BASIC Spotlight Cars & Fashion @ LA Fashion Week

LAFW Week took place at high end Petersen Automotive Museum.

Day 1 Naeem Khan

Photos by Manny Llanura

Day 1 Walter Collection

Photos by Manny Llanura


Images by @refinedartworks



Interviewed by Morgan Mantilla

Romy glides into the room, and her wavy hair, parted in the middle, sways with every step. There is a calm and elegance about her that is strangely comforting. Maybe it’s how she seems to know exactly who she is. Her young daughter bounces alongside her, clearly a fan of her mother’s work.

What was your inspiration for this collection?

I’m always inspired by vintage pieces. I love designing clothes to make the women feel feminine, beautiful, and sexy. That’s always my inspiration, every season. Also, I love the 80s. That’s a big inspiration, you can always see some of that 80s influence in my silhouettes, but in a modern way.

Your choice to have some very structured silhouettes in a completely sheer fabric made for some really fascinating pieces. What led you to choose that combination?

Well I love flowy pieces that move with the body. But I’m also interested in big shoulders, like even if I do something flowy, I still do a shoulder, shoulder pads, or something. I like that structure even if it’s sheer and flowy.

If you had to describe your design aesthetic as a print, what would it be?

My logo! Which is coming next season.

On your website, you talk about how moving to Dubai ushered in a new era for you as a designer. What is it about Dubai that moved you in this way?

Well I studied fashion styling, and then I studied designing as well. You know, I have two kids, and they were both in school, and it was always a dream of mine to start designing. So I really started doing pieces for myself, and then friends and family members wanted to buy them off of me, and then that’s how it started.

If fashion is your first love, your second love is?

My second love? [Romy’s daughter whispers in her ear] Oh yeah! Dance. My daughter is telling me to say dance. [laughs] Yes I love dancing.

What article of clothing, accessory, or gadget would you say is a designer’s best friend?

Shoes. They totally make the outfit.

What is something currently happening in the fashion world that you find exciting?

What I find really exciting is that fashion is going back. There is so much inspiration from the past. I just find that looking into your past can be so enriching. Even from my first collection, my grandfather was an actor in Sweden and my father left me all these old leather bound books with all his movies. The collection grew from that. I always look to the past for inspiration. I think we need that, nostalgia. It’s comforting.

Knowing that you love working with vintage fabrics, which decade of style is your favorite? Why?

The 80s are my favorite for sure. I just really like how in the 80s women really put themselves together. Got dressed up, put makeup on–I mean, I’m not into like the big hair–but you know there was just something about it that was very feminine, sexy, and beautiful, so I take that part of it and I use it.

What motivates you to create?

My kids, my daughter especially I want her to be proud of me and see that you have to be a strong independent woman, and work hard.

DAY 2 Nicholas Mayfield


Interviewed by Morgan Mantilla

Nicholas Mayfield is intentionally an enigma. He likes to philosophize if you happen to be in his company, but in general, he wants his pieces to speak for themselves, so he avoids the limelight. With specs of paint on his hands, and dark sunglasses on his face, this artist opens up about his collection in a raspy, gentle voice.

What was your inspiration for this collection?

My daughter is the reason why I even do any of this. It’s the story of how our lives are intertwined. It’s really weird because I didn’t really think about it until recently, since my daughter asks me questions, that I’ve known her mother since seventh grade. So I think about like the dances we went to back in the day, and just being friends, and how we grew and evolved. It’s just such a beautiful love story. Like of all the times that we smiled and we wild out, my daughter has that same smile.

So I love the painted textiles that you have throughout the collection. How do you decide what colors to use for your pieces?

Want to know the truth? I only use those colors because those are the colors that I have. So I just use those because you always have more than enough. Isn’t that crazy though? You always have more than enough.

If you had to describe your design aesthetic as a scent, what would it be?

Palo Santo.

If fashion is your first love, your second is?

My first love is actually art. I love drawing, I wanted to be a cartoonist as a kid. I got into clothing out of high school. Senior year I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I mean this was during the time when it was not cool. I mean I was skating with my basketball shoes, they were dunks, and for us, it was not cool. [laughs]

On your website you say that Emory Douglas is an inspiration of yours. How does he influence your work?

