Please Saint Laurent, No More Parties In L.A.
Last night, February 10, Saint Laurent presented their first-ever fashion show in Los Angeles, 2,500 miles away from New York Fashion Week.
It was a star-studded event, packed with Hollywood’s biggest celebrity names. Guests in attendance included Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Miguel, Lenny Kravitz, Zac Efron, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and more. The rock ‘n’ roll-inspired runway show took place at the Hollywood Palladium, featuring Hedi Slimane’s androgynous menswear designs.
After the runway show, the Palladium was transformed into an after-party and concert with performers including Beck and Joan Jett.
Sounds cool? It almost was.
“Los Angeles was once just a city of jeans, but it is quickly becoming a high-fashion town,” said Joe Zee, the editor-in-chief of Yahoo Style. “There was such a snobbery about L.A. with New Yorkers before, but that tide has really changed.”
But New Yorkers who believe they can change Los Angeles into a fashion capital are still, indeed snobby.
The party felt like a New Yorker’s idea of what a Los Angeles party would be like, with a ramen station, cheap beer, and sparkly wristbands that made celebrities and fashionistas feel like general admission concert goers. The issue? People from Los Angeles don’t do ironic, and we especially don’t view our own parties as ironic.
Saint Laurent casted punk kids raised in Los Angeles to fill the Palladium (scenesters who work at trendy stores on Fairfax and a lot of skater kids I used to babysit). Yes, not only was the show casted, but so was the audience.
Member of hardcore punk band Trashtalk (and party attendee), Lee Spielman, tweeted this:
High fashion is a virus. Don’t be fooled.
— LEE SPIELMAN (@LeeSpielman) February 11, 2016
Fashion has always been based on exclusivity, so the transition into an event for the masses is expected to be awkward, but shouldn’t it at least feel genuine?
We’re seeing fashion become more attainable. Kanye West live-streamed Yeezy Season 3 today and Cara Delevigne launched Burberry’s Snapchat during Fashion Week in order to bring a backstage view to everyone who wanted it. Since then, multiple fashion outlets have debuted exclusive footage or coverage on Snapchat, making physically attending fashion week unnecessary.
Attending the Saint Laurent show felt like I was watching it on Snapchat, staring at a watered down version of what the fashion world thought I could handle. There was nothing unattainable about Saint Laurent’s event. If that was the goal, perhaps Saint Laurent did a good thing, just maybe in the wrong city. Los Angeles lives for what’s unattainable. After all, we are the “City of Angels”.
Party attendees arrived in jackets from seasons of Saint Laurent’s past, or worse, ill-fitting fringe jackets paired with colored Doc Martens. Nobody looked real, in fact, most guests looked like they were dressed up in costume. How could Los Angeles quickly become a high-fashion town? We didn’t even fit in at our own party.
“L.A. is better than it used to be, New York is worse than it used to be,” Annie Lebowitz told the New York Times.
And she’s almost right. Gentrification ruined New York, pushing its creative class out of the city and into Downtown Los Angeles. L.A. got some cool artists in exchange for semi-affordable rent, and sometimes we even get invited to exclusive gallery openings. Unlike the Saint Laurent party, most gallery openings feel like a New York event. I appreciate that. I can learn from that.
The LAWeekly ran a list of “The Six Types of Transplants Ruining L.A.,” topped by New Yorkers. “The only thing New Yorkers love more than talking about New York is talking about how Los Angeles isn’t New York,” the article said.
Do New Yorkers only consider moving to Los Angeles because they believe they can change it?
Los Angeles is changing, there’s no denying that. “The art scene, for one, has exploded. More than 50 galleries have sprouted since late 2013,” reported the New York Times. And that makes sense. Hollywood is basically the world’s largest art project, not fashion project.
Hedi Slimane moved Saint Laurent’s studio to Los Angeles last year, but was it really a big enough milestone for the fashion industry? Tom Ford also held his first runway show in Los Angeles, drawing out more celebrities than NYFW has seen in years. However, it was celebrities that made the fashion matter, not the fashion that made Los Angeles matter. Here, we have our problem.
“The energy of the younger people is heavily re-routing to LA,” Guillermo Andrade, founder of LA’s 424 on Fairfax, told High Snobiety. “There is real opportunity here. There are no set rules on how to succeed in any industry. It’s a double-edged sword though, it can and will easily chew you up and spit you out. Los Angeles is the glitch in the matrix.”
Moving to Los Angeles to start a brand makes sense, financially speaking. But moving an iconic fashion house to Los Angeles is seeming to lack in purpose. Saint Laurent is neither wrong nor right. The brand’s magical idea of what L.A. could be might be better than what it actually is at the moment. Bring New York to Los Angeles, not a flawed idea of Los Angeles to Los Angeles.
That’s all I’m asking.