Plus Fendi welcomes Stefano Pilati into the fold
Words by ELIZABETH VARNELL
Walk In, Ski Out
BALENCIAGA’s newest California boutique spans two floors of Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza, with more than 9,600 sq. ft. devoted to ready-to-wear for women and men, alongside bags, accessories, and eyewear plus shoes and jewelry inside a space left intentionally raw. Exposed ceilings and beams reveal the building’s inner workings and accumulated history, following house creative director Demna’s experiential Raw Architecture concept of incorporating existing structures and using fewer new materials. Patinated tables and polished shelves hold the Fall/Winter 2023 collections. Also on hand are debut skiwear designs made of technical materials foregrounding insulation, visibility, aerodynamism, and protection. Skis, poles, boards, and helmets with bags made from water-repellent recycled nylon are also on offer. 3333 Bristol St., South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, 714-668-0557; balenciaga.com.
Stefano Pilati is applying his keen eye and the freewheeling approach he’s been honing from his home in Berlin over the past few years to FENDI, the storied Italian house helmed by Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi. Pilati is the headliner of Friends of Fendi this winter, tasked with curating a collection encompassing both menswear and womenswear that prompted the former Yves Saint Laurent and Zegna designer to reflect on 1920s flappers. He has recast subversive, corsetless silhouettes to create looks that combine tailoring with softer, voluminous constructions. The new pieces join the house’s current collections beyond a series of elegant marble arches fronting Fendi’s new 4,700-sq.-ft. Santa Clara boutique. 855 Stevens Creek Blvd., Westfield Valley Fair, Santa Clara, 707-684-3006; fendi.com.
“We were having dreams of the coasts of Italy, France, and Greece. Of taking a dip in the cool salty ocean, throwing up wet hair, and slipping one of these pieces over sun-kissed shoulders,” says Anna Chiu, evoking the setting and mood informing KAMPERETT’s first resort collection. Chiu, who co-founded the made-in-San Francisco label known for modern dresses and gowns crafted from impeccable fabrics with Valerie Santillo, said the designers wanted to create silhouettes that lend themselves to everyday wear. As they set about devising a travel-ready wardrobe, they looked to Japanese cottons, linens, and silks for new silhouettes that “could be worn often and with ease.” The result is a poetic assortment of striped or solid maxi dresses, linen sundresses, blazers and pants, and the perfect pocketed shirt dresses. 3686 20th St., S.F.; kamperett.com.
Sisters-in-law Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard have been creating clothes for on-the-go women since founding VERONICA BEARD in 2010 with dickey jackets. Now the tailored blazers with interior zippers for interchangeable inner layers are part of an extensive line of ready-to-wear, shoes, and accessories inside a new Beverly Hills flagship, the founders’ sixth store in California. The line has introduced a host of collaborations over the years, including crisp white sleepwear with black piping made with Petite Plume, which is also on hand at the boutique designed by Carolina de Neufville, along with suits, gowns, dresses, and trainers — everything needed for life’s daily sprints. 423 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-230-5642; veronicabeard.com.
Marco Baldassari, whose made-in-Italy ELEVENTY line is filled with elevated pieces designed to look sharp and remain sustainable, has just opened up shop in L.A. The sun-drenched two-level boutique in monochromatic light colors combined with rough plaster, oak wood, and Navona travertine has a tactile richness mirroring the line’s collections. Milanese suits with relaxed shoulders are made with wools and linens used by all the Italian houses but in Eleventy’s exclusive hues and patterns. Baldassari favors the lightest hint of color, creating proprietary dusty tones that are easy to wear and blend in subtly elegant ways for both men and women. “The mix has to be very soft: sky blue combines with beige and white, red is mixed with cream, there’s a green you can wear daily,” he says. “Everything starts from the color palette.” 9546 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, 424-777-2040; eleventymilano.com.
Japanese ceramicists Shohei Fujita and Chisato Yamano each have their own artistic practices, but the couple has produced work together as Suna Fujita for nearly two decades. Now LOEWE is collaborating with their studio, which is known for creating teapots, cups, and plates for everyday use that are adorned with hand-painted animals and landscapes riffing on childhood memories and idyllic scenes incorporating their son and the family dog. The Spanish house is adding a menagerie of Suna Fujita characters to an assortment of bags, wallets, knitwear, denim, slippers, and leather accessories just in time for the holidays. The intrepid animals add just the right note of whimsy to brighten the season. 327 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-388-6771; 3333 Bristol St., South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, 714-464-7420; loewe.com.
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2023/2024 issue of C Magazine.
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