Albert Hammond Jr. Turns Tailor

Oasis’ Liam Gallagher isn’t the only rocker taking stab at designing this year. In fact, the Strokes’ guitarist and solo star Albert Hammond Jr. has launched a fashion line — a collection of suits and a trench that look just right on stage under a spotlight. The move isn’t super surprising, given Hammond Jr. has long been a fan of three-piece suits. His namesake skinny suits will be stocked at LA’s Confederacy, which is co-owned by actor Danny Masterson and stylist Ilaria Urbinati (who consulted on Hammond Jr.’s line). Of the collection, the latter told MensStyle.com it was “a good mix of old man, hunter, and seventies rock ‘n’ roll.”

As straightforward as the suits might appear at first glance, they are by no means basic. “The suits are tricked out with details galore (an oversize ticket pocket here, squared-off waistcoat there, suede trim wherever), all of which give the collection a vintage, slightly aristo air,” adds MensStyle.com. And, all the extra bells and whistles will cost you. The price point is especially high: suits run in the ballpark of $2,125 to $2,400 (most likely largely a result of the limited run — 44 suits in total were produced, but with Hammond Jr. having snagged one already, there are only 43 left). In other words, this definitely isn’t the kind of thing most Strokes fans are likely to find affordable.

Los Angeles: Top 10 Japanese Fashion Boutiques

Shopping for Japanese fashion in Los Angeles is not new. Nonetheless, it’s fair to say that these days, Japan’s innovative style is taking LA by storm a la Godzilla vs. Tokyo. Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, and Issey Miyaki are must-have designers for every West Coast girl-on-the-go. Whether it’s the heavy use of black, reshaping of the female form, or bright graphics, Japan’s looks have become practically iconic. And lucky for Hollywood, there’s no army to take down this monster.

decadestwo (Hollywood) – Wham, bam, thank you decadestwo! Only the best vintage collection of the best designers to ever walk the face of the planet. Nothing says Saturday night like a rockin’ vintage Comme des Garçons skirt and ensemble. ● Opening Ceremony (West Hollywood) – Charlie Chaplin’s old dance studio transformed into a futuristic boutique where designers are separated into different rooms by country. Using geography to shop makes finding killer Japanese lines a no-brainer.

The Way We Wore (Hollywood) – The odds that you’ll be the only one rocking these legendary vintage and designer pieces at the club may as well be State Farm insured. Japanese designers are hidden pearls throughout this massive collection. ● M’ouments (Downtown) – The Comme des Garçons guerilla pop up store may have closed its doors, but M’ouments picked up the love where they left off. Same owners; same collection of this iconic line. ● H Lorenzo (West Hollywood) – There’s another reason to hit the Sunset Strip besides catching a show at the Viper Room. H Lorenzo has Shared Spirit plus other yummy Japanese lines all for the taking. ● Confederacy (Los Feliz) – Cute, hipster staff in matching designer uniforms makes us feel like we’re at fashion boot camp. Japanese line ato (made famous thanks to Kanye West) is a major force in the fashion weaponry. ● B By Aperire (West Hollywood) – Japan’s solution to late night sore feet after getting your boogie on: high-heeled running shoes. ● A Bathing Ape (West Hollywood) – Apes have rights too. They deserve to dress in fresh urban Japanese street wear. ● Japan LA (West Hollywood) – Number one place to score limited edition Japanese art toys and Hello Kitty gear without the 15-hour flight. ● Popkiller (West Hollywood) – Vintage treasures, trendy Japanese kitsch accessories, and other necessary gear exclusive to Popkiller.

Gentlemen: Your Fall Fashion Wishlist

Men’s Style.com has published its Buyers Club Guide for 2009 fashion, with the country’s 14 most influential store owners (from Barneys and Bloomingdale’s to San Francisco’s The Archive, Los Angeles’ Confederacy, and New York’s Odin) offering their lists of gents’ must-have items for fall. The 87-slide-long grouping is more than enough to whet your appetite for full-on sartorial consumption; fortunately, nearly all of the stores featured have online shops. As for the overarching trend, buyers are without a doubt leaning towards updated basics for fall. From classic trenches and a studded motorcycle jacket, to flannels, five-pocket jeans and a great all-weather overcoat from Patrik Ervell, the clothes as a whole suggest a distinct ruggedness.

Although there are elements of luxe, like Balenciaga’s Varsity jacket that clocks in at just shy of $2,000. Also included in the mix: a fedora from Fashioneer favorite Molly Yestadt, a NYC-based milliner who provided hats for Marc by Marc’s FW09 show and who recently teamed up with LES boutique BBlessing. For the latter, Yestadt crafted headgear that channels “Alain Delon’s character Jef Costello in Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï” and acts as the perfect icing on fall’s classically-inclined wardrobe cake.

Future Vintage: LAS Jewelry

Let’s face it: Los Angeles is not a fashion capital. But with year-round perfect weather, who really cares? Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that a large portion of the population limits their clothing options to club- or beachwear, regardless of occasion. If you explore beyond the embellished T-shirts, velour track suits, and flip flops, you’ll find a community of independent designers that transcends the trends by creating real art for the city. Amongst this group are Lisa and Dan Soltis of LAS Jewelry. With her organic design aesthetic and his professional sculpting skills, this LA-based couple creates custom jewelry that fluently balances vintage adornment with modern craftsmanship.

