ONE OF A KIND
ALICIA LAUHON DEBUTS A HAND-STITCHED COLLECTION OF RECYCLED VINTAGE PIECES.
With the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis working the turntables and actress Ione Skye playing master of ceremonies, designer Alicia Lauhon unveiled her new AL Recycled Clothing line at the restaurant 360 in Los Angeles last month.
The event was a charity fashion show that benefited Friendly House, a nonprofit organization that aids women recovering from alcoholism and drug abuse.
Lauhon chose to show the new line — delicate, one-of-a-kind pieces hand-stitched together from vintage clothes — alongside pieces from her existing Lauhon’s Collection line.
“It’s meant to be merchandised together, so customers can combine pieces,” she explained. The skirts, tops and dresses in the AL line are priced at $60 per piece (Collection prices range from $27 to $110), and in Los Angeles sell at Curve on Robertson Boulevard. Collection, meanwhile, is available at American Rag and Fred Segal Melrose. Of the lower price points set for AL, Lauhon said, “We wanted to keep them down because we really want to grow as a company. So far so good. “
The designer said she initially got inspiration for a second line during a trip to Mexico City. “We ended up in the middle of a Day of the Dead parade,” she said. “It was a huge fiesta with singing, dancing and amazing food, all to celebrate the lives of people that had passed. Instead of being sad, it was like, ‘Thank God we had opportunity to experience life with them.”‘
Specific to her design sense was the appealing ethnic look of the clothes she saw at the celebration. She “tucked the idea away, till I hit the right moment.” That moment came when Lauhon felt the need for a new design challenge.
Lauhon, who sold clothes at Fred Segal for six years, actually began her design career four years ago with a collection of one-of-a-kind recycled cashmere sweaters. “This line is something I get to sit in front of a sewing machine and produce. For Collection, there are seamstresses who are better qualified to produce it on a larger scale. But I feel that stores really appreciate one-of-a kind pieces, and I get much more personal pleasure out of making them.”
She said she plans to continue the line through spring, then to take it season by season. “So far, it’s gotten a great response,” she said.
Allusions to the Day of the Dead celebration appeared in several designs. For the finale, a model came down the runway in a “bride” dress with a train of muslin squares strung together; on the pieces of fabric, names of the dearly departed, including Lauhon’s friend Joan Ashby, to whom the show was dedicated, were painted in red. Others immortalized on Lauhon’s design were Elvis, Freddie Mercury and Wilt Chamberlain.
“That was Anthony’s [Kiedis’s] idea,” Lawhon admitted.