Well I don’t know about my work, but I like Emory Douglas for the fact that he’s slept on. He’s just a powerful artist, what he did for BPP in the late 60s or 70s was amazing. Man it was just like his pictures were stories. I like anything that has like five or six layers to it, but feels simplistic. Emory Douglas is the man. Also I’m a Californian.

What part of the design process do you most enjoy?

Being by myself. I love solitude. I love laughing with myself. You know what I mean? I like myself. I love myself, and to tell you the truth, it took a long time. It takes a lot of levels and you really starting to listen to your soul.

What do you think the future of fashion looks like?

Suits and rechargeable pockets.

What is something currently happening in the fashion world that you find exciting?

Simplicity. Even the fact that when I was a high school like you had to wear brands. But like I was thrifting, and it just wasn’t popping, you know? [laughs] But yeah I think it’s really cool now that kids can have a simplistic look, go to Savers get a three dollar t shirt, get some two dollar jeans, and just have some basic authentic Vans on and you’re good. You can have that for two-three years and that’s just gorgeous that you don’t have to be wrapped up in the bullshit of brands.

What attracts you to fashion design?

My mom. I get my creativity of visuals from my dad, I get my fashion from my mom. My mom was a flight attendant for 20-30 years and I just loved seeing the things she would get excited about. Like Oakley Frogskins, or whatever people wore. Things people pay attention to, that you could feel. I’ve always liked that. I’ve always liked textiles. As a kid, if I had jerseys or t-shirts, I would have hangers like all over the place, on the vents, on the ceiling, make like a store of my clothes all the time. [laughs] I like clothes a lot.


Interviewed by Morgan Mantilla

Dina Kabdolla struts around LAFW impressively in black patent leather pants and lucite stilettos, with a pop of neon pink for good measure. Once she sits down, her whole face breaks into a glittering smile that makes you feel right at home. Fueled by a sense of gratitude, it is clear that her work is her way of giving back to people.

What was your inspiration for this collection?

My hometown and my traditions. I’m from Kazakhstan, and my culture is Middle Eastern, it comes from the Turkic root, so I was interested in representing our rich, mixed culture in this collection.

Your use of brocade was captivating. Why did you choose that particular textile?

Because back in the day in Kazakhstan, people used to use exactly those luxury materials and fabrics, like brocade and jacquard. It’s all about the Middle Eastern influence. You can see the selection of the fabrics is going back to the Turkic root, to the history, but the silhouettes are Western. I was kind of trying to show how I see the East and West meeting together.

What article of clothing, accessory, or gadget would you say is a designer’s best friend?

Oh that’s my laptop. I’ve got like everything on my computer. Illustrator and Photoshop, those are my best friends. And Google. That’s all I need to brainstorm.

If fashion is your first love, your second is?

Family and friends. My environment. I’m a very simple person.

Do you have any pre-show rituals or charms you keep with you?

My lucky charm is my beautiful daughter, Ayala. My family. I know that I’m already blessed just to have them, and they’re my foundation for everything. Why I do what I do every day, my whole brand is based on my family.

What is something currently happening in the fashion world that you find exciting?

Everything. In general fashion is such a beautiful idea. Everybody on Earth wants to dress up and be glamorous. It’s the way you present yourself. Everybody wants to express themselves. I think fashion in general is always exciting. Everyday there is something, like you look amazing you look so beautiful. That is so exciting. I like giving beauty to people by dressing them up.

Is that love what drives you?

Yes, I love beauty. I love to give people the feeling of beauty. Like there is not a day when I do not compliment people around me. Through my designs I really want to show that you can be comfortable, that’s why I like streetwear. But then in a luxury fabric, it becomes so beautiful. I want to give people beauty, comfort, and confidence.



Interviewed by Morgan Mantilla

Picture three of the goofy popular guys you went to high school with. Charming, always there for a laugh, and now, all grown up. With good humor and style, the three designers behind CASANOVA, Salvatore, Angelo, and Luca, are on a mission to create luxurious streetwear that will last a lifetime.

What was your inspiration for this collection?

Salvatore: So we definitely took Inspiration from European military elements, and we focused exclusively on the fit, on the color tones–

Angelo: And on the quality.

