THE SHOPPERS’ STORY
SOME OF L.A.’S MOST TREND-SAVVY CONSUMERS LAMENT THE DECLINE OF FASHION DIVERSITY.
Byline: Kavita Daswani
Los Angeles shoppers with an eye for fashion tend to share a common gripe: too much of the same thing, too much of the time.
“Denim and flash, there’s too much of it in L.A. Stop already!” cried Maryann O’ Donnell, an entertainment and technology investor. Instead of prowling through local multibrand boutiques where she finds too much of the same sort of “glitzy” looks, O’Donnell buys her favorite classic styles from Hermes, Valentino, Dior, Wolford and embellishment-free knits from Malo.
O’Donnell isn’t the only one bored.
“I’m so sick of the Sixties and Seventies revival. Could we do something else, please?” asks Tamar Mahshigian, who’s the editor of architecture and interior design Web directory cDecor.com.
Mahshigian has noticed a dearth of new dress styles on the retail landscape.
“I recently went to a not-very-formal cocktail party, and the women were wearing suits. Boring! I had on a slinky black Laundry skirt and a low-cut BCBG sweater with fur around the collar. It made for a stunning silhouette. But I kept thinking, ‘I haven’t seen a dress that I’ve wanted to buy in years.’ What’s going on?”
Publicist Coralie Langston-Jones attributes the lack of individuality in fashion retail to the rapid filter-down system.
“The relationship between the youth market and the designer market has never been closer. Fifteen-year-olds want to own Prada, and retailers realize this, which results in stores looking same-y.”
Still, Langston-Jones believes there are plenty of shopping options for those who continue to strive for that unique look.
She enjoys mixing vintage pieces from Decades on Melrose Avenue with items from local talent she finds at stores such as Aero in Los Feliz, Naked on Beverly Boulevard or Liza Bruce on Melrose.
But she concedes the fusion of Hollywood and fashion has further accelerated trend replication.
“The whole market and PR game has created a system whereby trends are being [net]worked rapidly through advertising, editorial, [even through] films and television, to the extent that a very singular message is being sent out to the audience.”
Consumers are also hoping for more sophisticated looks.
Beth Ann Shepherd, a publicist for the Beverly Hills antique store The Flagship Group, described current boutique fare as “too much teenybopper, ultra-trendy expensive stuff” and said she craved more “classics with a trendy twist.”
Others said it wasn’t just what was on the racks that was highly repetitive, but the way clothes are displayed.
Jennifer Schamay, also an editor at cDecor.com, said that an excess of the same sort of look, be it in interiors or merchandise, puts her off.
She cited minimalist store decor, or the kitsch-ridden boutique — “the type with wild animal prints, loud colors and faux fur chairs.”
“The salespeople often dress as they would to go to a club — the wilder, the better — and there tends to be a lot of attitude.”