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New Los Angeles-based luxury fashion label Laurel & Mulholland wants to be on regular rotation in the wardrobes of music superstars — starting with Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones guitarist (who has reportedly worn a few pieces) is among the inspirations behind the brand that’s a little bit ’70s California canyon country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, with some cowboy cool mixed in for good measure.
Launched last December and exclusively stocked at luxury retailer Maxfield in West Hollywood and online at frwd.com, the women’s and men’s brand (which takes its name from the legendary Hollywood Hills intersection) is the latest venture of fashion designer Shay Todd and music producer and photographer Shiro Gutzie, who have been partners in business and in life since marrying over a decade ago. (The duo met in the mid-’90s while Todd was working at an Italian restaurant on Melrose Avenue: “His opening line was, ‘What’s your name?’ And I said, ‘Shay.’ And he said, ‘Shay, I’m Shiro. Shay and Shiro, we should get married,” says Todd. “And we did.”)
The brand has also been spotted on The Eagles’ Joe Walsh, The Weeknd and Tokio Hotel frontman Bill Kaulitz (whose debut solo album under the moniker Billy was co-produced by Gutzie), the Samurai tunic was worn last month by R&B artist Khalid to Roc Nation’s pre-Grammys brunch and musician twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth donned matching Future Western shirts while performing with Brandi Carlile at the 61st Grammy Awards.
“Stage and performance [rather] than the red carpet” are what Todd had in mind when designing the 58-piece range, she told The Hollywood Reporter, but it seems she has already achieved both. The daughter of influential Hawaiian jazz singer Ethel Azama, Todd fell in love with fashion by way of her mother’s ’70s stage outfits: “She would wear these beautiful, very A Star Is Born three-piece suits and Bob Mackie-style sequined gowns,” she says. “I would love to climb into her closet [before her shows] and see what she would wear that night.”
“We want to have every musician wearing our brand. It’s something that looks like a stage piece without looking costume-y, and you can also wear it out,” adds L.A.-born Gutzie, who directed Kaulitz’s “Love Don’t Break Me” music video and produced the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning Paul Haggis film Crash, among other projects.
Gutzie also envisions Laurel & Mulholland’s edgy-meets-classic suiting “on an agent or an executive and he’ll look very well dressed, or you put it on a young kid with tattoos and he looks rock and roll. It’s a really fine balance.” And he can imagine it on friends such as Brent Bolthouse and jewelry designer Loree Rodkin, who he considers “the O.G. influencers.”
“We’re trying to capture California through our eyes,” he says. “There are a lot of brands and designers out there using the California lifestyle as a canvas, which is great — but we’re locals and we see it a bit differently.”
(The locally made label is a far cry from Todd’s sexy namesake swimwear and resort line worn by Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and other stars, which the duo was also behind and have since exited. “I had evolved so much that I wasn’t even my own customer,” she explains. “It was hard to keep that authentically going.”)
Laurel & Mulholland’s debut spring collection ($400 to $2,400) takes notes from Western wardrobes and ’70s rock legends, as seen in the lace-up tunics and ruffled blouses, a double-buckled vegan leather miniskirt, suede pants with metal studs down the leg, modern-day Doc Holliday-esque jackets, and one very swingy fringe-lined suede cape fit that calls to mind Stevie Nicks or Jimi Hendrix. The brand has also put its rebellious spin (think frayed hems and zipper accents) on Cali-cool staples, including T-shirts, hoodies, sweats, corduroy jeans and denim.
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Several of the silhouettes are available in men’s and women’s versions (a structured mohair-and-wool blazer and the button-down shirt with embellished collar tips), with the menswear offering a more traditional fit and the womenswear featuring slightly longer sleeves, a personal preference of Todd’s when it comes to her own “tomboy”-like clothing.
The designers tapped self-described nonbinary model Terra “TJ” Renegades to front the lookbook, which was styled by Todd and shot by Gutzie, with makeup by friend Davis Factor, founder of Smashbox Cosmetics. In early April, the brand is set to launch its e-commerce site and plans a second collection drop in the next few months. Todd and Gutzie also have plans to land in “the Maxfield of every other country,” and the brand will soon be stocked in Japan, London and Berlin.
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