LA at a glance seems vapid at best. Movie stars with purse dogs, overly blond athletic men and women, juice bars and cleanses, power luncheons and a cadre of meandering, very lost tourists. One would never think that there is a massive and newly booming fashion industry and art collective in the land of twinkling stars and tinsel.
With the established Style Fashion week twice a year, the celebrity clientele, the art/runway shows, and Santee fashion district in DTLA, it’s beyond booming, it’s a massive industry on the West Coast demanding attention. Showcasing names like Rodarte, Band of Outsiders, Betsey Johnson, Rebecca Minkoff LA, and James Perse has brought an influx of ex-NY artists and designers to the palm dotted coast.
Being a stylist and writer leads you unbelievable places and doing surreal things. One of these was to the heart of Bohemian Society’s headquarters, and Victor Wilde’s kitchen. I had spoken with his amazing PR people on the phone, and they agreed to do a clothing pull for a charity shoot I was working on. Then they suggested I interview Victor Wilde, the creative director and designer of The Bohemian Society, while I was there.
Never look a gift horse in the mouth, instead run with it.
Victor Wilde is the head fashion designer of The Bohemian Society. The Bohemian Society in the last 10 years, boasts a celebrity clientele, dressing supermodels and musicians and is distributed in several high-end Los Angeles boutiques, and worldwide through ASOS.
In his downtown LA loft, you can see his influences. Modern art, recycled and eco sustainable materials, with a heavy Japanese influence. When I asked about it, he admitted he’d, “been to Japan 7 times.” Being a traveler was the key to bonding with Victor. We talked about travel, the international influences on design, and I asked about his background fashion.
Victor Wilde grew up in a fast paced NYC in Brooklyn. “Growing up East Coast you have to be cool.” In Brooklyn that is no small feat. “Kids judge you by what you wear, how you look”, he said, and you have to ‘grow some balls’ quickly. Victor had a better eye than most at a young age for fashion, and in Jr. High School he was voted best dressed. Not bad for a young man barely emerging from his adolescence.
Being young and fashionable was not the only reason Victor progressed in his field. “People said I should to be in fashion. I started dating a model; she was working for one of the biggest wholesale/retailers at the time. People would come in to the store, and she would buy their clothes and sell them, and I thought, I can do better than that. I thought of The Bohemian Society.”
Unlike most designers Victor had no fashion or design background. He admitted, “I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I started creating t-shirts, and within two weeks, she was showing my clothes in the window.”
Yet, Victor Wilde is an artist and his true love is artistic performance. I asked about the part of fashion he loved most and what he was moving towards. ‘(I love) the showiness, and the performance part of it.” His latest projects include working with the insanely talented Swedish film maker Jonas Akerlund, and albino supermodel Shaun Ross (Lana Del Rey’s ‘Tropico’, Katy Perry’s ET), on the ‘Beauty Defined’ project.
In Akerlund’s last installment, the video explains how unique difference is always right, and others degrading natural and odd beauty were wrong. Supermodel Shaun Ross narrative is about his beauty while visually Ross parades through a throng of tourists on Hollywood blvd., in Bohemian Society couture.
This is a theme in Victor’s continuing vision for The Bohemian Society as well. With the fashion industry being a multimedia animal, this creates the perfect platform for Victor Wilde to create and produce his art. A vision of showing & creating, raw beauty.
“My next collection will be highly based on interviews with people without any clothes. I paused, ”That’s actually really brilliant. I mean if you are going to get the bare truth…”.
Part of that is Victor’s choice to use and re-use eco-sustainable good’s. I noticed that the loft is decorated with vintage pieces of clothing, art and random finds. His Spring/Summer 2014 collection was made primarily out of the most amazing, ethereal looking WWII parachute material. How did it start and why use it?
“The recycled stuff I couldn’t afford stuff so my girlfriend and I would go out and steal vintage clothing and remake it”. I went to college in North Carolina and then moved to NY and became and performance artist. He explained he used what he had around him in art and design.
I asked if being eco-friendly was an important ‘part of his personality’. “Yes, it reflects part of who I am. I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life by choice. As child I refused to eat meat. My Mom actually used to chase me around the kitchen with chicken and beef”. Being an ex-East Coaster myself, there was much discussion about the horrors of East Coast unhealthy living.
As we speak more, he admits his most recent project was costuming an opera. Not the traditional kind of course, but a rock opera. “I was there for about a week. It played at a festival so it played only one day. “Really?”, I ask, “Yes, it was in Miami, but next year it’s in Brooklyn.”
His current collection for The Bohemian Society’s Fall/Winter collection 2014? “It’s named Wild at Heart. It’s Victor Wilde. A reflection of me, influenced by the Movie (“Wild at Heart” by David Lynch) and it’s sexy, and androgynous. “
Androgyny brings to mind Bowie immediately and we talk over coffee about that, music, Tim Curry and more art. As far as I can tell, Victor Wilde is an artist, a designer, a costumer, a performer and a multimedia mad genius.
When I asked what he wanted to work on, “Anything that interests me”.
It seems with all of his interests, world domination may not be out of the picture.
Keep an eye out for The Bohemian Society’s Fall/Winter 2014 line online and in stores. Bohemian Society is carried at;
-The Bohemian Society (http://www.thebohemiansociety.com/collections/all)
-The Church Boutique in West Hollywood (http://www.churchboutique.com/)