Summer is officially in full swing, albeit it’s a mask-mandated one. And speaking of the joys of summertime, they have always gone hand in hand with the natural wonders of California.
Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a number of new fashion collaborations and collections from Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Madewell, Mr Porter and others are paying homage to the sunny side of the Golden State.
We’ve rounded up several of our favorite California- and, particularly, SoCal-inspired designs.
Baja East’s Joshua Tree-inspired slip dress
Laurel Canyon resident Scott Studenberg channeled his love of Joshua Tree into Baja East’s new home collection as well as the label’s spring and summer 2020 collection. “My astrological chart is made up of mostly water and fire, so it makes a lot of sense that I gravitate so heavily toward the peace of the desert,” said Studenberg, the brand’s cofounder and creative director.
“In 2019, when I took three seasons off to recalibrate my solo vision of the brand, I was also pressing the [reset] button on my personal life,” Studenberg said. “My best friend had me join him in the desert for New Year’s Eve, and it became the grounded inspiration that I needed to push forward. I fell in love with the nature there as well as the town. I have this go-to street with my [favorite] cafe and antique, vintage and furniture stores, where we shot the pre-fall 2020 look book — the continuation of spring 2020’s Joshua Tree wilderness.”
This delicate slip dress ($395) is among the pieces inspired by Studenberg’s Joshua Tree trip. Other Baja East designs that feature the print include a trench coat ($785), kaftan ($545), pants ($445), tunic ($445), pajama top ($295), pajama bottoms ($295) and pillow ($95). All are available on bajaeast.com. Studenberg called it his “favorite print to date” and said it represents “this fantasy of driving through their national park with a herd of wild horses running toward me.” He also reincorporated the print into his pre-fall and fall 2020 collections. Studenberg said, “It’s become a signature of sorts.”
Louis Vuitton’s California Dream scent and travel case
Los Angeles artist Alex Israel collaborated with French luxury label Louis Vuitton on California Dream, a new perfume and Israel-designed travel case. “The fragrance is inspired by the L.A. sky at dusk, a natural phenomenon that has somehow become more beautiful and life-affirming than ever these past few months,” Israel wrote on his Instagram account. He explained that the new fragrance — from Louis Vuitton’s master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, a serious fan of California — was originally slated to launch during Coachella in April. However, plans changed because of the event’s cancellation amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Cavallier Belletrud also created the brand’s other new fragrance, Nuit de Feu.)
COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the French design house from moving forward with other California-centric plans. Through Friday, Louis Vuitton has its Rainbow Project at its Rodeo Drive location in Beverly Hills. The colorful art installation, which appears on the boutique’s façade, was created from a children’s drawing. Additionally the store is featuring pieces by postconceptual artist Cory Arcangel.
Louis Vuitton has had a close relationship with California in recent years. In addition to debuting its “Louis Vuitton X” exhibit in Beverly Hills last year, the design house has two factories in Los Angeles. As the leading European luxury brand turned to producing and distributing face masks to first responders, it made a sizable number of masks at its Los Angeles factories.
Asked about Louis Vuitton’s affinity for California, Chief Executive Michael Burke alluded to the region’s sunny sensibilities. “There’s a bit of California that stays with me wherever I go,” Burke told The Times last year. “The positive attitude, looking forward, embracing the future. … We do embrace change in California. We do accept differences of opinion. There is a political art form of having different opinions and different points of view and discussing them instead of falling into polarization, and that’s what California has to offer the world.”
California Dream, which is composed of mandarin, ambrette and vanilla-tinged benzoin, retails for $265, and the Israel-designed case is $625. Both are available at a selection of Louis Vuitton stores as well as online.
Fendi’s California Sky collection
(Fendi X Joshua Vides)
Los Angeles visual artist Joshua Vides collaborated with Fendi on its new California Sky collection, which was released as part of the Italian label’s pre-fall 2020 collection. Designed in collaboration with creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi, the expansive line features the Guatemalan American contemporary artist’s signature monochromatic, cartoon-esque style on a range of women’s, men’s and children’s ready-to-wear clothing and accessories.
Womenswear pieces cover nylon windbreakers, embossed cycling shorts, knits and printed denim pants as well as featherweight fur coats and cardigans, reversible padded blousons, perforated leather jackets and caftans and poplin shirtdresses. Menswear designs include cotton jackets, satin blousons, embossed leather outerwear, sweatshirts, T-shirts, denim pants, cotton trousers and a Bermuda pant.
