Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Christian Audigier

Ed Hardly? Audigier to debut new flash-free fashions

Christian Audigier, the man who had a hand in popularizing -- to the point of near extinction -- the flying eyeball logo and trucker hats of the Von Dutch label, and more recently built the tattoo flash art of Ed Hardy into a loud lifestyle brand that currently includes (but is in no way limited to) air fresheners, energy drinks and wine, is apparently getting ready to go all minimalist and subdued on us.

No, really.

In a news release we received today, the designer announced that a new men's and women's apparel line, "free of graphics and logos ... inspired by the comfort and simplicity of vintage T-shirts" will be unveiled at the Project Las Vegas apparel trade show Feb. 16. In the news release, Audigier (who, we were told, was en route to Miami and unable to speak with us) likens the new apparel line to "your favorite pair of jeans, you will want to live in these clothes."

A company representative told us no photos of the new line would be available until the Las Vegas launch, but described the collection, which will retail between $32 and $92, as "soft, simple basics without any logos or graphic," including cotton T-shirts and knit tops for both sexes, a color palette that skews neutral and earth tone, and nary a robed geisha, top-hatted skull or crouching tiger silkscreen to be seen.

It's such a marked departure from the affable Frenchman's signature aesthetic -- a cacophony of color and a tendency toward over-larded embellishments (sequins! embroidery! foil!) -- it could easily be called "Ed Hardly (or maybe "Non Dutch"), but the actual name of the line is somehow even funnier: the same guy (That's right, all lower case with the trademark symbol appended).

Never one to think small, apparently Audigier's retail plans for the same guy™ include 20 standalone stores (with interiors described as "classic Americana and includes rustic elements of wood, iron and metal with textures of suede and leather"), a shop-in-shop concept targeting high-end retailers and a website (launching sometime in March).

The first store, slated to open later this month, will be located at 8335 Melrose Ave., a storefront currently occupied by an Ed Hardy Outlet.

Are you as intrigued as we are to see different stuff from the same guy™?

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Christian Audigier styles model Kristina Marquetti in 2007. After helping propel the loud and logo-driven Von Dutch and Ed Hardy labels into every corner of the known universe, the designer has announced that he'll be launching a logo-free line at a Las Vegas trade show this month. Credit: Karen Tapia / Los Angeles Times


More Christian Audigier at All The Rage

Follow the Image section on Twitter

Ed Hardy sample sale starts Friday

Ed Hardy offers a sample sale this weekend in Culver City that's heavy on the denim.

Prices are reduced from wholesale on Ed Hardy, Christian Audigier, Z-Brand and L'Ecole des Femmes for men, women and children (starting at $20). Major credit cards accepted.

6315 Arizona Place, Los Angeles. (310) 670-2290. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

-- Max Padilla

Follow the Image section on Twitter

Friday Funnies: Teen sleuths meet tattoo wear in "The Ed Hardy Boyz"

Rage_hardy If you're among the people who've watched the Ed Hardy label grow from a line of T-shirts and trucker hats festooned with colorful tattoo flash art (think leaping tigers, geishas and top-hatted skulls) into a ubiquitous lifestyle brand that currently includes air fresheners, pet clothing, bedding, energy drinks, a Vegas nightclub and even wine, you'll probably appreciate a new video at humor website FunnyOrDie.

Titled "The Ed Hardy Boyz: The Case of the Missing Sick Belt Buckle," the parody mash-up of Franklin W. Dixon's teen detective series and Christian Audigier's colorful clothing line follows the adventures of Bobby Bottleservice (Nick Kroll) and Peter Paparazzo (Jon Daly) as they try to recover the titular belt buckle for Audigier.

Almost as funny as the story itself (which I won't spoil for you), is the universe of Ed Hardy ware employed to comic effect -- from the real Ed Hardy notebooks, steering wheel covers and bottled water, to the faux Ed Hardy Vodka for Children and a foodstuff branded with the Ed Hardy logo that closes the sketch.

Before you cut out of your cubicle for the weekend, I suggest checking it out. It may be the the funniest four minutes and 19 seconds of apparel parody you'll watch all week (OK, at this point it's probably the only four minutes and 19 seconds of apparel parody you'll watch all week).

And if Audigier's half as good a sport as he is a brand builder, he might seriously consider tapping Kroll and Daly to solve a series of "Ed Hardy Boyz" viral video mysteries.

"The Case of the Oversize Energy Drink," anyone?

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo:  A look from Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier's Spring/Summer 2009 collection runway show at Smashbox Studios in Culver City during LA Fashion Week in October 2008. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times.

More Ed Hardy in All the Rage

Follow the Image section on Twitter

Magic trade show brings major marketing spectacles


Picture 001 If you managed to push your way past the Picture 003crowd gathered at the gates of Christian Audigier’s mini-city built within a hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, all you saw in the shadows of Ed Hardy flags and Crystal Rocks sparkles were more and more marketing spectacles by brands showing lines at the Magic trade show.

