Lena Dunham, Lily Collins, Diane Kruger, Lea Michele, Jessica Pare, Victoria and David Beckham, and many more descended on the Chateau Marmont on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate up-and-coming fashion talent, the 10 designer finalists of the 2013 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
In its 10th year, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition culminates in a $300,000 prize, and $100,000 prizes each for two runners-up. The winner will be announced Nov. 11.
For years, Los Angeles was mostly ignored by the New York-based fashion industry, dogged with a reputation for being more a manufacturing town for down-market denim and T-shirts, than a center for design creativity.
But that has changed over the last decade with the rise of more artisanally focused Los Angeles luxury labels, and the importance of the celebrity-fashion connection. The local community has been embraced by Vogue magazine in particular, with a story in the September issue declaring Los Angeles the coolest city on the planet.
Also representing L.A., Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy (also alumni of the fund), Chrome Hearts' Laurie Stark, jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth, A.L.C designer Andrea Lieberman, shoe designer George Esquivel, stylist-turned-designer Rachel Zoe, Juicy Couture founders Pamela Skaist Levy and Gela Nash Taylor, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie, Gregory Parkinson and Jenni Kayne were in the seats watching this year's class work their magic on the runway.
Among those vying for this year's Fashion Fund prize is L.A.-based advertising creative-turned-fashion designer JC Obando, who showed his jewel-toned peasant blouses, hand-pleated skirts and flowing gowns.
Another local, accessories designer Jason Jones, showed duffels, messenger bags and purses crafted of brightly colored American bison from his label Parabellum.
"L.A. is definitely having a fashion moment," said Mark Holgate, fashion news director at Vogue. I asked him what he thinks unites the designers working here. "They have a pioneering spirit, because there is not a lot of support in L.A., and not as much of a sense of community. What unites them is dedication, ambition and drive," he said. "There's also a level of emotion and care, from A.L.C.'s Andrea Lieberman exploring what it means to have a made-in-L.A. contemporary label headquartered downtown, to Greg Chait and the extended family of people he has knitting his things for Elder Statesman."
It's going to be a difficult decision for the judges; there is a lot of talent in the group.
This year, thecorner.com has set up an online boutique where you can shop pieces from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists.
And if you want more insight into the competition, "The Fashion Fund," a new six-part series, starts airing Jan. 22 on the Ovation arts channel.