Fall Trend: Navajo Element

Tribal influences, inspired by Santa Fe, N.M., Mayan and Aztec symbols and a dash of mysticism, are taking a spotlight this fall as fashion heads into Navajo prints, fringed suede, gaucho pants and chunky Peruvian sweaters. Evolving from a mishmash of references such as 1980s neon colors with Native American patterns and influenced by the music festival style seen at Coachella, the trend first appeared on the fall runways in New York in February at Proenza Schouler, Isabel Marant and Diane von Furstenberg shows. And now the trend has made its way into the LA Fashion District. Here are some “neo-native” pieces that you can get without breaking the bank:

Image source: http://the-dark-knit.blogspot.com/2010_08_01_archive.html 

1. Tribal fringe, sleeveless top - $25
2. Off the shoulder top - $29
3. Maxi Skirt - $39
4. Brown Belt - $15
5. Sleeveless, collared top - $35
6. Turqoise rings - $5, D&D Fashion Jewelry 805A Maple Ave Los Angeles, CA 90014
7. Pink/yellow top - $29

Everything else:
Marc Laurent
934-A S. Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Inspired by: the Night Sky

When I was little, every night my dad would pull my little sister and I along in a little red wagon all padded with blankets and take us for a walk around the block teaching us about the constellations. To this day, I can still point out Orion's belt & the big and little dipper.
 Now, one of my favorite things about living far from the city lights is looking up every night to see a sea of twinkling stars, I'll never take it for granted!
Photo-real galaxy prints and accessories inspired by constellations have been popping up on Christopher Kane's runway to bedazzled Jessica Kagan bangles. I love how futuristic it feels.
Try This Trend: Cosmos Girl
This Street Peeper shot shows that this space age trend works in real life too:
This post is also inspired by my super smart best friend & astrophysics grad student, Joce! In college we'd trade stories from her classes about Einstein's theories and my history of dress classes.. Miss you!
xoxo, lauren

How to: Pack the Perfect Picnic

With summer slowly fading away and fall quickly approaching. I want to take the opportunity to enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. One of the things I've yet to do is have a picnic. There is something so perfectly nostalgic and simple about packing up your food in a basket and dining outside in the fresh air.
A blanket, bottled beverages and yummy food & fun companion are all picnic essentials:
how to: pack the perfect picnic
What would be your essential item to pack for a picnic (mine would be a little bit of vino!)?

xoxo, lauren

Fall Transitionals: The Maxi Skirt

Fall is just weeks away and it's time to adjust your wardrobe for the season. What's great about fall is that you don't have to buy a whole new wardrobe, it's all about weather-proofing your summer pieces! We chose to use the maxi skirt as a fall transition example.

The maxi skirt was one of the biggest trends this summer and it's not going anywhere this fall. Bright colors are one of this fall's trends, so try a maxi skirt in bright red as your statement piece. However instead of pairing it with a summer tank, wear it with a knit top like the example above. Then, for a work appropriate attire, finish the look with a blazer. For some extra pizaz, add fun jewelry and an animal print clutch (which is another fall trend). You can find these pieces in the LA Fashion District:

1. Blazer - Soho 923 S. Santee #4 Los Angeles, CA 90015
2. Knit top - Marc Laurent 934-A S. Los Angeles, CA 90015
3. Clutch - Inge Christopher http://www.ingechristopher.com/
4. Necklace - from Designer & Agents show, company name N/A, but check out J&B Accessories 1016 Santee St. #2, Los Angeles, CA 90015
5. Maxi Skirt - Soho 923 S. Santee #4 Los Angeles, CA 90015

Isabel Marant Warehouse Sale in the LA Fashion District (8/25 & 8/26)

CLOSED, the "J.Crew of Germany" is in Los Angeles

In the Cooper Building, Misty Castillo, US Sales Manager of Closed, busily answered several phone calls and confirmed last minute appointments in preparation for this week’s ENK Show in Las Vegas. ENK is a tightly merchandised event directed towards fine retailers, featuring contemporary brands in full sportswear, denim, dresses, accessories and footwear for men and women. From August 22-24, Closed will showcase their women’s summer 2012 collection at the highly anticipated, influential tradeshow. Appropriately enough, the anticipation is vice versa. Closed is one of the hottest, European brands hitting the contemporary US market today – and its home base is in Los Angeles.
Having a strong background in denim (Hudson, Citizens of Humanity, Adriano Goldschmied) and working internationally at the time, Misty saw a Closed store in Switzerland and immediately knew it would fill a need in America.