The children’s collection offers windbreakers, cotton shirts, shorts, hyper-feminine dresses, slip-on sneakers, sandals and backpacks.
However, the California Sky collection’s pièce de résistance is Vides’ unique take on Fendi’s iconic Peekabo and Baguette bags. The collection is available on fendi.com, with prices ranging from $150 (for socks) to $9,000 (for a leather suitcase).
Peggy Li’s California necklaces
California native Peggy Li’s jewelry has a long Hollywood history. Over the last 20 years, her pieces have become an industry favorite among costume designers and led to major moments on “Riverdale,” “Dead to Me,” “The Bold Type,” “Little Fires Everywhere” and cult classic “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Several of Li’s most recent designs are inspired by the West Coast, such as this California Lovin’ charm necklace, which ranges from $45 in sterling silver with a 16-inch chain to $60 in 14-karat gold-plated bronze with a 20-inch chain on peggyli.com. “California is endlessly inspiring,” Li said. “It has so much natural beauty, from richly forested mountains to wide open deserts to sandy ocean beaches. California also has an amazing diversity of people and cultures. There is so much to experience and enjoy while living here. California inspires my designs to be simple, colorful and ever-changing.”
Li’s Rosette necklace, which is named after her hometown of Santa Rosa, starts at $49, with 25% of proceeds from each sale being donated to the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s pandemic efforts. Li said the piece was inspired out of necessity. “When my hometown was affected by devastating wildfires, it was easy to create my Rosette necklace as a design that would help raise funds for the local Redwood Empire Food Bank,” she said. “With the current pandemic and so many people facing job insecurity and food insecurity, I am once again happy to support the food bank in my hometown to help families in need.”
Amanda Bond X Johnny Was’ Malibu-designed clothing
(Amanda Bond X Johnny Was)
Malibu-based fashion designer Amanda Bond collaborated with Los Angeles fashion label Johnny Was on a 19-piece women’s ready-to-wear capsule collection. The silk and cotton tie-dye designs include delicate dresses, loungewear, maxi skirts and tops such as the Amelie top ($268), seen above, and Bianca skirt ($350). The blue- and purple-hued collection, which was designed and individually hand-dyed in Malibu, ranges from $110 (for a tank top) to $495 (for a silk charmeuse dress) on johnnywas.com and amandabondmalibu.com.
Mr Porter’s Gone Surfin’ capsule
On Monday, men’s fashion retailer Mr Porter released its Gone Surfin’ capsule collection featuring several Los Angeles-based brands, including Birdwell, James Perse, Mollusk and the Elder Statesman. The surf-centric release includes 171 pieces of clothing, shoes, accessories, lifestyle items and skin care from 15 companies, such as Ahnah, Faherty, Go Barefoot, Miansai, Noon Goons, Outerknown, Peyote Bird, Pilgrim Surf + Supply, Reyn Spooner, Saturdays NYC, Sonic Editions and Salt & Stone. The collection, which has a price range of $5 (for Salt & Stone lip balm) to $1,045 (for the Elder Statesman’s cashmere sweater), is available on mrporter.com.
Barton Perreira X Fear of God’s L.A. sunglasses
(Barton Perreira X Fear of God)
Los Angeles fashion label Fear of God collaborated with local eyewear brand Barton Perreira on FGBP.2020, a modern take on a vintage sunglasses look. Available in five earth-tone colorways, the acetate rectangular design is inspired by a pair of Barton Perreira optical glasses that Fear of God’s creative director Jerry Lorenzo wears every day while he designs his clothing collections. The limited-edition sunglasses, which are handmade in Japan, are available for $510 on fearofgod.com and bartonperreira.com.
If you’re looking for something more accessible, Lorenzo recently released the Fear of God Essentials’ spring and summer 2020 collection in a neutral color palette that complements the brand’s Barton Perreira sunglasses collaboration. The line of minimalist jersey tees, polos, hoodies, sweatpants, fleeces, track suits and knitwear sweaters retails for $40 to $200 on pacsun.com/fog.
