New York, London, Milan, Paris… all world cities that are synonymous with premier fashion weeks, attracting the crème de la crème of designers to show off next season’s wears. But with big name labels such as Tom Ford, H&M and (for a time) St. Laurent looking for fresh talent and a west coast vibe by relocating their ateliers to the City Of Angels, L.A. is poised to become the next marquee fashion week city. Sensing this change in the wind, we packed up and headed South to see the sights and sounds and yes, fashion, of some of the week’s emerging talents.
What do you get when a Finn and Venezuelan have a chance meeting at a boutique in the Arctic Circle? The wedding and occasion dress label Nordic Angels. The name is inspired by the gentle spirit of the thousands of reindeer that call North of 60 home, and provide not only companionship but a livelihood for the indigenous peoples of Finland. However, the dresses are not equipped to withstand the harsh realities of extreme northern life! Made of reindeer leather, tulle, satins and silks, Nordic Angels’ clothing is intended for taking a turn around the dance floor, rather than jetting around Finland on a snowmobile. Like Finnish design in Southern California, Nordic Angels marries some alien concepts, such as leather bustiers and billowing ballgown skirts, but they are able to make it work through the pliability of the soft reindeer hide and using stiffer skirt materials. Not for the basic bride, Nordic Angels will be a wedding dress with a biker streak.
The future is now at industrial-turned-fashion designer, Tommy Ambiyo Tedji’s label Byo. Stamped with the designer’s love of sci-fi, Byo is a little bit couture and a little bit Jetsons-esque. Fresh from his Good Design Indonesia 2017 award for the Warrior Clutch in Black, Tedji had a lot to celebrate heading into fashion week. His Spring/Summer 2018 collection had a sea anemone look about it. From clutches to embellishments on sleeveless tops, spiky but bright and glossy was in. One of the best things about Byo is the affordability. Byo’s clutches that are made of a mix of woven glossy and matte PVC are priced to sell at under 200.00$ USD with many being under 100.00$ USD. Christmas is coming!
Fellow Canadian Michelle Worth’s Jakarta based label Lotuz draws inspiration from her globetrotting life, be it Southeast Asia or North America. Taking a page from where the show was held, Worth spoke of how Venice Beach inspired her Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Emphatic street style was an obvious influence as Lotuz layered like the best of them; with a tulle cropped top under a pink satin bustier under a giant lolita-esque bow, all floating above a brocade pencil skirt. Like Nordic Angels, the statement boned bustier was a constant; at times paired with a ruffled skirt, other times with skin tight short-shorts. As fun as the designs are, sorry Canadians, the only North American stockists are in the United States.
With the celebration of international talent, L.A.F.W. is on the rise as a force to be reckoned with on the global fashion scene. Think London, or New York, but with much better tacos. We look forward to what next year will bring!