These individuals are shaping the style landscape in surprising new ways
Words by STEPHANIE RAFANELLI
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Givenchy turns to West Coast skateboard culture with the appointment of Pismo Beach-raised Matthew Williams as its new creative director, injecting a jolt of Californian futurism into the Parisian house.
The choice of the 34-year-old co-founder of 1017 ALYX 9SM promises more than a mere revival of Riccardo Tisci’s gothic streetwear. (The Italian presided over the brand from 2005 until Clare Waight Keller’s ladylike arrival in 2017 from Chloé.)
Williams is a self-taught maverick who has designed for iconoclasts Lady Gaga and Kanye West (that robotic LED-threaded jacket at the 2008 Grammys) and regularly collaborated with Dior’s Kim Jones, and Virgil Abloh as part of the Been Trill collective. Expect no dogma and future thrilling cross-fertilizations within the LVMH stable.
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Photo by @auhasardspr/Instagram.
With alabaster skin and the long, titian locks of Rapunzel, 24-year-old avant-garde fashion designer Harris Reed doesn’t look typically Californian. But growing up in an artsy L.A. household nourished their theatrical imagination, fluid identity and West Coast commitment to positive change.
While still studying at London’s Central St. Martins, Reed’s flamboyantly feminine, gender-neutral creations — think Glam Rock meets Victoriana via Little Bo-Peep with 1-meter-wide brim hats — caught the attention of actor Ezra Miller (their natural muse) and the newly dandified Harry Styles on Instagram. Not to mention Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, for whom Reed has since designed and modeled.
Just graduated, Reed and their bold vision of inclusive fashion — with a healthy dose of English eccentricity — ushers in a wilder, freer sartorial age.
Looks from HARRIS REED’s 2020 Final Collection for CSM, modeled by the designer.
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Photo by Zach Hilty & Zack Whitford/BFA.com.
More positive messages come from L.A.-based designer Kenneth Nicholson, nominated this year for CDFA’s Emerging Designer Award, whose flowing silhouettes with military details are dramatically sweeping aside the straightjacket of masculinity. (He joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from the San Francisco Academy of Art.)
For Nicholson, fashion is “the ultimate version of performance art,” mapped out with precise references to history and “struggle” — not least his self-confessed “difficult” upbringing in Houston. His Fall 2020 collection was fashioned from the point of view of his grandmother’s couch. Lessons from the past light a new future, Nicholson seems to say.
Lil Nas X and Moonlight star Ashton Sanders are among his ambassadors. His frock coats are destined to be the uniform of the new-era renaissance man.
Looks from KENNETH NICHOLSON’s From Grandmas Couch collection.
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In 2017, women all over America whooped for joy when ex-Silicon Valley executive Patrick Herning launched 11 Honoré, the L.A.-based luxury e-tailer stocking designer pieces by Prabal Gurung, Christopher Kane and Marc Jacobs in sizes 12 through 24, including 70 percent of our female population for the first time. Here was a business that showed at fashion week and celebrated body diversity catering to women made of flesh and blood — somehow it was groundbreaking.
This June, there were more whoops, coinciding with the second drop of 11 Honoré’s own capsule collection: sleek loungewear descending on them during lockdown equaled manna from heaven. With a third drop imminent and a recent $10 million expansion, 11 Honoré’s presence in the fashion is as loud, proud and inclusive as a Lizzo anthem.
Looks from the 11 HONORÉ signature collection.
Feature image: Fashion designer HARRIS REED (central image). Photo by Laura Allard-Fleischl.
A version of this story originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of C Magazine.
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