Fashion Shows. More on the Demise of L.A. Fashion Week

October 20, 2008 • Magazine

Lauren_conrad_spring_09_2 Lauren Conrad Spring ’09

No, it wasn’t all because of over-hyped and under-performing celebrity fashion designers the likes of Lauren Conrad. Los Angeles Fashion
fell apart for many other reasons.

This past fashion week (which ended last Thursday) marks the end of the five-year partnership between event producer IMG and
Smashbox Studios. According to WWD, several
West Coast designers were unable to consistently produce distinguished
work and those who did moved on to New York. The collections failed to generate celebrity buzz as well as
attract heavyweight buyers and editors; Los Angeles suffered because it
followed prestigious runway shows in the fashion capitals and IMG might
have raised unrealistic expectations.

Another element: fashion
shows in locales such as Mumbai and Berlin may be more profitable for
IMG. Sources said Los Angeles Fashion Week didn’t make enough money for
IMG to continue the partnership with Smashbox. The event’s future is

The recent shows failed to get traction even though California is the
biggest retail market and clothing production center in the U.S.,
locations such as Melrose Place, Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard
are attracting designers and brands still covet Hollywood trend-setters.

the beginning, people were more excited, so some of the serious L.A.
designers participated then,” said Sue Wong, who until last season
showed her collection at every Los Angeles Fashion Week organized by
Smashbox and IMG. She opted out last season in favor of showing at her
home, and this season at the California Market Center.

it became more peripheral,” Wong said. “They brought in people like
Jenna Jamison and the Pussycat Dolls. It kind of got to be a joke
toward the end. I pulled out because I didn’t want that association
with my brand.

Designer Corey Lynn
, a regular at Smashbox, agreed with Wong that fashionBeach_bunny_spring_09_2
suffered as the runways filled with subpar collections. “The caliber of
designer that started showing was really less and less appealing to me
personally,” she said.

Designers like Calter who could have
imbued fashion week with credibility have put their money and labor
toward smaller events catering to select groups of customers and
buyers. “There
has been no bang for your buck,” Calter said. “You are spinning your
wheels to do something for fashion week, and the buyers aren’t here and
the press isn’t coming out in the capacity that we need it to come out
to warrant the cost.”

Emerging talents
like Jenni Kayne and Juan Carlos Obando, who started out showing in Los
Angeles, eventually moved on to New York. Major West Coast-based
designers like Monique Lhuillier and Max Azria chose to show in New York, and
others, such as Gregory Parkinson and Trovata, got their own sponsors
and presented collections off-site.

season and last, Fern Mallis, senior vice president of IMG Fashion has been in India, rather than Los Angeles,
organizing Mumbai Fashion Week. That’s not a good sign.

all think there’s a lot more we can be doing,” said Davis Factor, who
with his brother Dean Factor, owns Smashbox Studios in Culver City,
Calif. “We will continue to do a fashion week and do our best to
maintain the level of quality. It can’t compete with New York. It has
to be its own thing.”

Read "Unscripted Ending for L.A. Fashion Week" here

Photos: Lauren Conrad, Coutorture; Kevyn Hall, Quest For It; Beach Bunny, X-Celebs

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply