Plans Proceed for Ralphs Market and Fashion Museum

Living and working in the Los Angeles Fashion District may soon become more appealing as the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) on Dec. 19 approved a $220 million residential/retail project that will bring a Ralphs supermarket and 250 apartments to a section just west of the Fashion District.

Hollywood-based CIM Group this July will start construction on 127,000 square feet of retail space and five stories of lofts on the site off of 9th and Flower streets formerly occupied by the Southern California Gas Co.

CIM, headed by developer Shaul Kuba, is the same company that has helped develop Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and Old Pasadena. It also has its sights set on another property at Grand and Olive, which it has targeted for a similar mixed-use project and which may house a 10,000-square-foot annex to MODAC, the Museum of Fashion Designers and Creators.



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Original Ensemble From Vintage Clothing

The assignment was to create an original ensemble from vintage clothing culled from Salvation Army thrift stores. Los Angeles Trade-Tech student Kiki Hatton took up the challenge and created a red leather corset gown with a daringly high slit, which she modeled in the school’s recent Gold Thimble Fashion Show.

Kiki Hatton

  • Who: Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATT)
  • What: Biannual Gold Thimble Fashion Show
  • Where: LATT campus, downtown Los Angeles
  • When: Dec. 13

The Scene: The theme was Recycled, Reused, Renewed, but the fashion was 100 percent original at the Los Angeles Trade-Tech Gold Thimble Fashion Show held at the school’s campus in downtown Los Angeles. For the opening segment of the show, students were asked to create new pieces from vintage clothing picked up at local Salvation Army thrift stores. The creations ranged from a futuristic cocoon coat laced up the back with ties to a flamenco-ruffled skirt made from several pairs of blue jeans in different wash shades.

flamenco-ruffled skirt


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Tour de Fashion

Cool, breezy-colored beachwear, hip urban junior gear and Oscar-worthy gowns were just a few of the looks included in the panorama of Los Angeles-bred designs offered for national and international press on August 8th at “This Way L.A.,” an LA By Design-sponsored fashion show held at the California Mart.

The event was timed to coincide with preparations for the Democratic National Convention. Following brief introductions and greetings from Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan and California Fashion Association and LA By Design executive director Ilse Metchek, the ball got rolling–the beach ball, that is.

Show organizers took the audience on a virtual fashion tour of the city, hitting all the familiar Los Angeles landmarks along the way. Models carrying brightly colored beach balls and sporting sexy La Blanca swimwear covered in nursery-hued polka dots in sky blue, pistachio and peony introduced the event’s first segment, appropriately dubbed “Malibu Beach.” Playful junior wear in girly colors, such as baby T-shirts with DAWLS graphics and wildflower print capris followed.

Melissa M


Magic’s Fall Forecast

This season’s trends really ran the gamut at the Feb. 13-16 run of MAGIC—from spice-colored everything and black and white to skins galore and a fancy for fur. “Out with the old and in with the new” is the familiar saying, but for Fall 2012, everything new is inspired by the old—meaning classic, vintage or retro.

This season’s trends ranged from vintage and novelty-driven Americana looks (think of 1950s rebel mixed with country and western), classic suits and houndstooth and herringbone prints. Luxury is still in and there was enough fur and leather to prove it. But this season’s versions seemed less extravagant and more about adding texture to an entire look. (The exception: Faux fur jackets in frosted techno colors like acid green, cobalt blue and orange.)

The toned-down furs and skins worked well with Fall’s spicy color palette filled with sumptuous shades of chocolate, crŽme, burnt orange and camel. Everything blended together reminded me of a richly layered dessert. Corduroy stood out as a good alternative to denim, although each definitely held its own. Special treatments, like hand-sanding the fabrics or creating a whiskered effect, gave a more worn and weathered look—an obvious preference in the junior and young contemporary categories.



Local Talent, International Flavor

  • Who: Long Beach City College (LBCC) Fashion Department
  • What: Culture Clash, Long Beach City College’s 27th annual fashion show
  • When: Sep22
  • Where: Long Beach City College Auditorium, Long Beach, Calif.

The Scene: International inspiration permeated Long Beach City College’s 27th annual fashion show. Student designs blended a variety of cultural motifs, and the catwalk included internationally flavored entertainment as well.

More than 600 guests attended the event—including employees from Carson, Calif.–based swim manufacturer Beach Patrol, who turned out to show their support of upcoming local talent.

The theme of this year’s fashion show paid homage to cultural influences in fashion. International music and dance performances—such as Middle Eastern belly dancing, African drum songs, Hawaiian hula dances and flamenco music—introduced each fashion segment.