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I first met you at Bijou Phillip’s party for Vanessa Prager and Di Gaeta’s dual art installation at EM and Co. in Hollywood. Do you frequent the art party scene, or was this a special occasion? We love to hit up art openings anywhere, from the Culver City gallery district to Chinatown and Downtown LA’s art walk. Eveline of EM and Co. always throws a great party. We especially seek out any event that fuses fashion with art.

How did your foray into jewelry design begin? As a husband and wife team, Daniel being the sculptor and me being the painter and illustrator, we imagined the perfect collaboration and came up with a jewelry line. I could go crazy with drawing and designing on paper, and Dan will make it into a three-dimensional reality. It’s a great feeling to hold something you’ve created cast in metal.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of being an independent designer in LA? One of the biggest benefits is creating an identity for yourself as an artist — I guess that’s a challenge too. And it’s figuring out how to turn the challenges into things that are only building and benefitting our character. Some of the challenges are balancing the flow of our creative spirit through the design process to the final product, to time management, self-motivation, and business and marketing savvy. However, to have the freedom of being your own boss, taking a hold of the inspiration of this incredible city, is the best benefit of all.

With the current wave of accessory accentuation, this is really your moment. What sets LAS Jewelry apart from other emerging designers in your industry? We have a strength as a married team of artists that I think is rare. It is a blessing to have the minds of both a 2-D and 3-D artist — we believe that anything we can conceptualize, we can make. Although trends are important to the fashion world, it’s style that we seek; we view our pieces as small forms of wearable art — not just as disposable products that will float in and out from season to season. We create a broad spectrum of pieces that someone with a more demure and classic style or someone who is a bit bolder with personal expression can embrace.

If I didn’t know some of the charms and pendants were hand-sculpted by your husband, I’d swear they were antique treasures. What era are your designs influenced by? Although we are hunters and gatherers of all treasures ancient and antique, we definitely pull inspiration from natural and organic subjects, old biological and scientific illustrations, and our love of animals and anatomy. There isn’t a specific era that is a direct influence; however, we find there is beauty in age and make sure our creations reflect this aesthetic without a “brand new off the assembly line” feel.

Walk me through the collaborative process between you two in designing the sculpted pieces. It usually begins with the idea of a series of pieces, as we aim to convey a continuity through the line. We each begin by sketching out individual interpretations of what we are about to create, and we narrow the sketches to one specific image. At that point, Dan begins the transition of the design on paper to a wax model. Taking a block of carving wax, he sculpts the charm or pendant, and we put it into the production of molding and casting in various metals.

Many of your creations are one-of-a-kind. What inspires you to create new work? Much of our inspiration comes from living in LA — the architecture, the plant life, and how people in this city reinvent themselves through personal style. In addition to our sculpted metal charms and pendants, we’re inspired to develop pieces that would be sought after as original works of art. Just as if you were to buy a one-of-a-kind painting off a gallery wall, you could purchase a piece of our jewelry to wear and treasure enough to carry with you day to day. The idea of using repurposed and recycled materials has always been an absolute for us — and in addition to found vintage metal items, we began incorporating recycled leather and fabric. What techniques and materials are you interested in experimenting with in future designs? I’m experimenting with cutting up old book covers and doing miniature drawings and paintings on them, tiny enough to wear. We’re interested in working with resins, wood, and basically anything we can get our hands on to dismantle and give new life. Where can we find LAS Jewelry currently and which boutiques are on your stocklist wish list? LAS Jewelry is currently in EM and Co. on West 3rd Street, and will be in Ten Over Six on Beverly Boulevard for late summer/fall. Our stocklist wish list includes Confederacy, American Rag CIE, and Maxfield in LA, and Bess and Oak in New York.

Do you have any upcoming projects that we should know about? We are designing custom whistle charms for nonprofit organization Falling Whistles, which benefits and drives awareness to children suffering from civil war in the Congo. Check out the story online at www.fallingwhistles.com. In addition to this collaboration, we have a number of new creatures in the works and more leather goods materializing in the near future.

Confederacy: LA’s New Frontline for Men’s Fashion

Taking fashion cues from a That 70s Show star might at first not sound like such a good idea. But stroll around actor Danny Masterson’s and stylist Ilaria Urbinati’s sprawling new Los Angeles boutique Confederacy, and you’re likely to think otherwise. “The 5,000-square-foot locale will sell clothes from the usual suspects (Bastian, Ervell, Tim Hamilton), accessories from Woolrich and Rag & Bone (who also designed the staff’s uniforms), and everything from vintage issues of GQ to antique workout equipment (used as a display).”

Also slated to hit the store’s racks are bespoke suits courtesy of the Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. Looking for kicks? Confederacy stocks everything from Common Projects to Givenchy in its “shoe living room.” And the store’s amenities don’t stop there. Confederacy will also double as an art exhibition space — the first show of which will feature sketches by Julian Schnabel. Not bad for a guy who DJs under the name “Mom Jeans.”