OG L.A. fashion tastemaker Jeannine Braden is gilding the beach with her contemporary label Le Superbe, which had its coming out party last week at the Brentwood boutique Permanent Vacation, with Cindy Crawford, Jenny Belushi, Heidi Brooks and more in attendance.
“She has always understood what makes L.A. style unique,” said Crawford of her pal, whom she has known for 20 years, while dressed in the label’s zebra-patterned sequined pencil skirt and silk top.
“It’s about West Coast beaches with Hollywood in your backyard.” That’s how Braden describes Le Superbe’s offering of feather-trimmed and sequined-dusted Hawaiian-print pencil skirts and minidresses (one named after L.A.’s famed Giorgio’s nightclub), alongside Aloha shirts with crystal trim, palm-and-leopard-print pajama pants and kimonos, vintage-inspired “Cobain” boyfriend cardigans with jeweled shell patches, and baseball Ts with irreverent slogans such as “Nobody Owns the Beach.” The collection sells for $150 to $995 at 150 retail doors, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Ron Herman among them.
Venice, Calif. native Braden has been a been a fixture on the L.A. style scene since the Nineties, when she started as a music video stylist (she and Belinda Carlisle were roomies), before launching into retail with Fred Segal Flair, opened in 1992 in the now-defunct Fred Segal Santa Monica. In her influential store, she merged laid-back Venice Dogtown style (Vans checkerboard slip-ons, baseball Ts) with luxury labels such as Chloé and Stella McCartney, helping to define the high-low California look.
After she closed the store in 2010, she kicked around a few ventures, including a swanky flip-flop line called Say the Sun, before launching Le Superbe for fall 2018. She’s partnered on the line with ex-husband William Beranek, himself a L.A. fashion fixture and designer best known for his label William B. “We consciously uncoupled,” Braden said of how their relationship works Gwyneth Paltrow-style. “But we are still together every day.”
She drew on her experience as a stylist and retailer to create a brand with special pieces — “stores need to make their racks pop” — like a rainbow sequined skirt, or a polo with a shark graphic on the pocket, edged in crystals, she said.
And she added rock-‘n’-roll edge by tapping illustrator Nick Egan, whose work for The Clash, The Ramones, Duran Duran, Malcolm McLaren, Marc Jacobs and others helped shape the look of music and fashion in the Eighties and Nineties, to design all her graphics. “I thought it was great to have this punk rock Brit doing my sunny California graphics. I told him to make all my palm trees pot leaves,” she said of one of the designs coming for fall 2019.
“It’s exactly what I envisioned when I opened this store in 2016, the mixture of a chunky sweater over a slipdress with sneakers, it’s what we wear in Southern California and she nailed it,” said Permanent Vacation owner Nicole Kirwan of the label’s vintage touches made to look modern.
Braden’s ambitions including expanding her team (she has four people in place now), her product categories, and the profile of Le Superbe, which is named after the street she grew up on in Venice. “I wanted to go a year and deliver to show we can do business,” she said. “A lot of things in fashion can be smoke and mirrors and I want to be able to walk the walk.”