L.A. Uncovered: Louis Vuitton and Dior About to Touch Down in SoCal

Two LVMH giants are bringing special collection runway shows to town this May

There’s a long glam precedent of European and New York luxury fashion brands coming in for a landing on some kind of unique Hollywood runway. Last summer, Cartier descended on Beverly Hills for the Clash du Cartier jewelry launch centered at the Ritz Carlton and a private pop up on Melrose, where the rooftop featured a dinner and outdoor concert by Finneas. This fall, it was Gucci’s Love Parade Spring 2022 extravaganza runway show, featuring stars and star models strutting down the middle of the seedy-turned-snazzy Hollywood Boulevard.

Over the last two decades, Burberry took over the Griffith Park Observatory in 2015 for a tented spectacular that saw David and Victoria Beckham seated with Anna Wintour, and James Corden as emcee. When Hedi Slimane showed Saint Laurent at The Hollywood Palladium in 2016 (he soon departed to Celine), part-time Angeleno Slimane brought out Justin Bieber, Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga, and Lenny and Zoe Kravitz, using 1970’s L.A. hippie boho style as a template.

Tom Ford has shown major collections at L.A.’s Milk Studios on two respective Oscar weekends (2015 and 2020) with a bevy of celebs; Karl Lagerfeld brought the Chanel cruise show of 2008 to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, complete with a private plane models descended from right on the runway.

Gucci Love Parade on Hollywood Blvd, fall 2021

But perhaps the most spectacular of Hollywood fashion events was a multi-day affair in May of 2015 when Louis Vuitton flew a large contingent of New York and international journalists into Palm Springs for their 2016 cruise show. Designer Nicolas Ghesquiere was showing al fresco at the John Lautner designed Bob Hope House with its famed futuristic design against the mountainous desert backdrop. (The house since sold to mogul Ron Burkle for $13 million).

Journalists were put up at the posh Parker Hotel and feted with brunches, lunches, dinners—and an after party on the lush grounds of The Parker where LV turned the midcentury modern hotel’s backyard into a desert funhouse with real bumper cars, video games, pinball games, arcade games and a large “claw” glass encased prize-hunter with gifts that guests could “fish” for: Louis Vuitton wallets, card cases, etc, all as colorful as (eye) candy.
Needless to say, this is where the lines were longest!

The music, dancing, champagne (LVMH is “Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy”) went on for hours, while celebs Michelle Williams, Alicia Vikander, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kanye West, Selena Gomez and Miranda Kerr let their respective hair styles down.

The Jonas Salk Institute in San Diego is the site of this week’s Louis Vuitton cruise collection show

This week on Wednesday May 11, Louis Vuitton returns to SoCal. This time to San Diego, Louis Vuitton will show its cruise 2022/2023 collection Thursday at the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which was designed and built in the 1960’s by architect Louis Kahn. This will serve as a unique visual backdrop for the collection, as it features a view of the Pacific, which was deemed a historical landmark for its design in 1991.

A horde of international journalists will return, as will a New York and L.A. contingent, to descend on San Diego’s Pendry Hotel, where they will be welcomed on with a spectacular dinner, followed by Thursday filled with spa treatments, yoga, hikes, a museum tour and an amazing after party.

On Friday, an exit brunch will see off the last of journalists in style. We expect at least some of the LV celeb contingent: Lea Seydoux, Miranda Kerr, Gemma Chan, Maude Apatow,  to show their faces and brand new LV looks, bags and shoes. Obviously, for Louis Vuitton and parent company LVMH, it’s a show of glamor and power to stage not just one night’s event: but three days of clothes and social events. Perhaps the latest LV ambassador, Indian actress/producer Deepika Padukone, who’s featured in LV’s new tk campaign, will make an appearance.

Indian actress/producer Deepika Padukone is the newest Louis Vuitton ambassador

Next week, another one of LVMH’s major luxury brands, Dior, will show their 2023 Spring Capsule Collection for men, which is now referred to as  “Dior Men” (as opposed to “Dior Homme”) at a yet undisclosed private L.A. location on the west side. But Dior Men designer Kim Jones, the former designer of Louis Vuitton menswear, is not much of a secret anymore. He started designing womenswear for Fendi since 2021 – his very first womenswear collection of all time, when Fendi noticeably became in demand again. He’s also spearheaded major Fendi collabs with Kim Kardashian (Fendi x Skims) and Versace (Fendace). Very few designers ever master both mens’ and womens’ wear (Armani, Tom Ford, Gucci) – Kim Jones right now is the future of fashion.

