Los Angeles, California-based designer Mike Amiri returned to show in Paris this season, and in doing so, he found himself “riding a dream”.
This reverie — call it a transportive sort of California dreaming — isn’t exclusive to the designer: There are many from the area who have chosen Paris to reveal their latest collections, and all of them have found a way to seamlessly blend cues from the City of Light with vibes from the City of Angels. With a list that spans Amiri, Airei, Reese Cooper, Rhude, Mr. Saturday, The Elder Statesman, Nahmias and John Elliott, it’s very clear: L.A. has resolutely landed in France.
What exactly is it that attracts and bonds the two? “Each city has such a strong historical identity,” says Airei’s Drew Curry. “Los Angeles has its surf and skate culture, plus Hollywood; and Paris has its singular fashion heritage. These elements fuse together nicely — there are distinct personalities in each — and together, they flourish.” He adds, “L.A. can feel like fashion’s little brother”, meaning that it’s not quite fully established within the world’s fashion conversations. But by showing in Paris, there’s a legitimising factor for the city’s designers.
Curry tapped L.A.’s beachy-grungy roots with crochet bucket hats, boxy jackets and wide bootleg pants, yet his Airei lineup was also given an elevated, editorialised layer by cobwebby and distressed knits. A similar upgraded pragmatism was seen at Reese Cooper’s show, which opened with a utility jacket and generous workwear trousers before progressing to appealing, string-accented cargo pants and zipped-at-a-curve blousons. Palpable throughout: Los Angeleno outdoorsiness and Parisian experimentation.
Rhuigi Villaseñor’s Rhude emitted a higher-octane reverb; yet it, too, ran the glittering arc between Paris and SoCal. His best look featured loose, washed denim, a lace doily shirt, and a Chanel-esque black-and-white cardigan. It perfectly calibrated the stylistic feel of the two cities. At Nahmias, Doni Nahmias gave slouchy-sporty, while at John Elliott, the designer did polished, earth-toned and denim-centric sportswear.
Amiri may have capped it off best, in describing his own collection. “[It’s] engineered in California, inspired by precious memories. For the young and the young at heart,” he said in his show notes. And that’s the key: The California dream is alive and well with Paris’ L.A.-wave because it appeals to a universal vibrancy and sentiment. If we can all dress with some of that Southern Californian sun infused into our threads, then, no doubt, the days will be a bit brighter.