LA Designer Greg LaVoi Revives House of Irene
Written by Diane Lieu / Photography by Kai He
Often times, American fashion houses fall prey to the quiet deaths. Unlike their European cousins, they don’t often go into redux with a big name designer at the helm. This was not the case with American Fashion House of Irene, the iconic American costume designer of the 30′s, 40′s, 50′s and 60′s. Her creations, known to be beautiful and well-crafted, were worn by the likes of Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers and Doris Day. Lauded for beautiful cuts that accentuated female figures that turned heads, Irene pieces are prized vintage collector’s treasures. They were dubbed “California Elegance” by British Vogue; a true accomplishment. Unfortunately, she died at age 62 feeling rather forgotten by Hollywood. Fortunately, the fashion world welcomed her influence in the house’s re-launch for Fall 2013. Now under direction of Hollywood costume designer Greg LaVoi, whose crafty blend of understated classics and chic modern look gives his designs a certain glow, they made their way down the runway at the Kyoto Gardens Rooftop here in Little Tokyo. From the 50′s style slim pencil skirts in soft colors resembling Monet’s palette to the intricate lattice details, his collection felt like a dreamy stroll through a mid-century garden. Irene’s couture standards are seemingly safe in the hands of LaVoi who started as a sketch artist for Bob Mackie before designing the wardrobes of country music superstars and A-list celebrities. This re-launch sustains an American art form with much history and thankfully creates a demand for further revival of American luxury fashion houses.