One of the great joys of being a fashion critic is the ability to observe how designers all over the world riff on and reinterpret the L.A. look.
Watching the spring runway collections, whether I was sitting at a runway show in the crumbling Beekman Palace in
It wasn't just homesickness, though after weeks on the road, that could have been part of it. I was thinking about how the clothes would play here, how they might have been influenced by the vision of casual luxe that California has exported to the world, and how they might have been inspired by the landscape, art, architecture and attitude of this incredible place.
Some of the references were overt.
Michael Kors name-checked modernist California architects Richard Neutra and John Lautner in the show notes for his collection, a graphic take on 1960s-inspired glamour with shades of sunshine yellow, palm green and poppy red, and bold checks and stripes. The crystal-blue cloud and swimming pool prints on satin trousers, shorts and dresses brought to mind the postcard vistas framed by the indoor-outdoor homes nestled in the desert and the hills.
Other collections nodded to SoCal style tribes and subcultures.
In his first ready-to-wear collection for Saint Laurent shown in Paris, L.A.-based Hedi Slimane summoned a rock 'n' roll, ladies-of-the-canyon vibe. Billowy maxi-dresses, feather-trimmed capes and wide-brimmed hats recalled
London designer Holly Fulton tapped SoCal surf and skate culture, citing Patti McGee, the first women's national skateboard champion in Santa Monica in 1965, as an inspiration for brightly patterned board shorts and rockabilly raffia and plastic dresses with floral motifs. And L.A.'s Rozae Nichols turned to the open road, from the desert to the coast, engineering a prints-based collection for her Clover Canyon label inspired by low-rider car culture, roadside diners, rodeos, surf shacks and even cannabis leaves.
Then there were collections that got me thinking of home in a more abstract way.
A new uniform for the haute slacker, the Celine look would be perfect for an early-morning run to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. But only if you know the paparazzi are watching.
Whether you live here or are just California dreaming, it's all in stores now.