Wolk Morais Taps Into Midcentury California Cool for Runway Show

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Wolk Morais Collection 7

The L.A. design duo also referenced fashion's his-and-her dressing trend in their collection presented Tuesday night at the Jeremy Hotel in West Hollywood.

"Morgan and Cole are actually boyfriend and girlfriend in real life," designer Brian Wolk said backstage, pointing out two models dressed in his-and-her jacquard suits patterned after California pottery. "We try to have fun always," he added, before he and Claude Morais presented their latest Wolk Morais runway show Tuesday night at the Jeremy Hotel in West Hollywood.

After six seasons, the transplanted New York designers' enthusiasm for exploring every facet of the Los Angeles lifestyle past and present hasn't waned. You only have to look at their latest inspiration, the midcentury "California Cool" art movement, to see that.

"We delved into fine arts, looking at all the women painters who migrated to L.A. like Helen Lundeberg and Tamara de Lempicka, who had such a strong sense of architecture and geometry in their paintings," explained Wolk of the color-block dresses and graphic suits, designed "as if we were building sculptures." 

"At the same time, we tried to maintain the relaxed ease of all the painters and jazz musicians who were rebelling against the rigidity of the East Coast," he added. So naturally, the designers showed their own version of the men's shorts suit that caused a sartorial stir this season, thanks to LeBron James and his NBA Cavaliers team.

Tuesday also marked the opening of the brand's new shop-in-shop at Fred Segal Sunset, now featuring the brand's Collection 6, which was worn by Jessica Chastain during the Cannes Film Festival, styled by Elizabeth Stewart, who is Wolk Morais' secret weapon, also styling all their shows. 

Building on the gender-bending style of Collection 5 shown last spring at Hollywood landmark Yamashiro, they offered suits tailored in the same fabrics for men and women, which could make for a cute statement for a couple on the red carpet. Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson, perhaps?

But the evening's biggest statement may have been Morais' own political one, commenting on the fallout from President Donald Trump's trade tariffs on American businesses. Underneath his suit jacket, the designer wore a Harvey-Davidson T-shirt.