This time around, only about half of the designers will be staging typical runway shows while the others are choosing to present their collections via immersive experiences and parties during the four-day event starting Thursday.
“All these different brands are showing in their own way,” said Ciarra Pardo, the cofounder of N4XT Experiences and president of LA Fashion Week. At the beginning of the year, the new company acquired L.A. Fashion Week for an undisclosed sum from the fashion show’s founder, Arthur Chipman, who has stayed on as a producer.
One of those different ways of showing fashion will take place at the Fleur du Mal presentation. The New York lingerie and ready-to-wear brand is partnering with the House of Yes, a New York company that is part nightclub and part circus theater, to create different activations. “You can be standing there having a cocktail, listening to music and all of a sudden there are two actors wearing Fleur du Mal,” Pardo said. “They are creating a wild, beautiful and amazing boudoir experience.”
Pardo’s vision is to rely more on off-runway events, up-and-coming designers and tech to revamp the semiannual shows.
With that in mind, L.A. Fashion Week will no longer be held at the Petersen Automotive Museum, its home since 2018.
It is moving to several locations. The two main venues are in Hollywood, and a third is at a West Hollywood hotel.
Most of the runway shows will be held at the Lighthouse ArtSpace on Sunset Boulevard. The building was the home of Amoeba Records until it moved a few years ago. Recently, the structure, not far from the historic Cinerama Dome, has been used to showcase the Vincent Van Gogh, King Tut and Frida Kahlo immersive art installations.
“The Lighthouse is a floor-to-ceiling, 360-degree fully immersive experience,” Pardo said, noting images can be projected on the walls.
The Petersen Automotive Museum was a great venue, she explained, but had its space limitations. It wouldn’t have accommodated the approximately 500 people signed up for the opening-night show by AnOnlyChild, which former Public School designer Maxwell Osborne launched last year in New York. He recently showed his Spring 2023 collection at New York Fashion Week and will show it again in L.A.
Other brands on the runway will include Gypsy Sport, L.A. designer Rio Uribe’s glam streetwear line rooted in Chicano culture, which showed in October 2021 at the Petersen Museum, and has shown in New York in past seasons.
Other brands include Attachments, premium jeans line Revice Denim, upcycled Sami Miro Vintage and Demobaza, a futuristic Bulgarian line that recently created a collection inspired by “Dune,” which closes the fashion event on Sunday. Also on the schedule: Filipino designers Francis Libiran, Avel Bacudio and Chris Nick and Indonesian brand Xiao Fen Couture, which has shown at past LAFW events.
Another activation will have actress Issa Rae partnering with Delta Air Lines to launch the “Issa Rae: Delta Runway Runway Collection,” a fashion and accessories line, in a hangar.
About 25 to 30 percent of the designers showing at L.A. Fashion Week are from Los Angeles, Pardo said.
Also new to the reimagined event are a handful of fireside chats, panels and a master class being held at Citizen News, a renovated former newspaper building up the street from the Lighthouse ArtSpace, which is also home to the buzzy restaurant Mother Wolf.
Discussions and talks will range from “Building Business with Heart” to “The Future of Fashion,” featuring speakers such as fashion personality Joe Zee, model/activist Bethann Hardison, artist Donald Robertson and actress/influencer Danielle Lauder.
Sponsors come largely from the technology and sustainability worlds. Those include Logitech, Bolt, Ray-Ban Stories, Mercedes-Benz of Los Angeles, Red Bear Winery and wellness-meets-real estate company Delos.
L.A. has had a number of fashion weeks over the years with mixed results. Most have lasted for a few years and then fizzled out.
One of the most notable endeavors was organized by IMG, which partnered with local commercial photo studio and cosmetic company Smashbox Studios, started by brothers Dean and Davis Factor, the great-grandsons of legendary Hollywood makeup artist Max Factor.
It was one of the better organized events, and took place for five years at the vast photo studio in Culver City, California, but never made enough money to keep going, the organizers said, and shuttered in 2008.
Arthur Chipman, who arrived from Canada where he said he was the development director at Vancouver Fashion Week, launched L.A. Fashion Week in 2015 after trademarking the name.
His first show was held at Union Station, a historic downtown train station that is an architectural gem with its wooden ceilings and massive art-deco style chandeliers.
The fashion event moved around town until finding a steady location in 2018 at the Petersen Automotive Museum, with its vintage cars and expansive spaces, which gave it more staying power. L.A. Fashion Week was held there last April, when Greg Lauren drew Usher and Chance the Rapper to his front row.
Still, most commercially successful L.A.-based high fashion brands have chosen to show elsewhere, but sometimes have returned to L.A. to stage one-off shows, like Rhuigi Villasenor’s Rhude runway at a mansion in Beverly Hills, and Mike Amiri’s collaboration with Wes Lang staged at Milk Studios in Hollywood.
Despite L.A. Fashion Week’s rocky past, the city’s sun and celebrity-filled landscape has also drawn megabrands to the city and its suburbs, including Dior, which showed its men’s resort collection at Venice Beach in May, and Gucci which shut down Hollywood Boulevard for a show in November 2021.
On Oct. 13, Ralph Lauren will hold his first West Coast fashion show at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, presenting his men’s and women’s collection for spring 2023.
All of these fashion experiences inspired Pardo, the former chief creative officer for Fenty, to form N4XT Experiences early this year with Spring Place president and cofounder Imad Izemrane, and entertainment and finance veterans Marcus Ticotin and Keith Abell.
Their goal is to cultivate emerging designers and global brands in a fashion event incorporating more technology and supporting sustainability. “I don’t think up until now,” Pardo said, “it was the time yet for a platform like this to take off. But there is this cool renaissance and changes coming to Los Angeles.”