Lucy Folk’s Flamingo Estate-inspired collection
Australian designer Lucy Folk often pulls inspiration from travel and architecture when designing pieces for her lifestyle brand. When it came to her new Sun Worship collection, Folk set her sights on Los Angeles. Although much of her jewelry is inspired by ancient mythology, her resort wear’s color palette has more modern roots. After spending time in California, Folk became obsessed with the design and interior styling of Los Angeles’ Studio KO-renovated Flamingo Estate. She launched her brand’s U.S. website at the Richard Christiansen-owned venue last summer. Shortly after, Folk decided to incorporate the estate’s aesthetic and color palette into her latest collection. Fittingly, the Sun Worship collection was photographed at the Flamingo Estate, just before Los Angeles went into lockdown.
“Flamingo Estate has this effect on you,” Folk said. “The minute you enter the grounds you are transported by the vibrant colors of the architecture and the mesmerizing garden. It could be Mexico. It could be Morocco, but it’s L.A. And this is the beauty of the property. It’s an oasis … set on a hill, with the sun beaming down, surrounded by the scents permeating from the garden or from the kitchen.” She called the estate her “dream house” and reminisced about her previous event at the estate. “We made ceramics with Carmen D’Apollonio. There was a sitar player. We ate curry on our laps, drank mezcal and natural wine, gorged on cosmic chocolate mousse. And it resembled a night one would have had in L.A. in the ’70s. Everyone who walks through the doors has a similar reaction to the property.”
This Lucy Folk look is one of many inspired by and photographed at the estate. Selections include the sunset striped dune shorts ($350), yellow gold smoking mirror bracelet ($490) and necklace ($320), gold solar eclipse earrings ($360) and Donna sunglasses ($385) available on lucyfolk.com.
Tamara Mellon’s sunny California sandals
With Tamara Mellon’s mustard-colored sandals, you’re literally walking on sunshine. The Los Angeles-based footwear designer recently released a few chic designs in the bright shade. Among them are the nappa leather Nikki ($450), with a 4-inch heel and adjustable ankle tie; the backless Dusk sandal ($395); and the Primary sandal ($395), which features a Velcro ankle strap, as seen above from left to right. All shoes are available on tamaramellon.com.
Dôen’s California-influenced nightgowns and dresses
Los Angeles womenswear brand Dôen’s dreamy designs are synonymous with California. The feminine label’s latest drop includes the Lovisa nightgown ($218) in Dôen’s beloved golden sweet pea print. It pays homage to California’s wild sweet peas, which are endemic in the farm fields of Lompoc Valley.
Fittingly, the brand’s founders, Margaret and Katherine Kleveland, grew up in the Santa Barbara foothills. Dôen also introduced the Castalia dress ($498), a silk design whose “sunset” color is inspired by the California skyline. Both pieces are available for pre-order on shopdoen.com.
Mr. Turk and Trina Turk’s Palm Springs pieces
(Mr. Turk, left; Trina Turk)
California designer Trina Turk founded her eponymous label in 1995 with her husband, Jonathan Skow, who died in 2018. Together the pair later launched Mr. Turk. The couple’s bold take on California resort wear and cocktail attire has often incorporated palm trees, flamingos and Palm Springs flair.
Dos Gardenias Malibu surfer-chic swimwear
Malibu-based swimwear label Dos Gardenias was founded in 2017 by former model Brighdie Grounds and designer Dorothy Day. Produced in Los Angeles, the brand’s bathing suits are made of Earth-conscious, surf-centric fabrics such as neoprene in a variety of styles — from bikinis to wetsuits. Known for its sporty monochromatic designs and utilitarian fit, Dos Gardenias recently released its sunniest pieces as part of its spring and summer 2020 collection. The square-neck Stein swimsuit top ($153) and the banded Lasso bottom ($127) in bronze, seen above, are among the styles available on dosgardenias.com or at Dos Gardenias’ flagship store at 3728 Cross Creek Road, Malibu.
Freda Salvador’s SoCal sandal
Sausalito-based footwear brand Freda Salvador’s new lime-green faux embossed snakeskin Jessa square toe slip-on sandal ($295) is a nod to Southern California’s sunny disposition and laid-back summer lifestyle. The company was founded by best friends and California residents Cristina Palomo Nelson and Megan Papay. Its wares are designed in California and handmade in family-owned factories in Spain and El Salvador. The sandal can be purchased online or at the brand’s store, the Edit by Janessa Leone + Freda Salvador, 8840 Washington Blvd., #106, Culver City.
