In late March, LAMag received an invite to a private evening at the Hollywood Bowl, hosted by L.A.-based luxury fashion house Fear of God. Even with the night on the horizon, the cryptic nature of the show—supported by those equally cryptic billboards around town—remained.
We knew the event would be a runway presentation, Fear of God’s first fashion show in ten years, but that founder Jerry Lorenzo never hits the catwalk himself. We also knew it was likely to be momentous given the venue—the last time the Bowl filled its seats for a fashion house was in 1993, for a Calvin Klein benefit.
Checking in on a warm April night, we were greeted by 4,000 or so people dressed to the nines. Sure, it was a show at the Bowl, but the attire might have misled one to think it was the Met Gala.
We shuffled to our box, the lights were cut, and Sampha, the British singer-songwriter, whose presence has graced the projects of Kanye West, Drake, and other herculean names of hip-hop, ripped a few heavenly songs before taking his leave.
whoa. @sampha opening this @fearofgod show right now is exactly what i needed pic.twitter.com/xY8o6KPzsF
— 𝚍𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚍𝚎𝚖𝚎𝚝𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚜 💭 (@diondemetries) April 20, 2023
A sermon began to blast over the speakers as a door onstage opened and a parade of models dressed in Lorenzo’s latest, three years in the making, strutted down the catwalk toward the audience.
The looks were a noticeable deviation from previous Fear of God collections—furs, oversized coats, and Talking Heads-esque “Big Suit” blazers—gliding down the runway to the tune of Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit,” transitioning to Kanye West’s “Blood On The Leaves” as the runway gave way to neons, knits, and other categories of uncharted territory for the designer.
The fashion was contemporary—it veered more towards couture than anything else Lorenzo has produced for the masses, which was understandable, given the occasion—and distinguished by extensive simplicity: washed-out hues lay the way to a logo. With this, it would be simple to define the brand as an arthouse experimentation rather than a streetwear label of any kind.
By the time Lorenzo and Fear of God began kicking up dust in the scene, streetwear was already more than a decade past its prime. The brand was hailed as a return to form for the genre, being picked as a standout in an otherwise drab and tired culture. In fact, Lorenzo has successfully tallied collaborations with the likes of Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Nike, Virgil Abloh, and now Adidas.
The show concluded in a flash, but not before rapper Pusha T emerged from the doorway to perform “Feel The Love.” By now, you may be questioning the amount of Ye at this event, but we can confirm he was in the audience himself enjoying the show.
Ye vibing to “Feel The Love” @ the Fear of God SS23 show 🔥
— Kurrco (@Kurrco) April 20, 2023
Soon after Pusha’s appearance, the models trekked back into the doorway and gave way to fireworks in classic Hollywood Bowl style. Lorenzo took to the catwalk himself and was greeted by ecstatic applause.
Overall, the show marked not only a significant progression in Lorenzo’s influence in the industry but also his embrace of Los Angeles. Fear of God remains immersed in mystique but now more than ever wears the mantle of being an L.A. brand. Lorenzo could have chosen anywhere in the world to host such a show; Milan, New York, London, and Paris were likely on the shortlist.
But, he chose his home, as any Angeleno would. Between luxury garments and new collections, it is hard to ignore his everlasting love for L.A. and savor it all even more.
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