New York State of Dress

The "sexless sack" dress exists no more as three top Big Apple entertainment players discuss how the style divide between the two coasts is closing in.
Miller Mobley

The off-red-carpet style of Los Angeles long has been considered second-rate compared to the sartorial sophistication of New York City -- particularly by New Yorkers. And the reputed contrast was even more pronounced when it came to power dressing. But Rachael Horovitz, the Manhattan-based producer of Moneyball and About Schmidt, is convinced L.A. has caught up.

"I genuinely think the style standard has risen in L.A. in the past five years. It's like they finally discovered chic!" says Horovitz. "L.A. was always considered more casual, but it's the reverse for the entertainment business -- the bigger office culture in L.A. accounts for women looking more pulled together."

Brillstein Entertainment Partners manager Stacy O'Neil (clients include Rachel Weisz and Amy Adams) believes that high-fashion shopping websites like Net-a-Porter have helped to bridge the gap and make it "one world." But the factors that aren't subject to change -- differences in climate, the fact that New York is a fashion capital and that Los Angeles' big-studio office environment requires a more buttoned-up exec -- mean industry players on both coasts will never quite meet in the fashion middle.

"While some of the cliches about New York women wearing edgy black while their L.A. peers dress down in bright, floaty boho are shifting, there is still a difference," agrees Sarah Barnett, executive vp and general manager of Sundance Channel.

And just like in L.A., New York women are breaking with convention. "The sexless sack uniform made famous in the '90s is definitely out," says Christian Freedom, a personal sales stylist at Barneys New York's Manhattan store. Freedom cites Lanvin, Alaia and Celine as labels his clients -- Broadway producers, entertainment lawyers and TV personalities -- are wearing for day and evening dressing.

So do the ladies dress differently when they're on the West Coast? Horovitz says, "I used to, but when I became a grown-up, I stopped."

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THE NEW YORK POWER WARDROBE

  • Cool Labels: Zero Maria Cornejo, Marni, Victoria Beckham
  • Favorite Staples: J.Crew, A.P.C.
  • Street Edge: Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant and Rick Owens
  • High-Fashion: Lanvin, Azzedine Alaia and Celine
  • Must-Have Accessories: Hermes handbag, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik heels, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier jewelry
  • Eveningwear: Prada, Stella McCartney, Julio Espada and Peter Pilotto
  • Stores: Barneys New York, Saks, Bergdorfs, Nili Lotan in Tribeca, Kirna Zabete in Soho and Jil Sander