Gucci’s New Groove and a Smart New Saks

Plus Nordstrom celebrates Black-owned brands



PHOTO: Gaspar J. Ruiz Lindberg.

Gucci’s New Groove
New proportions emerged, a new shade of deep red proliferated, and the Jackie bag was reinvented — with archival features such as the pressing hook closure and red fabric lining — as part of GUCCI’s palette-cleansing Spring 24 collection dreamed up by Sabato De Sarno. A first look at the new creative director’s minimalist vision began with a starkly geometric Marina Chain necklace and earrings worn poolside at Chateau Marmont by longtime friend Daria Werbowy for De Sarno’s debut jewelry campaign. De Sarno expanded on this notion of the glamour of simplicity in Milan with his first collection, titled Ancora — riffing on the Italian word for again, still, more. Short shorts, unembellished tanks, peak-lapeled coats, patent leather miniskirts, slit A-line skirts, and lace-lined slip dresses all made the cut. De Sarno — who previously spent more than a decade at Valentino, where he worked closely with Pierpaolo Piccioli — calls his debut collection “a story of richness and lust-desire, of red but also blue and green, of flash, of spontaneity, of light,” and his men’s debut followed a similar course. To which we say, bravo! gucci.com.

PHOTO: Peter Christiansen Valli.

Saks Fifth Avenue’s New Women’s Store in Beverly Hills Is Open
SAKS FIFTH AVENUE has thrown open the doors of its reimagined six-level West Coast flagship on Wilshire Boulevard, where women’s ready-to-wear, shoes, bags, jewelry, and accessories plus a full range of beauty lines occupy 130,000 square feet of space formerly home to Barneys New York. More than 25 new and emerging brands join the curated assortment and an expanded Fifth Avenue Club for personal shopping with private styling suites and an outdoor terrace offer a leisurely way to discover them. The second-floor bauble assortment includes Chopard, Lorraine Schwartz, Repossi, and Vhernier, plus new additions Anita Ko and FoundRae and a new Graff boutique offering a striking yellow-and-white diamond jewelry suite of earrings, a necklace, and a solitaire ring. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Dior all have adjacent new boutiques (Chanel’s is on the fifth floor). Gucci’s Jackie and Bamboo handbags are here in unique colors exclusive to Saks. Louis Vuitton’s space, adorned with a Daniel Klewer painting, includes a curated and limited assortment of Capucines and Petite Malle bags and an exclusive satin duchesse suit from Nicolas Ghesquière’s Spring 24 runway collection. Beverage service in spots throughout the department store is headlined by a variety of locally inspired cocktails such as the Silver Screen Spritz, Pacific Sunset, and Hollywood 75. 9570 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-275-4211; saksfifthavenue.com.

Donna’s Back
Donna Karan revolutionized fashion for modern women, and the DONNA KARAN NEW YORK label is reintroducing looks based on her archives for its Spring 24 collection. A black collared bodysuit joins fluid skirts, belted blazers, draped dresses, coats adorned with sculptural hardware, and minimalist sequined eveningwear she pioneered, now crafted for new generations. The “Seven Easy Pieces” are instantly recognizable as they evolve into a true “System of Dressing” reimagined for today’s women. The versatile line includes everything from apparel, eyewear, and fragrances to accessories with oversize belts and gold finishes evoking the line’s DNA in concert with the crisp tailoring and flattering cuts Karan has championed since 1985. A palette primed in black and white with neutral hues spans a trove of fabrics, including satin burnouts, soft leathers, blistered jacquards, nylon, and textured charmeuse. Easing into spring just got simpler. donnakaran.com.

PHOTO: Ben Meier.

Hearst Among Equals
Norman Foster, the Pritzker-winning sustainable design pioneer, devised GABRIELA HEARST’s first West Coast boutique in Beverly Hills. The space, on the street in front of the Beverly Wilshire hotel, echoes the line’s emphasis on handcrafted elements and includes bespoke furniture — created by Benji Gavron and Antoine Dumas of Gavron Dumas Studio — made from fallen local Western Sycamore trees shaped by the artisans of L.A.’s DUSK studio. Hearst’s responsibly sourced women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections, cashmere and merino wool knitwear, shoes, accessories, and bags are here, including her rounded Nina bag (named for Nina Simone), the accordion-like Diana (a nod to Diana Ross), and the versatile Baez (after Joan Baez) designs. Additionally, the space takes inspiration from the designer’s family ranch in Uruguay and architect Paul R. Williams’ regional standouts, including the hotel itself and the Theme Building at LAX. 9502 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-273-2200; gabrielahearst.com.

PHOTO: Josh Cho Photography.

