters division.
“The highlight for me,” Rabin says with a big smile, “[was] being the only competitor who landed a triple jump!”