Luca: Yes, quality was a huge focus throughout.

S: We had technical elements as well with the larger cargo pockets and the inside sleeve pockets.

L: We also took a lot of key points from other street luxury brands, more into the hype. Like we used plastic stamps, like that’s typically not in haute couture. But we like to incorporate that even with the super high quality textiles.

So using silk for the casual shape of a bomber was an interesting choice, what led you to choose the fabrics that you did?

L: I think a track suit or a bomber jacket are eternal, forever, no matter what the fashion is.

S: What we wanted to do is bring a modern rendition to that. By adding this specific blend of fabrics that we have, the silk on the outside really gives it a luxury feel, and gives it a nice drapage, and it’ll fit anyone.

A: You can use it on a daily, like this is durable. It looks shiny, it looks beautiful, but it’s something you can wear every day. You can toss it on anything, that’s the point of it. That’s what the whole line was about. Whether it’s on the runway or on the street, we want to make clothes that are realistic, but look flashy and beautiful.

S: You know, the Casanova flare!

How would you describe the essence of your brand?

S: It’s all about energy, it’s all about vibes, it’s all about passion.

L: One hundred percent!

S: Italians specifically, we’re extremely passionate people!

A: If you couldn’t tell…[laughing].

L: Everything we do is passionate. People might think we’re psychotic because we look at every single detail.

A: All the little details!

Ok so if fashion is your first love, your second is?

L: Cars.

S: [laughing] Yeah! 100 percent.

A: Then watches, behind that.

L: Cars, watches, fashion…those are the big three.

If you had to describe your design aesthetic as a texture, what would it be?

S: Ooh, silky!

L: 100 percent silky. That’s actually the textile that gave us the most inspiration.

S: Yeah, and everybody also says “ooh look, that’s silky” so yeah we’re sticking with that, smooth.

L: Silk has always been a symbol of luxury since ancient times.

A: And it’s eternal, it’s always been used. It’s an organic material.

The CASANOVA Instagram features movie clips with the word CASANOVA stamped over them. What do those mean to you? How would like people to view or interpret them?

S: Essentially we’re giving off a mood board. We’re giving them a feel of what we want them to feel. Strong energy, they’re a little bit more laid back, really high flair, really cool.

L: It’s also relatable to our audience because everybody’s seen these classic movies or they’ve experienced these vibes. So when we put CASANOVA in front of it, it’s creates that sense like we’re attaching ourselves with the media that we are portraying.

A: Yes the easiest way to understand our brand and create a relationship with the type of person that a CASANOVA is that we’re trying to portray on our Instagram.

S: Also, at the end of the day, let’s be real, we want everybody to have a giggle. It’s funny. You watch it and you’re like “oh that’s clever” It keeps things Interesting.

Who inspires you?

S: Oh my God. Difficult question. I would say, and I think I can speak for all of us, I think our inspiration is definitely our family. Our grandparents, our dads, our mothers, we’re such family oriented people. If it wasn’t for them, none of this would be possible. They gave us the support and they gave us the mentality to be strong, disciplined, and driven.

What do you think the future of fashion looks like?

S: Us.

L: [laughs] In a word, yes us.

S: But realistically, the future of fashion is definitely leaning towards streetwear, luxury streetwear specifically. In regions like L.A., you’ll have a little bit more of a laid back flair. Whereas maybe somewhere like Milan or Paris you might have something more tailored, a little slimming, tighter. Also more denim and silk, or different fabrics. That’s where we see the future of fashion going.

A: Yeah I would definitely say that the future of fashion is looking elegant, but comfortable, at the same time. If you look back, everything’s always been rigid and square, which may have to do with what was available to them. But nowadays, we have access to everything, so why not make it look amazing, feel amazing, fit you great, but be comfortable.

King Design x Jessica King and Stories of Arabia

Written by Kaamilah Furqan

LA Fashion week saved the best for last on day 3 of the Fall/Winter ‘19 season. Based on the presentations that night, it is clear that LAFW showcases more than just fashion – LAFW aims to send a deeper message that focuses on the social and cultural impacts on fashion design. The first show of the night featured King Design created by Jessica King. Her presentation made a bold statement that encouraged female empowerment. When describing the inspiration behind her brand, she said, “The brand is all about embodying the confident, independent unapologetic, overall badass woman.”

