David Buchan/Getty Images
It's easy to understand why Los Angeles hasn't registered on the fashion map. The hyperchill home of wet-hair-don't-care attitudes has long personified day-to-day dressing. And when stars turn it up for the red carpet, often, safe bets rule.
But past the genteel weather and laid-back vibe is a growing and ouroboros creative force that's taking the fashion establishment by surprise and subversively influencing global style more than ever before. (Athleisure, anyone?) Judging by the talent to entrench the town as of late, the city is more than ready for its close-up.
LA, is after all, the chosen home of super designer Tom Ford and Rodarte's Mulleavy sisters, who have long done fashion their own way. It's the city from which cool-kid labels Band of Outsiders and Elder Statesman are based. And it's where Hedi Slimane set up shop in a controversial move with Saint Laurent, a legendary Parisian design house.
So when on-the-rise fashion designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais bailed from New York (where they made a name for themselves with flirty-but-sophisticated label Ruffian) for Los Angeles, not only did they find themselves in good company, but inspired by the "creative consciousness" in the SoCal city that designer Brian Wolk said is "like nowhere else."
David Buchan/Getty Images
With that creative consciousness as a catalyst, the duo celebrated its one-year anniversary as Angelenos by showing a thoroughly-modern debut collection from their new line, Wolk Morais, last night, at a pop-art gallery in Hollywood.
The 2016 resort collection ( dubbed "LA New Look," a sunny departure from Ruffian's black-dominated collections) not only played up techno-brights and '60s-meets-'80s pop references—including dresses soaked in emergency broadcast system color patterns—but the idea of seasonless dressing with pieces that are wearable and layerable, yet luxe. (A yellow silk georgette evening gown that was made for Elle Fanning's bright spirit is at once glamorous and easy.)
With this embrace of lightness and saturated color also comes the shedding of a typical spring/fall collection schedule. Instead, the label will show resort and pre-fall collections only; The designers (who continue to produce Ruffian as well) have not only left New York in the rearview, but the traditional mind frame in which designers consider the way we dress.
"Los Angeles is a seasonless culture and there's no way not to be influenced by the climate," Wolk said. "But I do feel like modern dressing in general has become quite seasonless due to air conditioning and heating. Needless to say, our customer is not putting on a big heavy coat anyway. She is interested in layering."
The concept proved ridiculously in step with attendees like Masters of Sex's Caitlin Fitzgerald, Topher Grace, Rose McGowan and Constance Zimmer, all of whom sported effortless, yet elevated looks befitting breezy weather.
With more and more creatives rushing into the open arms of Los Angeles (including Gwyneth Paltrow, who recently announced the move of Goop's HQ to LA.) and the evolution of consistent climates (thanks, global warming!), LA may not only be the new hub of forward-thinking fashion, but the impetus for a more fluid way of dressing, in which building wardrobes by season feels as archaic as avoiding white after labor day.