Morphine Generation designer Erik Hart must have felt all happy and warm inside when he saw Anthony Kiedis and über-producer Jimmy Boyle among the front-row faces at his first Smashbox runway show. Rock & roll is, after all, the raison d’être behind his fashion career.
It was because of Hart’s band Suicide Club that Morphine Generation’s metallic-print-and-embroidered-sportswear line came into being — he hoped the clothing line would finance the band’s endeavors. From its birth in a small office on Cahuenga Boulevard three years ago, Morphine Generation evolved into that most precocious of Hollywood children, the one hell-bent on overshadowing its parents. Meanwhile, Suicide Club is still, well, one of those Hollywood bands. Nonetheless, Hart is unlikely to think about swapping fashion design for music anytime soon. “Don’t ever ask me to choose,” he said backstage after the runway show. “Music and fashion are both so closely intertwined. Without the music, I would never have found the clothes.”
For this, his second collection, creative inspiration came courtesy of the bands he was listening to — Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, the Velvet Underground and New Order. Translated onto the catwalk, this meant wool pea coats, oversize boots, distressed-cotton T-shirts with skull designs, military-style patches, trench coats, cloaks, berets and lots of tartan — always teamed with faded black denim (close-fit) and either black patent stripper heels or massive, clunky biker boots. If Sherlock Holmes hung out at the Beauty Bar, this is probably how he’d dress. “I think of it as an English country setting gone awry,” says Hart.
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Hart never studied design (“I’m not a fashion person per se,” he admits), he just makes clothes he thinks his friends would like to wear. And that’s probably the key to the brand’s success so far. That, and hard work. No lounging around for this Hollywood trendsetter — Hart works from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Other projects: He’s turning his Cahuenga office space into a concept store, selling everything from clothes to jewelry to furniture (it is due to open in the fall). And every evening he hits the rehearsal space with Suicide Club. “We are actually putting out an album,” Hart beams. The label? Morphine Generation Recordings.