Los Angeles, the Fifth Fashion City?

By Lauren Sherman 4 December 2022

Celine is the latest brand to show a collection there, further cementing Southern California’s status as a regular stop on luxury’s global circuit. That, plus what else to watch for this week.

Another December, another fashion month? Over the course of two weeks, Dior Men is showing in Cairo, Chanel in Dakar and both Armani Neve and Pucci in St. Moritz. But while far-flung locales are par for the course when it comes to destination fashion shows — clients spending six-figures a year practically demand to be whisked halfway across the globe — there’s one destination they keep returning to time and again.

This year alone, Louis VuittonRalph LaurenDior Men and Alexander Wang have all put on shows in Southern California — primarily in Los Angeles, the centre of the entertainment industry, whose red carpet culture is an increasingly important marketing tool for fashion brands. The city is also a homebase for many fashion industry-adjacent creatives, who consult for the likes of Celine or Tom Ford, or one of the dozens of mass-market companies based here, including SKIMS and GOAT. Celine’s Hedi Slimane famously set up a studio here when he was designing Saint Laurent.

Slimane, who joined Celine nearly five years ago, has shown in Los Angeles before. But he, too, couldn’t resist its perennial allure. On Thursday, he’s back to unveil Celine’s Fall 2023 womenswear collection, months ahead of rivals, at the Wiltern, a live music venue housed in an Art Deco landmark that sits at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue, a grimy, but rapidly developing, area of town. (The show and still-under-wraps musical performances will mark the first time Celine has welcomed a live audience to see a womenswear collection since before the pandemic.) Showing in LA is a no-brainer at this time of year especially, when stylists are gearing up for awards season, which starts Jan. 10 with the Golden Globes’ controversial return to prime time television after entertainment industry publicists boycotted the event. Even luxe athleisure brands like Brunello Cuccinelli are getting serious about celebrity dressing. (The purveyor of Italian cashmere puffers is hosting a cocktail before the Celine show on Thursday to introduce editors and stylists to its latest formalwear collection.)

LA makes it easy to do something memorable. There are plenty of architecturally significant, made-for-social-media venues, and a built-in audience of high-profile customers, celebrities and image makers. (Gucci, for instance, got great reviews when it transformed the Hollywood Walk of Fame into a runway — and plenty of press mentions for casting child star Macaulay Culkin.) It’s also a place people never seem to grow tired of visiting. For the ever-shrinking, but still-existing, cadre of editors who are flown out to attend such events, LA is an attractive proposition because they can often tack on unrelated work. And of course, the US market remains a huge priority for luxury brands, even as spending slows.

All those terribly practical reasons for staging a show in LA could make it harder to drum up excitement down the road: the industry is addicted to newness. But for now, LA remains a California dream for fashion brands.