R13’s Chris Leba is in the throes of consolidating his offices into a new downtown space — and gearing up to open his first brick-and-mortar store on the ground level sometime next year. Women’s market is in full swing, then men’s, then women’s again.
He drew light inspiration for his pre-fall from Sofia Coppola’s film “Marie Antoinette,” enticed by its frivolity and baroque elements. Subtle winks to the film were seen in the ruffles on billowing button-down shirts, and sand-washed floral-printed silks rendered into easy and sexy tops with animal print accents. Otherwise, the collection featured Leba’s usual balance of eccentric punk, tailoring and inventive denim.
At the core of the collection were young, exciting, wearable clothes with gender-ambiguous undertones. A bleached group of suiting and sweatshirts with safety-pin embellishments provided edge to more formal men’s-inspired attire, and upcycled vintage motorcycle jackets which are specially studded in Los Angeles and can’t easily be replicated. One effortlessly cool pinstriped blazer was cut generously and studded along the lapels. Leba noted many of the tailored items could end up in the men’s line, following a recent trend of gender-fluid design.
He thrived when using denim to experiment with new, inventive shapes, such as jackets with shoulder pads and gathered sleeves, or jeans that were tucked in back to appear draped in front. “We have to have things that sell a lot,” Leba said in his new showroom, adding: “But anything that sells a lot means it’s not that provocative. It’s mass acceptance. We try to do things that are not because it separates you.”