“It was so fresh, so new, I fell in love with it right away,” Misty said. “It had the American basics like tops and cardigans, but with a European twist.”

After a few calls and meetings, Misty got the green light. In 2010, she launched Closed in the US and made the LA Fashion District its headquarters. “I love the aesthetic and feel of the Cooper Building [in the Fashion District]. It’s very modern and is really the up-and-coming building here,” said Misty. “Plus, all the denim companies are in Los Angeles.” Similarly, Misty’s husband Eduardo Castillo also saw a need in the LA Fashion District. He recently opened Pattern Bar with partner Alejandro Meza, a restaurant that has really enhanced the excitement in the district’s nightlife.

What has only been a little more than a year since its launch, Closed has been very successful; they are already in various top accounts such as specialty stores Ron Herman, American Rag and Traffic.

The women's collection in the showroom
Photo courtesy of Closed

Women's collection
Photo courtesy of Closed

Basics and denim in bold colors in the men's collection

Dubbed the “J.Crew of Germany”, the Closed collection is casual and sophisticated, expertly translating trends into a timeless look. For example, their basic bottoms come in different washes and fits for each season, including flare, straight, skinny and cropped in dark, light, patchwork and more. For the spring and summer, the brand infused color with denim and chinos in brights and neons. For summer 2012, it’s all about soft fabrics, neon colors and easy, airy silhouettes.

Moreover, what’s unique about the brand is that it is one of the few that are a lifestyle collection. Though it started in Italy in the 1970s, Closed was relaunched in 2005 by three friends Gordon Giers, Hans Redlefsen and Til Nadler in Hamburg, Germany. They expanded the brand into shoes, belts and sportswear while denim and chinos remains the core of the company’s collection.

Men's outfit from Closed's winter collection

Women's outfit from the winter collection

Striped, colorful men's socks. These look great when styled as a peek-a-boo with cuffed jeans/chinos

These patent men's shoes give an outfit just the
right amount of punch and surprise

Women's belts in colorful patterns and interesting textures

Men's denim

An adorable men's ensemble. Color is key, guys!

Have we piqued your interest enough? For those of you who want to get a hold of Closed, in addition to their retail stores and online store, we’re happy to report that they will be having a sample sale at the end of October. We will update you on the details soon!

Closed US
860 S. Los Angeles St. #321
Los Angeles, Ca 90014
(213) 627-5000

To the Pointe

As someone who has danced their whole life and ripped more pale pink tights than I'd like to admit (I've never been the graceful type). I LOVE J. Crew's use of Russian ballerinas in their latest catalog to model their cashmere sweaters. 
Ballerina style has always appealed to me; these looks are inspired by my favorite pieces; black leotards, tulle skirts, and lace up shoes. Top knot bun not required, but would look incredibly cute with these styles.
images via j.crew
Have you ever taken dance classes?
xoxo, lauren

Farmer's Market Fabulous

One of my favorite parts of living around Madison, is the world's largest farmer's market every Saturday. It's so fun to buy fresh produce and flowers from some of the farms I drive past every day in the area. It's also a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the beautiful Midwest summer weather. 
Though no one looks this glam at our farmer's market, I love this Vogue Brazil editorial:
Do you ever shop at open-air markets?
xoxo, lauren

Video Interview with T&A Showroom Owners

Last Thursday, we attended the Rooftop Love! Lounge at the T&A Showroom in the Fashion District's 824 Building and were delighted to interview Tim and Alfred, owners of the edgy, contemporary showroom. The lines they carry, such as Alkemy, Future Heretics and Dear Creatures are a fave among stylish celebs. Watch our interview to learn more about their lines and to check out the amazing rooftop set-up of the event.

Game Day Glam

I was never one of those girls who cared about or knew anything about football. That is, until the day I stepped foot on the Florida State University campus. Since that memorable move-in day freshman year of college, I've become a tried and true Seminoles fan.
With kickoff a mere few weeks away, I obviously have college football on the brain. At FSU, I loved dressing up for the games, forget t-shirts and cutoffs; I'm more of a sundress and sandals (or cowboy boots), kinda girl. These were some looks that I was loving for a little bit of glam on gameday.
I'm hoping to become a Wisconsin fan too, now that I live in Wisco!
Are you a football fan? If so, what do you wear when you're rooting for your team?
xoxo, lauren

P.S. My friend & fellow nole, Chandra, is making the cutest gameday bracelets in any university's colors! check em out here!

