I have to admit that I missed one of the biggest things to come out of L.A. recently. I'd seen Von Dutch t-shirts, jeans, and "trucker" hats at early adaptor stores like Lisa Kline Men and Fred Segal/Ron Herman, and seen similar styles at better clubs, but I didn't see it as the next big thing. Now, thanks to the adoption of the style by young Hollywood stars, the media is so saturated with images of fake truckers that even the middle-aged lady I saw buying Von Dutch for her son yesterday knew that it was the "cool" thing. I'm still kicking myself over this one. On the other hand, certain brands that I did peg as "hot" on the other hand, seemed to have hit their peak early, or never really peaked at all. Frankie B. Men, for example, never seems to have been picked up. I still maintain that they make the best cut corduroy shirt/jacket available, but I guess that the range was too small (no t-shirts or shirts, and only a couple of styles of jeans,) and the cut of the jeans too extreme (the rise on the men's jeans is less than 6 inches.) to appeal to most American guys - and for some reason, they never came out with a "relaxed" jean the way the other women's brands crossing over into the menswear did (Seven, Earl both have relaxed fit jeans in addition to their bootcut styles.) Of course, Frankie B. seemingly did not have the strong marketing push and sophisticated advertising strategy that Von Dutch did. I also really liked Andrew Dibben, but he seems to have disappeared, for the most part. I haven't been at this long enough to have predicted the popularity of James Perse. I have been more successful in the "designer" category. I predicted that John Varvatos would be quickly find a niche even before his first collection hit the shelves, and the great coverage of Varvatos in the (American) Esquire fall fashion preview of that season had him hitting the ground running. I also predicted that the group of designers associated with Pegasus (Daryl K., William Reid) would go down, based purely on the financials. Of those two designers, I liked some of William Reid's stuff - clean, simple shirts, trousers, and some outstanding leather jackets, all with a slight vintage vibe in the palette and cut - but the market was also already saturated with very well established players like Marc Jacobs who were doing similar things. I also predicted the whole striped shirt craze. At this point, however, I've really had enough. They have been around so long (at least 6 seasons,) and there are so many tacky and cheap looking examples (Energie and Interno8 being among the worst offenders) that the trend is long past its due date. Of course, the designers and brands that have always made striped shirts part of their collections like Turnbull and Asser and Paul Smith, are exempt from my contempt. I give myself a B. Overall solid performance, but some serious problems, especially in judging local talent. How good have you guys been?
post #1 of 11
8/19/03 at 11:44am