L.A. Designer Raquel Allegra Throws a Brunch PJ Party in Malibu
Lisa Bonet and Langley Fox were among the ladies who lounged around for the designer's spring 2018 presentation.
For her spring 2018 fashion presentation, Los Angeles fashion designer Raquel Allegra chose to throw an intimate "brunch pajama party" at Point Dume, Malibu in the rustic-chic, barn-style home of friends, cinematographer Darek Wolski and his wife Becks Welch Wolski (a stylist who once worked with Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and Anne Hathaway and has recently moved into interior design). Actress Lisa Bonet, model-artist Langley Fox, and musician Grace Potter were among the intimate crowd who brunched on a buffet of mini donuts with psychedelic frosting, fresh fruit, green tea chia pudding, and other goodies catered by Haute Chefs L.A., accompanied by mimosas made with a range of juices.
Of the theme, Allegra said, "I would like to feel that I’m in my pajamas always, because I feel the most comfortable and the most myself that way. I’m not a 25-year-old designer and I’m not a man trying to understand women. I’m dressing from my own experience, wanting to encourage women to feel their most beautiful via their comfort."
Guests and models were dressed in an array of Allegra’s lounge-ready styles in hand-dyed and tie-dyed silk, velvet and linen — many with drawstring waists and sleeves and her signature shredded edging. New this season was a large, arty faded black checkered print that called to mind that Cali style staple, Vans checkerboard sneakers.
"The traditional reference of Cali is always with us; we’re beachy kids!" said Allegra. "That’s why we did this event here today right before New York Fashion Week. I don’t think that people need to subscribe to a formula that everyone has to agree to. Now, more than ever, it’s important to really drive home your own story. And this is our story. These are our people!"
The African word "sankofa," translated as "go back and get it," also served as inspiration, a throwback to Allegra’s African-American studies in college. "I was looking through the archives with one of my teammates and he said, 'Why haven’t you done this fabric for a while?' He pulled some of his favorite pieces and showed me what we did five years ago. As he was talking, this concept came to mind and there’s also an insanely striking  film Sankofa. I said, 'This is what spring is going to be about.' I needed to look back to be reminded of who we were and where we’ve been, so we can even more clearly know where we’re going. In Ghanian tradition, it’s this idea that, to create a stronger present and future, you need to look back into your past."
That translated into resurrecting a printing method. "The first cut-and-sew fabric that I added into the collection after jersey was a leopard-printed linen group; I printed on the underside of the fabric, so the shadow of the print showed through and it looked like a beautiful, worn-in leopard print," said Allegra. "So we took that idea and applied it to a print I’d been wanting to do for a long time, which is basically a photograph of our deconstructed [shredded] fabric. We took the components of that print and took it apart and put it back together again like a puzzle and then put it on a beautiful crinkle chiffon fabric."
Beyond fashion, Allegra introduced a tie-dyed terry beach blanket and a capsule line of hand-tie-dyed sheets and duvet covers in collaboration with Matthew Lenoci’s made-in-L.A. natural bedding, towel and linens brand, Matteo. All will be delivered in February or March to Allegra’s Beverly Grove boutique, alongside the fashion. "It takes a half a day to make one bed set; it’s time-intensive," said Allegra. "We are planning to do home wares so we wanted to stick our big toe into the pool and try it with someone who we really respect in the business, Mateo, and see how it worked. And I think it turned out beautifully."
The living room was decorated with vibrant cushions and slip-covered sofas in prints matching those in the fashion collection; although not for sale, Allegra hinted the items might be next up in her home line, starting with custom designs.
Guests gathered as Paula Ferraro, a Malibu-based music therapist and creator of organic, essential-oil-based skincare line Scents Of Awe, led a sound bath, played guitar and performed a "stream-of-consciousness" song, according to Allegra, offering to "anoint" guests with healing oils. As a riff on a dream catcher, everyone was invited to tie strips of colorful fabric around a cluster of tree branches hanging on a wall next to a sign with instructions to "weave your dream for all to see, to be throughout eternity."
"This is what we need," said Allegra. "We live in fear and we need to move on and be brave. I wanted today to be a celebration of women who could feel a special, united loving towards one another in a community with common elements."