LOS ANGELES, United States — Last week, as editors, buyers and other industry insiders flocked to New York for the start of the city’s fashion week, a pair of pop-up shops in Los Angeles — America’s sunnier second fashion capital — drew a distinctly different kind of fashion crowd.
On Friday, Vetements transformed the glass Jean Prouvé house in the parking lot of West Hollywood boutique Maxfield into a mock dry cleaner, stocked with items by the cult, Paris-based brand. Part pop-up shop, part street party, the event was open to the public and attended by a crowd of about 1,500 people, many of whom waited in a line that snaked around the block.
“The event in LA was designed to speak directly to consumers and offer them a one-of-a-kind experience, to bring people together and let them enjoy the evening,” explained Guram Gvasalia, Vetements’ chief executive officer and brother of the label’s designer, Demna Gvasalia. “Usually most events are only for industry professionals, celebrities and VIPs. It’s nice to invite everyone without guest lists — everyone is welcome who wants to come.”
If you need to buy clothes, you go online, and you click a button. If you go to a physical location, you are searching for an additional value — for experience.
For LA’s growing legion of fashionable, social media-savvy hipsters, the event was catnip — and less about traditional shopping than participating in a new kind of Instagram-friendly experience. “If you need to buy clothes, you go online, and you click a button. If you go to a physical location, you are searching for an additional value — for experience,” Gvasalia continued.
But by late Friday, the Vetements Dry Cleaner was gone, replaced by yet another unconventional fashion experience: a Daft Punk pop-up — also at Maxfield — selling the French electronic music duo’s official merchandise along with exclusive pieces made in collaboration with the likes of Gosha Rubchinskiy and Off-White. Here, shopping was set within an exhibition-like installation featuring Daft Punk’s wardrobe, stage props and, of course, robot helmets, timed to coincide with the duo's performance at this year’s Grammy Awards.
Unlike Vetements' blink-and-it's-gone event, the Daft Punk pop-up is open for a week. But the similarities between the two back-to-back events are striking. And, launching just after the second edition of Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘see now, buy now’ runway extravaganza and a consumer-facing fashion show staged by Rebecca Minkoff at outdoor shopping centre The Grove, the two pop-ups served to underscore LA’s growing status as something of a petri dish for fashion experimentation, where a potent mix of brands, affluent shoppers and hipster-influencers increasingly co-mingle, far beyond the tradition-bound confines of New York and its industry-facing fashion week.
Editor's Note: This article was revised on 22 February, 2017. An earlier version of this article misstated that Guram Gvasalia was chief operating officer of Vetements. He is not. He is the company's chief executive.