There was someone posing for pictures dressed in a Sponge Bob Square Pants costume, and then a handful of guys with no pants on--just striped skivvies, standing in front of a men’s underwear booth.

But the biggest show of the day was in the lobby of the Grand Hall, where actors and dancers played out a “Mad Tea Party” to promote a line of jewelry Tom Binns is designing timed to the Tim Burton-directed "Alice in Wonderland" movie, which comes out in March. The dancers were dressed as the various characters from the book, but with a “street” edge. The white rabbit was more blue and looked more like a break dancer than a bunny. There was a random contortionist and a guy on stilts throwing cookies into the audience. A lot of people jumped up and down so fervently for the cookies like bridesmaids revving up to catch a bouquet--you’d think these were the only cookies in Vegas.

After 10 minutes of aimless dancing, banners fell that read “Alice is the new black” and “Who will you wear to the tea party?”  Tom Binns jewelry, I guess.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos:At top, Christian Audigier land at Magic, Left: Man on stilts throwing cookies at the "Alice in Wonderland" "Mad Tea Party"; at right, the "White Rabbit" in blue. Photo credits: Melissa Magsaysay / Los Angeles Times

'Today' previews Michael Jackson/Christian Audigier clothing line

Rage_audigier Before I left the house this morning, the "Today" show ran a segment about the oft-mentioned clothing line Christian Audigier was working on with Michael Jackson before the king of pop's untimely demise.

The collaboration has always made a certain sense -- Jackson was a celebrity guest at the 50th birthday partythe affable Frenchman threw for himself last year, Audigier is reportedly renting the house Jackson died in, and they both seem to appreciate the overly embellished aesthetic.

When -- or even whether -- the line hits store shelves is apparently something that's in the hands of those administering the Jackson estate. I'll try to get more details - and some photos -- of some key pieces. But in the meantime, I've posted the video link after the jump.

Take this as a warning to start saving now for that foil printed umbrella or pair of sequin-studded socks, because for a kitsch memorial to the king of pop, you just can't beat it.

-- Adam Tschorn

Follow the Image section on Twitter

Photo: The day after Michael Jackson's death, people identifying themselves as employees of fashion designer Christian Audigier with a banner bearing photos of Jackson and Audigier outside the Holmby Hills home that Jackson had been renting. Photo credit: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.

What's behind Jon Gosselin's bromance with Christian Audigier?

Christian Audigier So, we finally got the lowdown on the Jon Gosselin/Christian Audigier connection. If you'll recall, the reality show father of eight (minus the reverse-mulleted Kate) was recently spotted in St. Tropez in the company of affable tattoo-wear impresario Christian Audigier. Rumors immediately began to swirl that the Keystone State's most famous family man was planning to launch a line of kids' clothes with Audigier.

"One hundred percent untrue," said an Audigier representative, who told us the company's quite happy with its Ed Hardy kids clothing line, thank you very much.

So why then did Audigier fly Gosselin to the south of France for some face time? In the rep's words: "They have common interests." In ours: It's a kind of blossoming bromance.

Apparently the relationship began back when Audigier's people, doing what they do best, sent some kids clothes and a few pieces for the parents (trucker hats, T-shirts and the like) to the family in hopes that the clothes might appear in an episode of TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

Continue reading »

Sale Rack: Ed Hardy Intimates

Ed Hardy Intimates Saturday: Christian Audigier's stalwart label with tattoo-inspired designs holds a sample sale of its women's lingerie collection, including lounge and sleepwear. Prices start as low as $3 (25 items maximum per customer). Major credit cards accepted.

600 St. Paul Ave., Suite 201, Los Angeles. (213) 250-0022. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

-- Max Padilla

Ed Hardy wines? Christian Audigier's branding machine grinds on

Salon and spa specials

Sale Rack: Diving into swimwear specials, Alberta Ferretti trunk show

More shopping news and sales.

Follow the Image section on Twitter

Heidi Klum, canary in the Fashion Week coal mine

One of the challenges of going to runway shows and presentations off the "official" Fashion WeekRage_lord22 calendar -- no matter how loosely scheduled it may seem -- is that there will inevitably be a situation in which one feels the need to be in two places at the same time. That was the situation we found ourselves in last night, nervously checking our watches and cooling our heels in David Arquette and Courtney Cox's Beverly Hills backyard waiting to catch a glimpse of Propr, a new menswear line by David Arquette, musician Ben Harper and David Bedwell.

It was scheduled to show at 8 p.m., precisely the same time Christian Audigier's show was supposed to drop at Smashbox Studios nearly seven L.A. surface-street miles due south. Our original plan was to linger at the Arquette manse (apparently open for a quasi-public event like this for the first time ever) no later than 7:30. Then, among the celebrity scrum that included (in no particular order) Jamie Lee Curtis, David Spade, Garry Shandling, Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, Rosanna Arquette, Laura Dern and Jennifer Aniston, we spotted supermodel/"Project Runway" host Heidi Klum.

