Friday, August 26th, 2016 was a special night. A week ago today, the LAblld team made their way downtown to help SKINGRAFT celebrate their 10 year anniversary and the launch of their brand new collection PRIMAL. Not only was it special to celebrate designer Jonny Cota's accomplishments over the past 10 years, bringing his avant-garde creations into the mainstream, but with the launch of PRIMAL comes a revitalization into the brand as well as the industry. The timing was perfect for SKINGRAFT celebrate their roots but shift to the future of fashion, becoming direct to consumer and bringing their runway event back to Los Angeles.
The night felt magical, from the decor to the energy of the crowd, the room was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. The stage was set in the historic Federal Reserve building in downtown LA, an intimate gathering of fashion people and friends walked into the space that felt alive. Art installations were set up around the "runway stage," (not your average catwalk) to represent the 10 year journey of SKINGRAFT and goodies from LA's own pie eatery, Pie Hole, were surrounded with fall berries, fruits, and candles. The dimly lit room had a very autumn appeal that felt in stark contrast with SKINGRAFT's futuristic aesthetic. in the center of the room was the circular runway, once everyone was seated, the bright flash of lights lit the stage for a group of dancer/models to present the collection. Choreographed by Danny Dolan, the vibe goes back to ancient, tribal representation in a futuristic way, PRIMAL, if you will. A few of our favorite stand out pieces were the oversized, white oxford shirt with cut out leather leggings, an oxblood monochromatic military jacket and pants, and the black poncho with white stripes. From the music, the energy, to the choreography, it was a night we will not soon forget and gives us high hopes for the LA Fashion industry and the industry as a whole.
We were lucky enough to catch up with designer, Jonny Cota, fresh off the runway to get a few words about his career, his inspirations, and of course, his muse.
Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary and your launch of PRIMAL!
What was the inspiration behind the collection, especially making this collection direct to consumer and seasonless?
Well, since its our 10 year anniversary, we thought it was perfect timing to go full circle and back to the root inspiration of the brand. The root inspiration is kind of ancient and tribal, prints, shapes and aesthetics and so we always mix that with something very modern and very future. This time [the collection] has a lot of motocross and leather sportswearmixed with the tribal markings. So it's kind of like back to our root for this, since we are relaunching the brand as direct to consumer, its like 'lets go back to our strongest vision of ourselves,' and this was exactly that.
Amazing. Do you see the fashion industry as a whole moving in that direction?
I do, I see it shifting and I know its something we've desired to do for a while and this season felt like the perfect opportunity to do that. It felt like the timing really worked out for us and the industry is very warm to that right now. So I think it's the perfect timing.
Definitely. Throughout your 10 years, what has been one of your favorite experiences?
Ay yie yie. I guess my first New York Fashion Week show (2012), I had that whole new American designer [experience], arriving there and coming out at the end and everyone was clapping, I was like all about composure and I had an ugly cry moment as soon as I got back off the runway.
But it was like one of those big things as a young designer, but after 5 or 6 seasons, I was ready for something different. So it feels great to come back home, we are three blocks away from our store, these are our friends, our people, this is our tribe, so it feels good!
Absolutely! You have a huge celebrity clientele, is there someone you consider a muse?
Actually one of my muses, I've never dressed! My ultimate muse is Grace Jones.
I mean, of course! Are you going to her show on Sunday (at FYF Fest 2016)?
Yes, of course! (Laughs) But I haven't dressed her yet. But the SKINGRAFT brand has evolved to become more wearable over the years, and maybe its not for Grace Jones, but her as a muse keeps me wild in my design, keeps me on the path to be like, don't get too conventional. If she's a muse, that keeps you always moving, keeps it fun, keeps it wild.
Article and Interview by Mischa Teichgraeber
Follow SKINGRAFT at: www.skingraftdesigns.com/