Italian high fashion show (more…)

Holiday Sales Opens Doors in Los Angeles

Italian clothing brand Miss Sixty plans to make its retail debut in the Los Angeles area with two stores opening in high-profile locations. One store is slated for Melrose Avenue at the corner of Crescent Heights Boulevard in Los Angeles, directly across the street from Ron Herman/Fred Segal Melrose, and another store is planned for Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, according to real estate sources.

Scheduled to open this summer, the 4,500-square-foot Melrose unit, located near West Hollywood, will carry the label’s signature denim jeans, clothing, shoes, accessories, intimates and swimwear geared to the 16- to 24-year-old shopper, said Karin Plonaitis, director of retail for Sixty USA, the firm’s American arm. “The West Hollywood area is where our customer shops and it’s a place to brand they’re name,” she said.

The 4,500-square-foot store in Santa Monica is scheduled to open by summer 2011. Plonaitis wouldn’t confirm either location, citing pending lease negotiations. First-year sales should hit $4.5 million for the Los Angeles store and $3.8 million for the Santa Monica store, she said. Brokers overseeing the two deals declined to comment.

Miss Sixty made its U.S. retail debut in New York last October with a 2,000-square-foot location on Mulberry Street. Plans call for around 10 units to open over the next three years along with a Los Angeles showroom.

Italian clothing brand Miss Sixty

Parent company Sixty SpA, based in Chieti, Italy, generates more than $300 million in annual revenues from its global wholesale accounts and some 20 retail boutiques in Berlin, London and other European cities.

Holiday Sales Results Mixed and Not Merry

 From clothing racks touting 40 percent to 50 percent off to random, hourly discounts for the timely shopper, a snapshot of the retail holiday season reveals one thing— a bottom-line nightmare. “Results will be very disappointing, especially in the apparel sector, where we saw nonstop sales,” said Mike Gottlieb, a partner in the retail consumer practice of Ernst & Young.

The release of two reports on Jan. 2 suggests even the promotions couldn’t sustain sales. Chain-store sales rose 0.9 percent in the week ending Dec. 29, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi said, after a 2.9 percent rise one week earlier. In a separate report, Instinet’s Redbook Average showed a 3.9 percent drop in sales during the four-week period ending on Dec. 29 compared with the equivalent period in November. Like most analysts, Gottlieb predicts a flat to 2 percent increase in sales for the season. That figure pits 2012 as one of the least successful holiday seasons in a decade.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the worst revenue performance occurred in 2012, when holiday sales were flat. Analysts say it isn’t all bad news. “When you consider the government has said that we’ve been in a recession since March, any kind of increase is a positive thing,” said Madison Riley, a principal in the retail merchandising practice at Kurt Salmon Associates. “Another key thing is that merchants are well-positioned to start off the new year given that their inventories are in good shape.”

holiday seasons clothing

Along with a tempered mood following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the spending slump also was due to the lack of the “must-have” factor. Unless shoppers were in the market for Microsoft’s Xbox or Nintendo’s GameCube, they felt little incentive to buy much else. “There was an absence in fashion. There wasn’t anything that had pizzazz to it,” Gottlieb said.

Cool weather was driving sales at Fresno, Calif.-based Gottschalks Inc. during the weekend prior to and the days after the holiday. Both men’s and women’s sweaters were strong sellers as were outerwear, accessories and gloves, said Fred Dentelspacher, Gottschalks’ vice president of marketing. “We’re optimistic that we’ll come in with a decent December, coming in on plan,” he said.

Mervyn’s department store in Southern California’s Glendale Galleria was doing a brisk business in menswear, according to general manager Margaret Kiernan. “Overall, for the month, we’re up,” Kiernan said. “We could have a small increase in holiday sales compared to last year.” For malls, there was an extra reliance on new customer activities and promotions.

holiday seasons dresses

South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., raced out of the seasonal starting gate with a nine-day gift-with-purchase program. Shoppers who spent $500 in one day received a Tiffany crystal bowl. “It was successful beyond our dreams— we had to reorder three times,” said Debra Gunn Downing, the shopping center’s executive director of marketing. That promotion, along with dizzying retailer price cuts, led to a 5 percent increase in traffic over the year prior, Downing said. Shoppers took advantage of Giorgio Armani’s 40-percent-off and Bally’s 50-percent-off sales as well as the myriad coupons at Gap, Banana Republic, Salvatore Ferragamo and Macy’s West. Downing said December “will beat expectations” and she expects to post an increase over last year.

