Palm Angels, the Milan-meets-Los Angeles brand owned by New Guards Group, made its Paris runway debut Sunday afternoon. And the door scrum brought to mind early Paris shows for Off-White, another NGG brand.
Lisa Rinna, Jessica Alba and Saint Jhn were among those lighting up camera phones along the packed Rue Cambon as fans jockeyed for a look.
Inside, creative director Francesco Ragazzi was planting a flag in Paris as part of an aggressive expansion plan which involves the elevation of product; more women’s offerings; recent store openings in Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Costa Mesa, California, Paris and Seoul, and the planned launch of a unisex fragrance.
“It was really about elevating streetwear to the max, mixing Parisian bourgeoisie with streetwear.…This was like haute couture for us,” said Ragazzi, noting that it was key to find the right materials and hardware, which was inspired by a private collection of vintage jewelry in L.A.
Ragazzi, who is the former artistic director of Moncler, started Palm Angels in 2011 as a photo project documenting skater culture in L.A. The project became a book, published by Rizzoli in 2014, and the fashion line was launched the following year.
Menswear represents 80 percent of sales, with much of the brand’s success built on logo streetwear, including T-shirts, sweats and bombers, though collaborations with Moncler, Missoni and Vans has helped elevate it in the fashion space.
The fall collection, which included men’s and women’s looks, was another bold move in that direction, starting with a section of refined-looking tailoring, including double-breasted gold-buttoned blazers with streamlined hoodies or hoodie dickies worn underneath, and long lean trousers. Altogether, the look would be sophisticated enough for Rinna to wear to lunch in Beverly Hills.
Glossy black leather pieces (shirt jackets, bombers and trousers pants) also looked like luxe wardrobe staples, while eel skin loafers with palm tree-shaped gold hardware added a West Coast prep touch.
Supersize shearlings, fun faux furs, colorful puffers patch worked with hearts, stars and palm trees, and Juicy Couture-ish velour sets with palm tree embroideries were more casual offerings, including a collaboration with Tod’s on white Tabs sneakers given the Palm Angels treatment
Meanwhile, minidresses with palm tree motifs in devoré velvet, or gold-embroidered mesh charted the beginnings of an evening wear category. The chains for straps, and fringed necklaces layered over chiffon scarves and cardigans added a bit of eclecticism, though that’s something the brand could explore more.
Nevertheless, Ragazzi did a fine job of raising the bar for Palm Angels. It’s not going to set the fashion world on fire just yet, but it’s ready to hang next to other Made in Italy casual luxury players — Marni, Amiri and Diesel among them.