Last Friday night we, along with our affiliates and friends at Fashion.net, who had the honor of being media partners, attended one of Hollywood’s most exclusive fashion events of the season. Held in the outdoor pavilion of The Mondrian Hotel on Sunset Blvd, we assembled to see the presentation of Skingraft’s latest collection alongside a select group of the West Coast’s most prominent fashion insiders.
Ever since the House of Skingraft began its experimentation in performance-fashion back in 2009, it has been clear that they have been a brand to watch. The show, which more closely resembled a live art installment than a runway show, revealed a collection of black and white pieces in two presentation phases, allowing the audience to view the dozen looks floating on elevated platforms, positioned above an eerily lit pool.
The play of water shadows from the pool interacted well with the first phase of the show, which included only black pieces, representative of Skingraft’s theme of darker fabrics and heavier textures that left a strong impression on the attendees, while illustrating a creative range that can be explored without employing an excessive range of fabrication.
The second phase of the show introduced the designer’s wit and play with color, or lack of. Employing almost an entirely white variety, splashes of red emphasized the structural complexities of the designs, and offered a visual relief from the previous wall of black.
After the show, we caught up Skingraft designer, Jonny Cota, discussing his inspirations and influences for this collection and his aesthetic in general.
What maintained your inspiration for your Spring/Summer 2013 collection? What was that first decision for this collection, what was your “je ne sais.” moment? How did it all really start?
JC: The inspiration for my Spring/Summer collection started on the back of my motorcycle in Bali, Indonesia. Speeding between the overgrown rice fields and our Skingraft studio, I was romanticizing about the dying fashion of classic ’70s-style motorcycle gangs and was inspired to re-imagine that same sense of dark brotherhood for a new generation of young people. I pulled from a lot of athletic-wear references from my childhood in the early ’90s and incorporated those silhouettes, fabrics and flexibility into my re-imagination of biker gang aesthetics.
Throughout your Skingraft collections, who have been your key influencers that keep you creatively vertigrated and desire to design?
JC: As a designer, I am always influenced by the people that really wear the brand. At Skingraft parties around LA, I am always so intrigued to see how kids work Skingraft into their looks and how they re-interpret the line to compliment their aesthetic. Whether they are full head-to-toe freak or dressing down Skingraft pieces to become more casual, I feed off of the individual styling that our supporters are dreaming up. I leave every Skingraft event with ideas for new directions and new ways to evolve our style.
How, did you feel from the moment of your collection was presented to the public desirable eye?
JC: When the new collection was finally presented at our SS13 show I felt a huge sense of relief in being reminded that the collection is really unique and strong and that Skingraft has a distinctive point of view. I am one of those people that work all day, everyday on my creative pursuit and can sometimes lose sight of where I’m going. The day before a show I am always questioning the styles I’ve designed and am ready to burn the whole collection and hide from everyone. Fortunately, we made it through another successful show and I am excited to sink my teeth into the next collection.
Boy Child was presented as a strong communication point throughout your collection. Explain how the structure and textiles of your garments lead up to Boy Child?
JC: My approach to design often plays with the role of gender in fashion. Blurring the lines between gender and playing with androgyny through fashion is one of my favorite undertakings with my collections. Boy Child, as a performer and as a muse, really embodied a lot of those aspects for this presentation so we created a custom look for her of athletic shoulder pads over an oversized sheer silk football jersey. I was referencing the sportswear elements of the Spring/Summer collection while making the shoulder pads articulated and built from armored materials to bring the garments back to a distinctly Skingraft world.
What was your collaborative impact with Creative Director of Black Banditz; Dan Regan?
JC: I was very excited to work closely with Dan Regan, creative director of Black Banditz, on this Spring/Summer presentation. Dan and Skingraft have been closely orbiting each other for the past few years as we are both pushing forward a certain high-end dark aesthetic here in Los Angeles I we finally got the opportunity to put our heads together and make this night happen. Along with spearheading the Black Banditz hair team for this presentation, Dan collaborated with us to bring our tribes of partners, sponsors and supporters together under one roof, resulting in an incredibly fashion-forward crowd of artists, taste-makers and highly creative people.