Other Editorial Voices:
Christine Suppes Letter to the Editor of The Los Angeles Times Regarding LA Fashion Week:
The snotty, uninformed article by your style critic Booth Moore about Los Angeles Fashion Week, picked up by among others, the San Francisco Chronicle, left us aghast and disgusted. Ms. Moore is notorious for penning brutal reviews. It is no secret that Ms. Moore, who thoroughly relishes being the big fish in a small pond was officially uninvited to Sue Wong’s Fall 2004 show, after tearing the designer’s previous collection to shreds. Since the resolution of that scandalous ordeal, Booth Moore has been exhausting her venomous ink to condemn Los Angeles’ promising talent Louis Verdad.
To Ms. Moore, Verdad is a mere atelier rehashing the same designs season after season. In her piece, “Haven’t we seen this already?” Booth laments, “Unfortunately, we have seen most of what he did here before; he’s been showing it for two years.” The main problem with her assertion stems from an apparent inability to distinguish distinctive style from replication. Let’s think about the evolution of the Chanel suit for instance. Indeed, Karl Lagerfeld has given this fashion staple a face lift by renegotiating proportions or perhaps adding some lace to the cuffs, but ultimately the instantly recognizable lines of Chanel’s timeless construction have remained the same since its conception.
Louis Verdad has a unique vintage-inspired flair underscored by rigorous tailoring and classic elegance. Expecting him to depart from his trademark look solely in the name of ‘change’ is simply absurd. Furthermore, we are skeptical whether Ms. Moore was able to pay close attention to the collection—she may have been preoccupied with cozying up to Vogue Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour—for this season Louis Verdad did innovate change. While staying true to his roots, the designer spiced things up with bold prints, beaded details, embroidered embellishments and crock accents. Throwing into the mix beautiful renditions of his strong shouldered silhouettes in corduroy, leather and wool shearling, Louis proved his willingness to experiment with new materials.
Ms. Moore dismissed Verdad’s eveningwear as “awkward and overdone.” Since when has going to extremes been a vice in fashion? Anyone who has seen Galliano’s sarcophagus dresses or Kabuki faces knows that the runway is a theatrical platform upon which the creative mind alludes to larger than life ideals. Choosing controversial Mexican painter Frida Kahlo as his muse, this season Verdad created beautiful clothes that referenced the captivating icon’s boundless spirit and inimitable art. The exaggerated volumes, exotic patterns, floral jacquard details, ruche, and shoulder ruffles that Booth found to be “awkward” resonate with the folkloric attire and aesthetic sensibility of a rich culture. Unfortunately, blinded by Hollywood’s preoccupation with “sexy twist front jersey dresses,” Booth Moore is unable to appreciate the exquisiteness of these offerings from the heart.
There is no doubt about it: Los Angeles is neither New York nor Paris. Here designers don’t thrive under the protective wing of the Federation de la Couture or take creative leaps knowing that the multi-million dollar safety nets of fashion conglomerates are there to catch them lest they fall. Los Angeles designers cut and construct with dedication, compassion, and a pure love. Given how hard they strive to do so much with so little, they all deserve unwavering support and a standing ovation.
As for Booth Moore, she needs to rethink her offensive simplification of Los Angeles fashion of “celebrity fueled fads as Uggs boots [which are made in Australia, incidentally] and hipster jeans.” Indeed, this would be a good time to wipe those black rimmed glasses and take a closer look at what is coming down the catwalk. Then perhaps Moore could come up with an editorial that is not a reiteration of her cynical repertoire.
Note: All of the quotes contained in the body of this piece are taken from Booth Moore’s article, “Haven’t we seen this already?”
-Christine Suppes, Fashionlines.com