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On Friday, April 26, Johnson Hartig will debut the fall 2019-2020 collection from his Hollywood-based brand Libertine at the historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. The decision to show in his hometown comes after years of presentations since launching the brand in 2001.
“We felt like the energy in New York isn’t what it used to be,” Hartig tells The Hollywood Reporter. “About a year ago, we started talking about doing things here in Los Angeles and it just seemed right. I’m a native Angeleno — it feels really good to be representing.”
When it comes to inspiration, the designer notes, “There’s always a little Los Angeles in everything I do. I live here, so inspiration comes from small minute moments to grand strokes.”
The latest iteration of a collaboration with the Jimi Hendrix Estate is also set to debut during the show. “We did a few pieces,” Hartig says. “He’s a rock ‘n’ roll fashion icon. It’s always exciting to work in that realm.”
The project is not Hartig’s first to honor the late musician. In November, Authentic Hendrix and Libertine partnered to release a limited-edition unisex shirt that boasted inspiration from the Electric Ladyland album and also marked the chart-topper’s 50th anniversary.
With a focus on exuberant pattern and detail, Hartig’s arty designs are known for their sparkling embellishments, eye-popping graphics, screen printing and embroidery and have attracted a diverse fan base including Jimmy Fallon, Bette Midler, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Celine Dion, Heidi Klum and Justin Bieber. Skai Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ frontman Anthony Kiedis and Now Apocalypse’s Avan Jogia have been among the front-row guests at recent New York Fashion Week showings.
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Libertine’s homecoming fashion show follows a slew of designers who have previously set their sights on the West Coast, including Naeem Khan, Rodarte, Rachel Zoe, Tommy Hilfiger, Jeremy Scott, Tom Ford and Christian Cowan.
With a growing focus on Los Angeles from the design community and beyond, Hartig tells THR that he has observed the rapid transformation of the city and aesthetically hopes for the best.
“I feel like there are issues in Los Angeles that are alarming to me, like this construction going on on every block with no apparent oversight,” he says. “Do any of these designs have to be approved? Ten years from now, these buildings could look like crap, and we could be living in a horrible state. The whole state of politics is a great inspiration for me right now, and it has been for the last several years.”
Maybe a hint of designs to come?
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