Why is Mr Porter serving up palm trees and surf vibes? To celebrate California style
Luxury men’s e-tailer Mr Porter is paying retail homage to the Golden State with a just-launched Made in California campaign that highlights a dozen high-end menswear apparel and accessories brands with Cali connections, including Rick Owens, Outerknown, the Elder Statesman and Stüssy.
“So many of the spring/summer 2017 trends in menswear … could draw a line back to California style,” said the retailer’s senior buying manager Sam Lobban, “be it [the] outdoorsy sportswear that’s going on or the ’90s skate thing or the color palette that some of the more casual brands are using or that L.A. sort of shabby chic, rock ‘n’ roll-type vibe.”
He also noted that the notion of California resonates far beyond its borders.
“I grew up just outside of North London,” he said. “And there was, like, something about Californian style that always felt super-glamorous and exotic and luxurious and aspirational.… The idea of [a] super-cool, laid-back, sun-bleached, palm-tree haven was always super appealing.”
Eight of the brands with exclusive capsule collections on the site — the aforementioned labels as well as James Perse, John Elliott and Mollusk Surf — have been part of the Mr Porter merchandise mix in the past, and four are completely new to the retailer: Amiri, Golden Bear, Noon Goons and Second/Layer.
Although all of the featured brands have some connection to the Golden State (Rick Owens launched his label here in 1994, for example, but is based in Paris) and some of the pieces are manufactured here (the Elder Statesman knits and Mollusk Surf T-shirts to name two), the Made in California moniker refers more to the inspiration than geographic origin.
Prices in the Made in California collection, which went live on MrPorter.com Tuesday, range from $35 for Mollusk’s retro-surf cotton T-shirts screenprinted with wave-hopping dolphins or pelicans to a $14,900 made-to-order, black leather motorcycle jacket with hand-painted, Swarovski-crystal-embellished palm trees by L.A.-based Amiri.
In addition to the aforementioned Amiri jacket, eye-catching pieces in the 145-piece collection include the Elder Statesman’s tie-dyed palm-tree intarsia cashmere sweaters ($960), Golden Bear’s cardinal-red leather-paneled varsity jacket ($390) and Stüssy’s bold tropical-print shirts ($170) and swim trunks ($85).
This isn’t the first time the luxury shopping site has tapped into West Coast cool; back in 2011, the Porter posse decamped to California (not coincidentally, one of its biggest markets) to celebrate all things surf and sun.
To mark the launch of the Made in California collection, Mr Porter has taken over a Hollywood Boulevard motel for a Wednesday night bash, a venue that calls to mind the legendary Maxim Motel barn-burner of August 2000 that saw the 65-room Farmer’s Daughter motel on Fairfax Avenue transformed into a swirl of themed rooms. (That party came to an infamous early end at the hands of fire marshals and police in riot gear.)
Will the invite-only Mr Porter party make for another most-memorable motel moment? We can’t wait to check in to check it out.
For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me at @ARTschorn.