By Robin Rowe
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 10/17/07 — “My collection is based on the vision that captures the American lifestyle culture for rap, pop, and rock n’ roll!” says designer Christian Audigier. His spring 2008 line has a chic military theme of La Vie en Rose, the liberation of France by the American troops in WWII and the fusion of the two cultures.
Audigier brings French exuberance to American clothing in a style that’s often tattoo-inspired. “I’m looking at people in the street for my inspiration,” says Audigier. “I love the color…the styles. I take in simple materials which is beautiful on the body and the runway.”
Although he may look to the street for inspiration, his designs are worn by celebrities like Madonna, Paris Hilton and PDiddy. As we wait to cover the runway show, David Hasselhoff slips by. The room is packed, with guests being turned away by order of the fire marshal.
On the runway, Audigier’s styles are sexy, clingy and comfortable. The signature tight gold pants remind me of James Bond’s Goldfinger. On top over the gold pants is often a silk scarf dress, with a beautiful intricate French design, complimented with a bright colored boa.
A come-hither leopard jacket with a hood clings seductively to the body’s curves over a half corset, tap shorts and garters. A deep V-neck rose dress screams sex. A black leather dress with a gold clef on the back is embellished with fringe that swings jauntily. A skimpy black push-up bra on top has complimenting black bikini undies that peek through transparent white knee-length wrinkled gauze tights. A black cocktail dress rejoices with vibrant red pattern overlays.
There’s a roar of approval from the crowd when a man wearing only camouflage jockey briefs struts the runway. And everywhere there are hats. Some feature with a military theme, whether sailor cap or officer-inspired. The others are simple stylish berets. A leather fly-the-flag cape coat has red stripes and a blue hood. At the conclusion of the sexy French-meets-American-military collection, Christian enters to burst of confetti and wild applause.
“With my own label I don’t follow any trend”, says Audigier as we chat after the show in his office. “I set the trend. This is a lifestyle of French meeting America. I love America. That was my second show. Of course I feel excited. I don’t feel more pressure. I feel more freedom because it’s my name. This is my lifestyle. This is where I live. This is my office where I design.”
His elegant 160,000 square foot office is a far cry from his start in a humble 200 square foot garage. Audigier has flagship stores on Melrose in Los Angeles, New York SOHO, and Miami Beach. He plans to open six more stores before the end of the year.
Audigier has four successful brands: Ed Hardy, Christian Audigier, SMET and Crystal Rock. His styles include women’s tees, hoodies, tanks, tunics, dresses, bags, caps and belts. For men: short sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, and hoodies. Plus footwear for women and men.
Audigier was born in southern France city of Avignon. He left his mark on brands such as American Eagle Outfitters, Diesel, Lee, Levi’s, Liberto, Kookai and Naf Naf. He transformed the unknown apparel company Von Dutch into a world sensation. He elevated the tattoo art of Don Hardy to create Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier, one of the hottest new brands worn by celebrities and by the world. His eponymous street wear line, Christian Audigier, reflects Christian’s French-California perspective on the everyday lifestyle of rock & roll and glamour on the streets of Los Angeles.
Christian Audigier continues to dress the best of film, TV, sports and music. His vibrant colors and exuberant life-affirming attitude brings back the excitement of dressing up without the discomfort. Audigier says his philosophy is, “Don’t stress too much.” He also says, “Just wait for the next one, that show will be even bigger and better!”
Karen Ostlund contributed to this report
Catwalk photography by Lalie Katavazi
Audigier photo by Robin Rowe