The lines were long to pose with a clean-shaven “Hunky Santa” at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, according to general manager Laurel Crary. For the most part, though, shoppers weren’t spending fistfuls of cash, she said. “People weren’t backing off from buying, but they didn’t go overboard either,” Crary said. “Most reaction from retailers is that they’re doing as good as last year. Most business was stronger outside of the apparel sector.” Crary expects to see an increase between flat and a few percentage points for the holiday season.

American Dream

Designers have added a new twist to Americana by creating T-shirts, sweat outfits, purses and jewelry that will help others rebuild their lives and restore faith in the “American Dream.”

Proceeds go to various charities aiding those directly impacted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, including the American Red Cross, New York Firefighter’s Fund, New York Police Department and Twin Towers Orphan’s Fund.

Images of Americana— past and present— are created when these pieces are combined with some of the hottest trends in red, white and blue.

Designers feel a call to duty this Spring,creating apparel and accessories that benefit Sept. 11-related charities.

White viscose/Lycra “Flag Tee” ($100) by MARGARET O’LEARY (benefiting the Twin Towers Orphan’s Fund); red-and-white cotton picnic sailor-print “Ahoy” circle skirt ($58) by COREY LYNN CALTER; “Stars & Stripes” rayon/thermal fleece purse ($15.75) by TOPSY TURVY (benefiting the New York Firefighter’s Fund); red contour leather belt ($80) by SUZI ROHER.

Red cotton “Peace” T by HEATHERETTE ($45) (benefiting the Twin Towers Fund); navy cotton/Lycra stretch-canvas “Ahoy” low-rise sailor pant ($59) and zip-up cotton/Lycra mesh hoodie ($62) by COREY LYNN CALTER; SARAH SHAW’s denim stripe purse ($15) (benefiting the American Red Cross); “Evil eye” sterling-silver protection bracelet ($12) by ZIRCONMANIA (benefiting the Twin Towers Orphan’s Fund).

Matte rayon/Lycra sueded jersey and net shoulder-tie dress ($98) by MAGGIE BARRY COLLECTION; U.S.A. denim slipper with red, white and blue pom-pom flower ($35) by BONJOUR FLEURETTE (benefiting the American Red Cross).

Cotton “Flag” tank ($29) (benefiting the 9-11 Fund), denim studded vest ($79) and jeans ($106), all by MISS VINTAGE; Swarovski crystal star choker ($46) by BEN-AMUN (benefiting the New York Firefighter’s Fund); skinny studded leather belt ($28) by TRES FLORES; black contrast-stitch leather boots ($39.50) by N.Y.L.A.; American-flag reusable skin art in Swarovski crystal ($8) or acrylic ($4) by FIRE FLIES (benefiting the Twin Towers Fund).


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Ford and Lane Davis Stage Fashions at Auto Show

Hollywood Looks With Contemporary Style
Shelly Komarov may be best known as a five-time Emmy Award–winning costume designer for the likes of Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry, but her current passion is her two contemporary sportswear lines, Komarov and Kisca.

Komarov has taken a step back from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to create her own fashions with son Dimitri and long-time family friend Dmitry Liberman. They are partners in Komarov’s 5-year-old business, which is projecting to increase its sales by 30 percent to $5 million in 2003.

The trio design and produce sophisticated prints and solid separates in stretch-poplin, double-layered chiffon and parachute fabric for both collections, geared to women 28 to 50. “Each piece is great for traveling because they are made with fine fabrics that can be hand-washed,” explained Dimitri Komarov.

Revving up its image, Ford Motor Co. hosted a fashion show by North Hollywood, Calif.-based designer Lane Davis Jan. 3 at the preview night of the Greater L.A. Auto Show running through Jan. 12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Ford recently hired Davis to outfit its employees for trade shows. “It’s extremely exciting to work with Ford and create a classic look for their employees,” she said. With a gleaming, baby-blue Ford Thunderbird rotating at the foot of the 40-foot runway, Davis presented 60 ensembles— possibly one or two over the attention span of male car enthusiasts— crafted from leather, silks and satins, mostly in hues of black, cream, red and midnight blue.

Her upscale, classic line consists of man-tailored pant suits with one- and two-button blazers worn with sheer, beaded tops; smart-looking skirt suits with front slits; backless or strapless gowns with a beaded chest band and wraps; and flyaway coats paired with evening dresses. Her breakout touches included a “street meets the office” set with a snug, leather, zip-up jacket worn with pinstripe pants and resort-looking, pearlized leather pant suits in aqua blue and sand. The entire evening was a charity event and guests, including a slimmed-down Rob Reiner, paid $100–$200 to benefit Homeless Health Care Los Angeles.

—Nola Sarkisian-Miller