Klum, you see, happened to be one of the bold-faced names included on the celeb-obsessed Audigier's front-row press alert, and we knew there was no way in Hades the show would start without the leggy German model in the house. As long as she was tromping through the same yard as we were, we wouldn't miss a beat.Rage_lord12

At about 7:53 p.m., with the Propr show yet to start, we caught Klum and company angling for the exit, so we headed for the valet parking line, where before she stepped into her chauffeured car, graciously offered to give us a lift to the tents -- an offer we were compelled to decline (less out of journalistic integrity than in concern for our car which appeared to be lost in valet limbo).

We sped down the hill, rolling up to the tents at approximately 8:21 p.m. and into our seats about five minutes later where we could see Klum across the sod-covered runway in a halo of flashbulbs.

When the show (dubbed "America Lord" and showcasing his eponymous crest-encrusted line rather than the Ed Hardy line he showed two nights earlier) got underway a few minutes later, it was classic Audigier showmanship  -- opened by break-dancing British Beefeaters and black-leather-clad cheerleaders backed by a live band fronted by former Eurythmic Dave Stewart, followed by a platoon of punk and plaid pieces in every possible permutation; leggings, suit jackets, feather pied-piper hats, essentially a grab-bag of well-worn street influences that mined several decades and two continents; a snatch of Johnny Rotten here, a soupcon of Comme des Garcons seasons past there, smothered in a whole lot of red and black plaid scarves and skirts.Rage_lord32

We thought Audigier had topped out in the self-aggrandizement department with the black and white punky designs on jacket backs that spelled out "American Lord" (though as far as we know, the Frenchman is neither)  under a photo of him. Until he came to take a final bow. As Dave Stewart and company started singing a version of  the Chapman/Knight tune "Best," as Audigier strolled down the runway and planted a big kiss on Heidi Klum.

Pa1501702_2 "Simply the best, better than all the rest...." Wow.  Maybe Audigier should figure out a way to package and sell that ego.

Wait, I guess he already has ....

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos from top: Heidi Klum in the front row at Christian Audigier's "American Lord" show on Oct. 15, by Jesse Grant / Getty Images for IMG; A women's look from the Christian Audigier Spring 2009 collection, by Chris Pizzello / Associated Press; A men's look from the same show, by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for IMG; Detail of jacket-back design featuring a picture of the designer and the words "American Lord," by Adam Tschorn.

Ed Hardy drinks the Kool-Aid -- make that energy drink

Half an hour before his “Street Fame” show at the Culver City tents, master showman Christian Audigier was backstage in a scrum of video cameras, air-kissing friends and well-wishers.Rage_hardy42

“This collection was inspired by the street, by the famous people I know –- the colors, the bling,” he told us before posing for pictures with a cadre of kids who would soon be busting serious break-dancing moves on the checkerboard runway –- and be clad from head to toe in Christian Audigier kids wear.

You see, Audigier has expanded his Ed Hardy tattoo-inspired line to include dagger-stabbed skulls, roses and leaping tiger tattoo art on kids hoodies, T-shirts and shoes. He’s also added swimwear, underwear, neck ties, faux-Ugg boots, foil-printed slip-on sneakers and even air fresheners and eau de toilette to the Ed Hardy-branded empire, and he seemed to throw it all on the catwalk in what felt like a full half-hour show (most last in the neighborhood of 10 minutes).

Audigier did seem to borrow liberally from the world of celebrity kids in tulle skirts reminiscent of  Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” video, and models in shutter shade eyeglasses a la Kanye West’s “Stronger” video. The collection itself also seemed to borrow signature riffs that seem familiar from elsewhere. Swooping white paint along the back yoke and pockets of blue jeans like Evisu’s stylized white sea gull logo, the soles of women’s high heels were covered in tattoo print designs the way Christian Louboutin’s are a signature red.

Overall it was a cacophony of color and tattoo-art designs, ankh-peace signs, crouching tigers, top-hat-wearing wolves against a backdrop of bright oranges, teal blues and mostly raw denim. Multiple embellishments, embroidery, screens and foils layered upon one another made it seem like after four years of plumbing the archives of tattoo artists Don Ed Hardy, Audigier feels constrained rather than inspired by the conceit, and sees his only option to burn through as many designs as possible as quickly as possible.Rage_hardy7003
It hardly seems possible that a master showman like Audigier -– whose stable of brands has gotten so big he recently held his own trade show in Las Vegas  and who has adorned a Culver City building near Smashbox Studios with wall-sized banners bearing his likeness -- could go off the rails in the shameless self-promotion department, but when a male model in Ed Hardy board shorts hit the catwalk cradling a 2-foot-tall can of Ed Hardy energy drink, we couldn’t help but think that even Audigier would have to admit his lifestyle branding juggernaut had jumped the runway shark.


Photos by Kirk McKoy/Los Angles Times


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.