Tilda Swinton, Cannes fashionista extraordinaire, at the 2017 Cannes Film Fest

If you’re not over the dizzying looks of last week’s Met Ball yet, get ready for the Cannes Film Fest to kick off on Tuesday May 17 (through May 28). Cannes is its own runway/red carpet hybrid – many of the looks of this summer’s Paris couture shows will turn up on the likes of Julia Roberts, who’s been named Chopard “Godmother of the Trophee” (meaning she will present the Chopard award to an actor on the rise; plus fashionistas Tilda Swinton, Kristen Stewart (face of Chanel), Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Margaret Qualley (another Chanel ambassador). Cannes doesn’t have the fashion proprieties of the Oscars (though this year’s Oscars showed a lot of skin). The gowns will be showier, wilder – and if possible, even more revealing. Forget The Met Ball’s “The Gilded Age” theme – the Cannes dress code is more “The Insta/Selfie/Press Opp Age.”

Halsey’s About-Face makeup line includes hero product Matte Liquid Eyeshadow

If you’re head’s spinning trying to keep up with the latest celebrity makeup line launches, whether getting barraged on Instagram or attending launch parties (Gwen Stefani’s GYVE was held in in, Armani Beauty featured sky dancers at the goth restaurant Vespertine with Armani face Tessa Thompson), I can report: Stefani’s first line (four years in the planning) features the best most long-lasting red lipstick in the biz – no joke. And Halsey’s About Face brand, MONEY, is selling out on Insta, with products like Liquid Eye Paint and Liquid Matte lipstick becoming wildly popular with the “Euphoria” loving set – and with makeup-loving ladies who grew up with Nars and tk, but are looking for colors (lime green, yellow) and textures (extremely matte, extremely glittery). If you think pop stars can’t create truly great makeup brands – since they’re not makeup artists themselves – these two break all the rules. Meanwhile, Swedish brand Byredo, which started out creating unique fragrances like Pulp, Mojave Ghost, Gypsy Water, Mumbai Nossie and now makes amazing makeup like their award winning mascara ($46 and worth it) – opened a second L.A. location in Silverlake (3828 Sunset) this spring (the first is 8920 Melrose) – and launched a SoCal smelling fragrance called De Los Santos. I’m a fan of all the Byredo scents – started using them when I first saw them at Barneys back in 2008, as I genuflect toward artisanal fragrances – but De Los Santos, a combination of musk, amber and incense – is my favorite of all of them. I’ve never gotten more compliments on any scent I’ve worn (which includes Maison Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540, Arso (by Profumum Roma), Molecule 05 (by Escentric Molecules), Byredo’s Bal d’Afrique), it smells like a cool breeze touched with sandalwood on a desert night.

De Los Santos is the newest fragrance by Sweden’s Byredo

With summer a few weeks away, an Angeleno’s thoughts go to – what else – dieting, working out and self-tanners. My own method for transitioning from wide leg pants to ankle-baring cropped flares to leg-baring shorts and short suits is to start with spinning/cycle classes. Nothing tones up those thighs faster – and feels less like hard work. I recently had a chance to sample some spinning classes at the new-ish TruFusion studio on LaBrea, which features sixty five different kinds of classes (pilates, yoga, circuit training, kettleball, barre, both heated and unheated). TruFusion was founded in in Las Vegas in 2013; Alex Rodriguez and J Lo were early investors in the all-classes modern many-room studio. With dancing lights and pounding music worthy of the best European disco, cycle classes there both crank you up (endorphins) and calm you down. The teachers and staff couldn’t be warmer. Within a few classes, I swear to God, my winter thighs were sleeker, smoother – and somewhat smaller! This combined with a week of juice fasts and really yum food delivery from Z.E.N. Foods – loved all their fresh juices, the strawberry ricotta breakfast crepes, caprese with balsamic, unique shrimp dishes  – was the best summer kick-off a girl could have. There was absolutely no sacrifice involved. Highly recommended. I’d read that in-shape celebs like Zac Efron, Carrie Ann Moss and Denise Richards used Z.E.N. – and now I get it. It works for weight loss, for just healthy maintenance – but it’s also the best answer to “what should I eat?” when you have no time to grocery shop or cook. Or you just don’t f-ing feel like it. Another good summer kickoff: a signature facial, massage and mani-pedi at Brentwood’s new-ish Milk & Honey spa (11826 San Vicente) or at their Culver City location (8900 Venice Blvd).

The Marcell Von Berlin Coffee Lounge on Melrose is tucked behind the German brand’s boutique

Speaking of summer: if you’re looking for a really lovely – and quiet – place to drag your MacBook Air and do a deep dive into the focus zone  – I’ve been enjoying the supersized croissants and Ginger Chai Latte of the outdoor coffee lounge at designer Marcell von Berlin’s boutique at 8619 Melrose, near the Ganni and Byredo shops. You can cruise Creative Director Marcell Pustul’s delicious candy colored sharp tailored suits for women and men, then get some actual work done – because the MVB coffee lounge is the anti-Starbucks: almost no noise, no elevator music and streamer screenplay conversations to distract you.