ONCE UPON A TIME, men’s style in Los Angeles was laughable. Think loud, logo-driven and larded-up with more skulls than a pirate cruise. Remember the jeans with back-pocket stitching visible from a block away? What about the faux-vintage concert T-shirts? The flaming eyeball Von Dutch trucker caps? I’m sure Ashton Kutcher wishes he could forget.
But the cheesy L.A. of the mid-aughts—when paparazzi swarmed West Hollywood store Kitson and Mr. Kutcher hosted “Punk'd”—is a thing of the past. Kitson will close its doors forever this week, Mr. Kutcher is now a budding tech mogul and the city’s fashion scene is associated less with Ed Hardy and more with Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane, who maintains his design studio in L.A. instead of at the brand’s Paris headquarters. In fact, Mr. Slimane recently announced he will show his fall 2016 men’s collection (and part of the women’s range) at the Hollywood Palladium on February 10 instead of in the French capital.
Is that enough to position Los Angeles as a style capital—strong enough to contend with Paris or London? A confluence of factors has given that idea momentum. Factor one: L.A. is attracting creative talent in design and retail thanks to relatively affordable real estate and low operating costs. Factor two: As high-end menswear has moved away from formality, a “creative casual” wardrobe has become more vital than a suit and tie to the working lives of many men all over the country. Not seeming so far-fetched anymore, is it?
Mr. Peskowitz said he’s seen the city evolve beyond a metropolis driven by one or two industries: “Entertainment and music are still important, but now there’s also tech, art, clothing design and all the creative services that go along with Silicon Beach.”
And he’s hoping to outfit a good portion of that population in a refined but casual wardrobe of unstructured seersucker Camoshita suits, garment-dyed polos from Massimo Alba, cashmere T-shirts from Naadam and handmade slipper-like leather shoes by Feit. “It’s for people who need to look like they are put-together and mean business but don’t want to wear a coat and tie,” he said of his store’s offerings. “It’s clothing that expresses personality but is still business- adjacent. There’s a big market for that.”
Even men who still wear a suit to work every day can benefit in their off-duty hours from the well-executed fare, elevated via fit and fabric, that L.A.-based labels such as Greg Lauren, Apolis, Aether and John Elliott sell in the city, in stores worldwide and on e-commerce sites...
Magasin This past December, Josh Peskowitz, the former men’s fashion director of Bloomingdale’s, partnered with fellow industry vets Christophe Desmaison and Simon Golby to found Magasin in Culver City. The boutique won’t officially hang its shingle for another month, but with plans to stock Massimo Alba cashmere, Feit footwear and Salvatore Piccolo shirts, it’s already on the radar. 8840 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA