Byline: Rose Apodaca Jones
LOS ANGELES — Miguel Adrover may be self-taught in matters of design, but since his breakthrough collection and partnership with Pegasus Apparel Group earlier this year, he’s getting a crash course in the business of a fashion house.
Out West — outside of Manhattan and Washington, D.C., in fact — for the first time, Adrover was characteristically good humored as he navigated new territory.
“You call this a trunk show, right?” he asked, admitting he recently discovered the marketing concept when Neiman Marcus invited him to its Beverly Hills store last Wednesday.
This was his first trunk show ever, he revealed, either as an attendee or as the featured designer.
“I was thinking I was going to freak out a little bit. But, it’s been working out OK,” he said, still trying to adapt to the instant celebrity that has altered his reality in recent months. “It’s nice to meet people who are going to buy your clothes, to meet the people who work here. It all seems very natural.”
Lest anyone assume this will become a regular practice, think again. He might have become a rock star among fashionistas and the media, but he’s not planning a tour, he sheepishly laughs.
“I don’t mind if it’s something for my business. I don’t do press much, you know? What happens is a lot of people think because you’re a designer they can own you. They should take a look at the clothes.”
Of course, all the hoopla from coast to coast has been over the execution of those clothes, the way Adrover has cleverly challenged iconoclasm with his deconstruction of classic silhouettes and logos — from Louis Vuitton to the New York Yankees.
Even Adrover fans in Dodger Country were willing to overlook the Yankee-inspired ball cap epaulets, snatching up three of the five $275 navy sweatshirts during the first half hour of the trunk show.
Neiman Marcus declined to give final sales figures from the two-hour event, but, as a classic Spanish guitarist strummed in the background, a steady stream of customers pored over the two racks in the store’s Modernist department, fawning over and quizzing Adrover and his team.
Other Neiman Marcus stores carrying the line are in Houston, San Francisco, Chicago on Michigan Avenue and Short Hills, NJ.
The clothes also took center stage the night before at a reception up the street at the Grant Selwyn Gallery, also hosted by Neiman’s. The fall collection was presented on mannequins and shared space with color photographs by Jitka Hanzlova. The pairing of off-centered, innovative expression fit perfectly.
In town for the event and other business, Pegasus chairman and chief executive officer Stephen L. Ruzow looked on like a proud father.
Ruzow said he spent the day exploring local denim manufacturers, possibly for Daryl K or other brands. He also looked into a fledgling design house, but that was “business as usual,” he and a spokesman underscored, declining to provide specifics on either inquiry. Of much more immediate interest was a customer who drove an hour north from Orange County and was working hard to convince the 5-foot-11 designer to specially make for her a provocatively cut flowered halter dress worn by one of his muses, Macarena, which never made it to production.
The Spanish ex-pat was willing to oblige, seemingly charmed over the request.
“I love the West Coast, the people,” he shared the following afternoon. “What I thought of L.A. was ‘Baywatch.’ I’m not a big fan of Hollywood. But really coming here is a relief from New York. El ritmo de la vida — it’s much more peaceful here. In New York, you wake up and fight until you go to bed, and then you still fight. It’s more laid back here.”
Still, he and two of his teammates found another lesson while in town when they became stranded on a sightseeing trek to the beach.
“We got in a cab and said take us to Malibu,” said Jennefer Hoffman, an artist enlisted by Adrover to head public relations. “We got off on the side of the road to buy some sunglasses and when the cab left, we realized we didn’t have any way to get back. So, the three of us were walking on the side of the highway back to civilization.”
Those few hours, however, allowed them to get back to what they were before their friend hit the radar.
“Putting together a company with your friends is an even bigger challenge,” confessed Adrover. “If something goes wrong, people start to scream at you because they don’t think you are the boss. They think of you as the friend. But, it’s good because everybody trusts each other. There’s no bad talking behind the back. I’ve never been a boss. And now, I’m the boss of my friends. I mean, what the [expletive] is that,” he said grinning.
“It’s all a learning process. It’s an evolution. I’ve got to learn a lot of things and I’m willing to learn all of it. I want perfection in my work.”