Katin’s Surfside style
California surf and lifestyle brand Katin is best known for creating canvas board shorts. Founded in Surfside, north of Huntington Beach, in 1954, the heritage brand is as relevant as ever. It recently released the limited-edition Color in K-Man T-shirt ($32), featuring the brand’s K-Man insignia. The new shirt was inspired by the company’s recent Color in K-Man competition, which was won by Jagger Cook, a local resident.
Katin also recently released the Katin Volley Trunk ($58), a fan favorite in a new blue-and-white-striped design. Both pieces are available online.
Tea Collection’s beachy capsule
San Francisco-based children’s brand Tea Collection pulls inspiration from all over the world. However, its new summer clothing capsule is quintessentially California. This ocean-inspired coral reef print comes in a variety of styles, including the tie-shoulder dress ($35.50) seen above as well as a ruffle sleeve top ($32.50), cross-back romper ($32.50) and pom-pom-trimmed baby dress ($37.50). All are available on teacollection.com.
Launched in 2002 by Bay Area resident Leigh Rawdon, Tea Collection is inspired by the mother of two’s travels, which are then translated into sustainably sourced kids clothing. “As a family, we have explored so many beautiful coastal communities from Stinson Beach [and] Santa Monica to Carlsbad,” Rawdon said.
“From the time my kids could stand on their own two feet, they loved nothing more than standing at the edge of the water waiting to jump over the incoming waves,” she said of translating her family’s experiences into the brand’s cheerful aesthetic. Tea Collection also is known for educating consumers on different cultures while giving back economically. The company has donated more than $500,000 to organizations since its inception, with 10% of all profits annually benefiting the Global Fund for Children, a nonprofit that advocates for kids worldwide. Also unique to the brand: Many of Tea Collection’s one-of-a-kind prints are available as wallpaper because of its collaboration with L.A.-based company Wallshoppe.
Parks Project’s California-inspired shirts
Show your love for California’s great outdoors by wearing fashionable memorabilia from Parks Project, which helps support state parks. The label’s Yosemite Mazie Photo Ringer T-shirt ($36) helps fund the Yosemite Conservancy’s visitor programs and helps preserve the parks’ trails. For each Yosemite product sold, one meter of the Yosemite National Park’s trail is restored. Park Project’s Funky California Parks sleeveless tank ($40) features every park of California on a state map. The design benefits the National Park Foundation’s youth education programs.
For every $10 donated to the National Park Foundation, one child is funded to visit a park through the Open OutDoors for Kids program. Also, for every product sold, the Parks Project gives back 5% of the purchase price to the NPF to support the program. Additionally, the Sequoia Peaceful Bear Tee ($36) benefits Sequoia Parks Conservancy and Sequoia National Park’s Rangers in the Classroom program, which supports outdoor learning for K-12 students in San Joaquin Valley. All clothing can be purchased at parksproject.us.
Alex & Ani’s Orange County-inspired bangle
(Alex & Ani)
Alex & Ani’s expandable wire matte gold or silver-plated bangles were inspired by Orange County’s ocean and palm trees and, in the distance, the San Jacinto Mountains. The bracelets retail for $34 on alexandani.com. The company also announced a new capsule collection called the Frontline Collection as an homage to those on the front lines of COVID-19, with 10% of the $39 bangles’ net sales benefiting the First Responders Children’s Foundation. The nonprofit provides grants to first responders in financial need and scholarships for children who have lost a parent while working on the front lines.
Madewell X Free & Easy’s L.A.-influenced capsule
(Madewell X Free & Easy)
Southern California-based brand Free & Easy teamed up with Madewell for a 22-piece vintage-inspired unisex clothing and accessories collection. The new capsule — a nod to Los Angeles’ city, beach and street culture in the 1970s — includes graphic tees, tie-dye sweatshirts, shorts, a beach towel, hats, socks and totes ranging from $8 (for a sticker pack) to $128 (for a men’s sweatshirt). After Free & Easy founder Kevin Circosta connected with Madewell’s head of design, Joyce Lee, through Instagram more than a year ago, the 1970s retro collaboration was born. Key pieces include a tie-dye women’s sweatshirt ($98), a Madewell X Free & Easy towel ($39.95) and a steam-swirl tie-dyed men’s sweatshirt ($128). All are available online.