Good Things Come In Threes
MAISON MARGIELA’s iconoclastic house codes, strengthened by creative director John Galliano, have arrived at the SOUTH COAST PLAZA. Hand-cast plaster columns in the house’s trademark white accompany the full line of coed ready-to-wear, plus shoes, accessories, and fragrances. A serene gallery for Lucie and Luke Meier’s JIL SANDER runway and precollections is also now in Costa Mesa. Ceiling lamps evoke skylights illuminating slabs of Calcite Azul marble, minimalist dresses, suits, and chic oblong Cannolo bags. MARNI’s colorful new space, set with beveled silver tile walls that reflect creative director Francesco Risso’s eye-catching designs for men and women, is also open. The boutique’s larger footprint is carpeted in hues of pink and rust, an homage to vibrant California sunsets. 3333 Bristol St., South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa; Maison Margiela, 714-512-3400, maisonmargiela.com; Marni, 714-380-3155, marni.com; Jil Sander, 714-512-3401, jilsander.com.

Silky Smooth
LORO PIANA’s new fabric is a denim lover’s dream, reworked for the warmer months. Developed by a creative coalition of Italian artisans in Piedmont and denim manufacturing experts in Japan’s Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures, the new Denim Silk is the warp of indigo-dyed denim yarn, woven slowly with gray silk weft. Yarn moves through vintage looms rarely used in today’s textile factories, tended by expert technicians who produce only about 55 yards per day, reflecting a respect for craftsmanship and savoir faire. The lightweight fabric headlines the Italian house’s spring designs. A classic denim jacket, five-pocket jeans, a collarless double-breasted jacket, and palazzo trousers complete with a pressed crease round out the women’s offering this spring. Now there truly is a jean for all seasons. loropiana.com.

PHOTO: Brian Bills.

Nordstrom Celebrates a Trove of Black-Owned Brands
NORDSTROM is launching a pop-up dedicated to Black-owned brands in Century City, mirroring a similar space in New York intended to spotlight Black visionaries and their creativity. Favorite ready-to-wear, accessories, beauty, and home design lines such as Pat McGrath Labs, Wales Bonner, Daily Paper, SPGBK, Good American, and Love, Vera — which can be found year-round in the department store — join emerging and new-to-Nordstrom brands curated through a partnership with the Fifteen Percent Pledge in celebration of Black History Month. The space, open through March 3, is a one-stop shop for an assortment that also includes People of Color nail polish, Aurora James’ Brother Vellies shoes and bags, Sami Miro Vintage shirts, RE ONA bodysuits and blazers, Aya Paper Co. wall art, and Yowie candles. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Westfield Century City, 424-204-1177; nordstrom.com.

Mother and Clare V.’s French-Inspired Love Letter to Los Angeles
Los Angeles–based creatives Clare Vivier, Lela Becker, and Tim Kaeding have joined forces for a chic new 10-piece apparel and accessories capsule honoring the craftsmanship of their place of residence while injecting a French-leaning indie vibe to their collaborative designs. The resulting CLARE V. x MOTHER collection includes a pair of exquisitely languid pleated denim trousers and a vest along with a lush oversize blue-striped shirt, a leather Petit Bateau tote covered in a French fairy tale–inspired print, and a Breton-striped fanny pack. CVM tags distinguish the items, as do the prints created in-house at Mother. “We’ve been friends with Clare for years,” says Becker, Mother cofounder. “We met at a mutual friend’s party. But then years went by and I don’t know who said it first, but we decided to do something together,” adds Kaeding, who also cofounded the denim line. “The majority of the collection is manufactured here in Los Angeles,” he notes. “We came together on all the pieces, and it’s nice to be able to cross-design with other people here.” Clare V.’s Vivier agrees. “It just felt natural,” she says of the joint creative process pairing the two local companies, which includes a donation to the Downtown Women’s Center. clarev.com; motherdenim.com.

PHOTO: Ryan Miller.

Holographic Dragons Take Flight at the South Coast Plaza
The SOUTH COAST PLAZA is again awash in boutiques filled with limited-edition collections and restaurants with special menus commemorating the Lunar New Year. This year’s celebration (through Feb. 25) is centered around a large-scale water-breathing dragon — symbolizing luck, success, honor, and power — that holds a pearl evoking wisdom and spiritual energy. Sixteen additional holographic dragons in flight join one poised above a fountain, all heralding a promising year ahead. A bevy of events, prizes, special window displays, and Year of the Dragon vases from LIULI Crystal Art, founded by artists Loretta H. Yang and Chang Yi, round out the festivities. 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 714-435-2000, southcoastplaza.com.


Portions of this story originally appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of C Magazine.

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