In addition to the underlying theme of female empowerment, King’s collection was heavily pleather and hardware focused with snakeskin prints and hologram patterns. “I always lean towards a pleather or hardware kind of feel, but I tried to add a little color this time. My tradition is to stick to all black. My aim was to focus on nature and dark colors,” she said when discussing the textiles and colors of her design. Her line incorporated shades of green and was inspired by her obsession with dominatrix outfits. “I like how it [dominatrix] makes a woman look. It makes her look strong and confident, so I like to bring that into a more wearable type of aspect,” she said.

With the rise of the body positivity movement, King Design is definitely making a social impact on the fashion world by breaking society’s beauty standards, encouraging acceptance and instilling confidence in women all over the world. “I know that fashion is a business. But at the end of the day, a woman is not going to go for a brand that doesn’t stand for making a woman feel confident. If a brand doesn’t stand for women that aren’t your traditional runway beauty, then I don’t think fashion should be a business for you,” she said.

King’s initial interest in fashion design was driven by her passion for empowering and uplifting women. According to King, “I was always an artist in the sense that I always drew, painted, sketched, etc., but one day I started paying more attention to my clothes and how I dressed. I realized how pretty and confident I would feel in a dress or garment and I thought, ‘Wow I really want to bring this [feeling] to other women.’ I wanted to be able to create my own designs.”  

Ultimately, the goal of Kings’ brand is to bridge the gap between design and female empowerment. The King Design motto: “I don’t aim to dress women to make them feel just pretty or elegant. I aim to make them feel confident, like an emotion, rather than just a physical type of feel,” she said.

The night transitioned from couture to culture, as the following shows, entitled Stories from Arabia, featured designs heavily influenced from Moroccan and Dubai culture. The second show showcased elegant and embellished designs created by Gianni Ricci, who brought the style, colors and jewelry of Morocco and the Sahara Dessert, to Los Angeles with her own modern twist. The collection displayed gowns and robes with gold, sequin and floral embellishments.

Ricci further details the inspiration behind her line: “Pour cette collection de la Fashion Week LA, j’ai fais un voyage au fin fond du Maroc pour trouver la perle rare et la touche antique spécialement marocaine fine et immortelle et vraiment j’étais comblée de voir la richesse du savoir faire des marocains. Je me suis inspiré de tout cela et j’ai fait cette magnifique collection que j’ai nommé reine de Sahara.”

Translation: “For this collection of LA Fashion week, I took a trip to the depths of Morocco [the Moroccan villages] to find the rare pearls and be in touch with the fine and immortal Moroccan antiques and really I was fulfilled to see the wealth of know-how of the Moroccans. I was inspired by all of this and I made the beautiful collection that I call, Queen of the Sahara.”

The last show of the night emphasized Dubai culture, as the collection featured modest looks made with satin, silk, and tulle materials. Beautifully embroidered Caftans, Hijab garments, pantsuits and gowns were displayed on the runway. These designs, created by Hessa Al Hemel, were inspired by the warm tones of the sunsets in the Middle East as well as the architecture of Arabic houses.

A key detail that her collection displayed was the Arabic word “حب,” which means love. This embroidery stemmed from one of Al Hemel’s favorite quotes, “.هناك دائما حب وراء الأبواب” which translates to, “There is always love behind doors.” According to Al Hemel, “This means a lot to me because where there is love, there is life.”

Al Hemel further describes Arabic culture and the characteristics of Arabic women: “In Arabic culture, the woman loves what she wears, respects what she wears and knows how to show off the pieces she wears,” she said.

Al Hemel created her line to be worn for every occasion, even in the comfort of your home. Although she does not have a background in fashion, she has a strong passion for the field. “I didn’t study fashion, but this [fashion] is my talent. This is what I love,” she said.

Day 3 of LAFW was a night of captivating collections that brought social impact and cultural influence to design. The fantastic patterns, show stopping designs and bold statements truly were inspiring and a perfect way to close out the week. The Fall/Winter ‘19 season is one that you don’t want to miss.