In the run up to fashion week, all eyes are focused on New York, London, Paris and Milan, where top international designers will show us their style visions for the season ahead. Although these masters are undeniably in a league of their own, there are talents beyond the four fashion epicenters that are as synonymous with high standards of design, craftsmanship and materials as their better known colleagues. When it comes to high fashion, Los Angeles’ expansive creative community and the numerous red-carpet occasions make it both a hotbed for rising designers and a great all-around platform for the luxury market. JC Report has been a longtime proponent of Los Angeles’ burgeoning fashion culture in particular and once again we want to spotlight the city’s undeniable gems.
Womenswear designer JMary‘s signature tailored jackets and suits (starting at $10,000) combine sex appeal, sophistication and femininity. Her pieces are almost exclusively sold at the legendary Maxfield’s, which keeps the identity of this reclusive designer completely under wraps. Such discretion stands in stark contrast to the omnipresence of JMary’s celebrity clientele, but it allows the clothes to speak for themselves.
For men, Michel Berandi‘s dark, uncompromising vision mixes futuristic and goth influences. He is known for expertly fitted leather jackets as well as unique detailing like human hair-rimmed hoods. Such unconventional design nuances are sure to draw attention, but shouldn’t distract from the level of excellence exhibited in Berandi’s garments.
Using a similar visual vocabulary, womenswear label Cerre avoids anything superfluous. Made with the finest leathers as well as recently added natural fibers such as silk jersey and linen, the young label’s pieces are reduced to clean lines and perfect proportioning.
JC Obando is sailing in more familiar waters. The draped, flowy and pleated silhouettes of his evening gowns made this advertising executive-cum-fashion designer a CFDA finalist a few years back. Obando also founded The Foundry in 2008, an atelier that merges experimental approaches with traditional hand-sewing techniques, thereby securing a permanent home for the couture side of his business.
LA-dwelling Johnson Hartig put Libertine back on everyone’s map last season by combining wildly colored graphics with proper vintage silhouettes that created an alluring tension.
Last but not least, The Elder Statesman’s hooded sweatshirts and knitted scarves might appeal to those with more relaxed couture sensibilities, but the label’s magnificent handmade cashmere goods are sold for top dollars at only a few select stores. Having taken up residency in a surf shack in Venice just a few blocks from the ocean, designer Greg Chait embodies the label’s lifestyle.