Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Ed Hardy

Skulls and hearts meet the embroidered arts in Ed Hardy cross-stitch book


If you're like me, you may have thought that the Ed Hardy licensing empire had already conquered every conceivable category of merchandise (what with the air fresheners, energy drinks, etc.).

Imagine my surprise when my esteemed editor dropped the above book on my desk late last week like she was disposing of a dead possum carcass. No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you -- that really is a book full of cross-stitch patterns based on the tattoo designs of Don Ed Hardy.

What I find most intriguing about "Love Kills Slowly Cross-Stitch: 30 Cross-Stitch Patterns from Ed Hardy" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010), which hits retail on Tuesday (with a suggested retail price of $14.99), isn't that the tattoo artist's crown-wearing tigers, heart-piercing daggers and banner-bearing skulls have moved into the quaint world of the embroidered arts.

No, what I'm really curious about is the target demographic for such an item, which the book itself seems to allude to from the very first (and wholly unnecessary) sentence: "This ain't your grandma's cross-stitch book."

Though technically, I suppose, this could be your grandma's cross-stitch book -- if she's the sort that harbors a burning desire to craft a throw pillow depicting a heart-eating skull and cross bones flanked by a banner that proclaims: "Love Dies Hard," or you think Gran might relish toiling through her twilight years embroidering a baby's bib with a snarling panther in a spotted newsboy cap.

If so, this could be a gift that could end up benefiting you. Because the book includes patterns for an entire Ed Hardy alphabet, grandmother can easily stitch the words "world's greatest grandchild" along with a pitchfork-wielding devil design on the tea towel she gives you next holiday season.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: "Love Kills Slowly Cross-Stitch: 30 Cross-Stitch Patterns from Ed Hardy," hits stores on Nov. 30. Credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times

Ed Hardy bows on the big screen in 'Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World.'

Before Ed Hardy became a lifestyle of tattoo-printed T-shirts, $100 embellished trucker hats and, even, wine, Don "Ed" Hardy  was (and still is) a San Francisco-based tattoo artist famous for decades for bringing high-art influences into what was considered a low art. 

The real Don "Ed" Hardy is the subject of the documentary “Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World” and  there's a free screening at the Hammer Museum on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The film explores how Hardy,  who was born in 1945 and raised in Corona del Mar, wanted to be a tattoo artist by the age of 10. "Tattoo the World" features photographs from Hardy's archive of the 10-year-old "tattooing" his Orange County classmates with Maybelline eyeliner and colored pencils. Back then, Hardy was aware that his chosen profession raised eyebrows when it was still seen as either the province of sailors or exotic, underground transgressives. That's what made him want to pursue it even more.

When he was able to practice tattooing, Hardy  quickly set himself apart with a fine-arts background -- he studied printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1973, Hardy began studying traditional tattoo art in Japan. But by the 1990s, the thrill was gone. Hardy said that when tattooing became ubiquitous, "its fad status overwhelmed or negated most of the assumptions on which I based my career." The film also puts in context the oversaturated Ed Hardy brand with Hardy's nonflashy artist lifestyle.

Wonder how Hardy felt when his designs appeared on baby diapers and hand sanitizer?

-- Max Padilla

Video clip from "Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World" courtesy of "Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World" 

Beverly Center to serve as official hub of L.A.'s Fashion's Night Out festivities

L.A.'s plans for Fashion's Night Out on Sept. 10 are coming together.

This year, the Beverly Center will serve as the official hub for the event, which is being organized in collaboration with the mayor's office. A news conference with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected next week to announce plans, according to Susan Vance, marketing and sponsorship director for the Beverly Center.

The mall at the corner of Beverly and La Cienega boulevards will host a runway show in its Center Court, with celebrity guests in attendance and trolleys at the wait to transport shoppers to other destinations in the city, Vance said.

The two major local hubs for last year's inaugural Fashion's Night Out event were the Fred Segal Center on Melrose Avenue and Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, and with Beverly Hill's ramping up its own efforts this time around (plans include putting a Ferris wheel in the middle of Rodeo Drive), the Beverly Center seems a more accessible Los Angeles option for a couple of reasons.

First, it's within easy trolley distance of the Robertson Boulevard, Melrose Avenue and West Third Street shopping districts. Second, while the mall is home to many luxury brands -- including Burberry, Gucci (soon to be joined by Fendi and Prada), it also boasts outposts of True Religion, Ed Hardy, Forever 21 and H&M. 

In fact, Beverly Center's unique mix of retail reflects the trend of high-low dressing, mixing luxury handbags with fast fashion apparel means the mall is likely to draw a more diverse crowd to the event, and Vance notes that the shopping center tends to attract a younger customer -- those in the coveted age 18-to-35 demographic.

Founded in 2009 by Vogue magazine and the Council of Fashion Designers of America as a global celebration of fashion and to help jump-start spending during the economic downturn, Fashion's Night Out celebrations are planned for Sept. 10 in dozens of cities in the U.S. and abroad.

-- Booth Moore

Rodeo Drive spins the Ferris wheel for Fashion's Night Out

Fashion's Night Out gets its own prime-time CBS special

More All The Rage coverage of Fashion's Night Out

Photo: A runway show staged at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills was part of 2009's Fashion's Night Out festivities in Los Angeles. This year, the Beverly Center will serve as the official hub and include a trolley service to take shoppers to other retail districts around town. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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


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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

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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.

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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."

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Is Gucci the new Ed Hardy? Oh dear.

I can't be the only one who sees a frightening resemblance between the211851_hxb1z_8360_full1_2 Gucci Heart Tattoo collection's "Love Gucci" change purse ($235; 25% of sales benefitBg21_suann67241_2 Unicef) and the Ed Hardy "True Love" Anna satchel, ($177.99).

Is it possible that Gucci designer Frida Giannini and Ed Hardy maestro Christian Audigier have more in common than a love for retro tattoo art -- which is now as annoyingly ubiquitous as oxygen? I don't like this one bit.

-- Monica Corcoran



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.

-- [email protected]

Photos by Kirk McKoy/Los Angles Times


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