Under new ownership, L.A. Fashion Week unveils its official rebrand next month with new brands, celebrities, digital experiences and at least one hologram.
Acquired in January 2022 by events organizer N4xt Experiences, the revamped fashion week returns this season from October 6-9. Fourteen participating fashion brands are on the schedule, including AnOnlyChild, Fleur du Mal, a collaboration between Sami Miro Vintage and Levi’s, Guess, and “Insecure” star Issa Rae’s first collection with sponsorship from Delta Air Lines. The new direction of the event is being shaped by N4xt Experiences co-founder Ciarra Pardo, the former CCO of Fenty Corp. who spearheaded the brand’s digitally innovative events.
“Part of our reimagining of L.A. Fashion Week is incorporating beauty, technology and sustainability, and leveraging the renaissance that Los Angeles is going through,” said Pardo.
Beyond traditional runway shows and fashion presentations, the refreshed event will host immersive experiences, curated pop-ups, panels, fireside chats, masterclasses and other activations. Non-fashion categories like beauty, health and wellness will also be incorporated into the programming. Participating beauty brands include Dr. Barbara Sturm, Estée Lauder, Too Faced and K18.
Events will be held across the city at its three official venue partners Lighthouse Immersive ArtSpace LA, Citizen News and Edition West Hollywood, as well as external locations.
Lighthouse Immersive, the home of projection-based art exhibitions such as the popular Immersive Van Gogh, will offer brands the opportunity to feature eye-catching projections and digital features at events.
“It’s a new playground. We’re open to creating new experiences,” said Pardo. Fleur du Mal will be hosting a 10-year-anniversary party with choreographed performances in partnership with nightclub House of Yes. Meanwhile, AnOnlyChild will have “amazing projections” at its event, Pardo said. And Guess will be offering a 40-year retrospective. Some talks will also take place in futuristic formats — for example, Eco Age founder Livia Firth will be appearing at a sustainability talk via hologram from Milan.
“We have a strong following in L.A. and we also opened a store in West Hollywood last year, which is doing really well. So activating in L.A. was important for us,” said Fleur du Mal founder Jennifer Zuccarini. Rather than professional models, the brand is opting to showcase its collection on “a diverse cast” from House of Yes, she said. She noted that the event will be “provocative,” in line with Fleur du Mal’s branding.
Pardo’s experience with high-tech activations while at Fenty, such as Savage x Fenty’s 2018 launch event featuring a Rihanna hologram, “inspired a lot of the thought behind how we started to reimagine our L.A. Fashion Week,” she said. The event is working with tech company partners including TikTok, Logitech and Bolt.
N4xt Experiences was co-founded by Pardo in 2021 with Imad Izemrane, president and co-founder of Spring Place, producer Marcus Ticotin and financial industry veteran Keith Abell.
Pre-rebrand, N4xt Experiences hosted a spring L.A. Fashion Week, in April, with its previous branding and roster curated by former owner Arthur Chipman. Chipman trademarked the event name in 2015 and held the event at the Petersen Auto Museum. Prior to that, L.A. fashion events existed under various names and organizers since 2008, when IMG and Smashbox Cosmetics founder Davis Factor stopped partnering on Mercedes-Benz L.A. Fashion Week, following a 5-year run. Mercedes-Benz is involved in this event once again, this time as the official car of L.A. Fashion Week.
Chipman’s trademark faced a legal challenge from Art Hearts Fashion founder Erik Rosete, who claimed Chipman falsified documents when filing for the trademark.
“We have no issue with Mr. Rosete; this dispute between Erik and Arthur long precedes our involvement. We have and will continue to support a peaceful resolution. Mr. Rosete has managed to coexist with New York Fashion Week, another fashion week that he claims to own, amicably. And we intend the same for LAFW A N4XT Experience,” said Pardo.
The week’s events will also be on the CFDA calendar in partnership with CFDA for the first time since 2008. Pardo said she envisions a more consumer-facing role for L.A. Fashion Week than those in New York, Milan, London and Paris.
“We could never compete with New York, these legacy fashion weeks,” said Pardo. “What we’re doing is just a little bit different.”
Pardo’s broader vision for L.A. Fashion Week is to transform it into an international brand, akin to Frieze in the art world. L.A. Fashion Week-branded events are also planned for two upcoming international locations that will be announced after the L.A. event ends.
A growing number of legacy fashion brands have chosen Los Angeles for off-season runway shows and presentations. Pardo said the trend was accelerating pre-pandemic with runway shows held by brands including Moschino in 2019 and Tom Ford in 2020. Since the pandemic, Gucci, Hermès and Alexander Wang have hosted Los Angeles shows or presentations; Ralph Lauren has one slated for October 13. Southern California is becoming an attractive show destination more broadly, as Louis Vuitton held its cruise show in San Diego in May.
“We are seeing a new rise in who’s showing up out here,” said Pardo.