Alternative Apparel Talks "How to Drive Brand Awareness in a Retail Setting"

24Seven hosted the “How to Drive Brand Awareness in the Retail Industry” seminar this summer at the California Market Center for retailers to gain insight on the importance of a retail space. The guest speakers were Danny Gonzales and Ari Bloom, the creative and brand management experts behind Alternative Apparel’s newest flagship store in Venice, CA. Gonzales and Bloom talked about the concept behind Alternative Apparel’s newest brick and mortar retail store, described the design process and explained why the store is a vital extension of the brand.
Arguably one of Los Angeles’s most popular destinations for shopping, dining and nightlife, Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard embodies the diverse, high-low culture and casual, laidback lifestyle that drive people in droves to the West Coast. Moreover, its eclectic hippie-meets-hipster personality is parallel to Alternative Apparel’s brand. Alternative Apparel produces comfortable clothing using alternative materials safe to the environment and is a strong advocate of these social causes. So, Venice was the perfect community for Alternative’s first flagship retail store.
In a shaky economy and a competitive retail market, Alternative Apparel may seemed to be taking a risk. But Bloom, Vice President of Retail and Consumer Strategy and an MBA Harvard Business School graduate, said otherwise. “The economy is on shaky ground, but having a physical store is a sure way to give a personalized experience to our customers,” said Bloom. “It’s really hard to present your look and feel without a store and if you’re not in control of it. And it helps that real estate is cheap right now.”
With a lot of real estate available, it was important for Alternative Apparel to be selective. “No street is created equally,” Bloom further stated. To find the right one, Gonzales, Bloom and their team researched the old fashioned way. They staked out at the Venice location for hours watching people. Some of the information they recorded were what time was foot traffic the highest? Which direction did people walk in? And what was their median age? These were pertinent information that helped the team decide if the location would be profitable.
In the end, the brand chose an abandoned 1,700-square foot, 1920s Craftsman-style home in which Gonzales, a 20-year interior design veteran who has worked for Giorgio Armani and Henri Bendel, refashioned the interior with mixed materials, recycled fixtures and reclaimed surfaces to capture Alternative’s vintage-inspired vibe and hand-crafted touch.



“The look is sophisticated and urban with subtle details in the fabrics, painted treatments and materials used throughout the space,” Gonzales describes, adding that his favorite elements include vintage doorknobs, used shipping crates and recycled wood panels.

Eco-friendly Characterists: the tree branches hung are real trees that were naturally fallen.
The floors are made from reclaimed wood.

Recycled materials: Reused headboards hang at the top far right 

The visual team also included a newly remodeled exterior that was consistent with the environmental, social aspect of the brand. Gonzales landscaped a beautiful garden inspired by New York City’s High Line Park where customers can sit and connect with nature, which is a unique aspect in a retail setting.

Another notable attribute of the store that provides a branded experience to its customers is the store’s use of technology. “Consumer behavior is affected by technology,” said Bloom “The industry is afraid of using it, but it’s so critical.” Bloom infused advanced technology throughout the store with Wi-Fi internet connection, store only discounts and promotions, wireless checkout stations, touch screen computers with hands-on social media interaction and Foursquare integration. “These design features and technological innovations have never been seen before in a retail apparel setting,” said Bloom. “It’s an opportunity for us to build more direct relationships with Alternative customers and we look forward to furthering our connection to the Venice community.”

Trend Spotting

Southern Pearl Couture - model wearing a lime green, off the shoulder dress at the California Market Center Contemporary Collections Runway Show, produced by Jeffrey Relf of The Fashion Office, early this year.

Madera - orange necklace. Get it at 1041 Maple Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90015 (inside the Santee Alley)

GlamAmor - a 1960s Cardinal Red Wool Tweed Shift. Make your appointment to see this dress and more vintage dresses in bold colors at kimberly@glamamor.com.

Transit LA Shoe Show - the boutique's primary source for footwear on the West Coast that takes place at the Penthouse Suite in the California Market Center. The next show is October 17-19.