L.A. vs N.Y.

Zoom
March 21, 2013

I need your help.

Last night, Christian Dior concluded its world tour of sorts at Maxfield in L.A., celebrating but again Raf Simons’ first ready-to-wear collection for the brand. I was there to witness the celebration and made a point to take mental notes characterizing the caliber of customer mingling in shop. This included well-kept women dressed either in iterations of the clothes on display, denoting a sense of team spirit, or on the opposite end of the spectrum in some form of denim and silk, casually but successfully indicating a note of an informed understanding of fashion–or current trends, at very least. Up against these women was the ground under which they stood, boasting a far more adventurous-than-personally-anticipated selection of the Christian Dior collection on display.

Why hadn’t I seen the ivory blazer that could easily double as a dress and that full, ankle length skirt featuring metallic rosettes anywhere else? Where was the celebration of that pleat work and those sublime acidic greens and yellows and the artistry of the cotton blouses prior to this point? Not in L.A., apparently. But why?

With favorable climatic conditions not only allowing for more interesting, innovative, and suggestive dressing techniques but also eliciting a deeper hunger to experiment, it seems that New York’s landscape suffers in matters of experimentation until our temperatures start rising. After that point, though, I don’t know, it’s time for a reassessment. But I think in coming to L.A. to experience the event (and subsequently learning about our shared propensity for almond milk and that sense of urgency indigenous to our cities but not necessarily swinging across the same sides of our respective pendulums), I may have actually started to figure out this whole L.A./N.Y. dichotomy. And though I’m certainly no Joan Didion, could it be that our violent defensiveness against one another is purely a function of how damn similar we are?

I’m going with yes. Refuting welcome.

Part 3 of 3 in a collaborative series with Christian Dior.

  • http://twitter.com/Highlandista Highland Fashionista

    You’re quite right….familiarity breeds contempt, and so on and so forth….

  • Wind-up bird

    Do you have any thoughts on style variations on a country-wide basis? I know NY and LA are the obvious dominants in the fashion world, but I’d be interested in hearing your opinion on the in-between states (since you did your NM promotions recently). I live in Oklahoma, a place I consider to have an ongoing identity crisis, and it promotes quite a variety of styles to come into existence.
    -Abby

    • Leandra Medine

      Story idea! Can you e-mail me? Info@manrepeller.com

    • Sandi

      Abby, I live here in Oklahoma too, and completely agree with you on the ongoing identity crisis. I couldn’t have found a better way to put it.

    • Loz

      As an australian (outsider I guess) who travelled from LA to NY and settled down I have to say my experience of a lot of the in-between states (namely Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi) was what I call a college driven style. Jeans and promotional tees!

      • Devours

        I’m the same. Born in N.Z, lived in Sydney and now living in San Fran and freaking loving it. A bit of identity crisis sometimes but the glorious difference in culture, beauty, lifestyle and fashion is incredible. I am not a fan of L.A at all. Not as fresh or vivid as you would expect. But hey if you are into the Movies, then it rocks….

  • Julia

    Well being an LA native and only a very infrequent visitor to NY, I personally feel claustrophobic in your concrete jungle, because, well, it really does feel like a jungle to me. Whereas in LA, at least it’s a more spread out jungle and offers up the greenery a jungle might be apt to have. I will say, the fact that you don’t need a car and can still get around in NYC is thrilling to me (even though I can’t figure out the subway for the life of me and ended up getting off in Harlem accidentally)! I do appreciate our commonalities however, like the aforementioned shared propensity toward almond milk, which the middle of the country just wouldn’t understand :)

    • Will Code For Clothes

      I agree with the jungle statement… but LA is like a jungle of cars and smog and aspiring artists.
      I say the only way to escape the jungle and still drink almond milk is move to northern california in the Silicon Valley! San Francisco is where it’s at.

      So much technology here, you’ll die. You’ll also likely the be the most fashionable person you know – which could be a positive or negative depending on the perspective.
      http://willcodeforclothes.com — Silicon Valley Fashion

    • Moi

      Perhaps the next time you visit Harlem, it will not be an accident! https://www.google.com/search?q=schomburg+center&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari

  • http://www.farandwildjewelry.blogspot.com/ abigail lind

    as someone who moved from new york to la (mostly for the almond milk) and then back to new york, i found the major difference (apart from the noted obvious difference on the urgency pendulum) is that people in la will smile to your face and talk shit behind your back and in new york people will talk shit to your face and smile behind your back. and i’m a sucker for both.

    abigail
    http://www.farandwildjewelry.com

    • http://www.prettysparklythings.blogspot.com/ Donna

      Good analysis! I live in PA and have visited NYC a lot. Have also lived in LA. I think that you’re spot on.
      Donna
      Prettysparklythings

    • http://fivenineteenfoto.com/ fivenineteenfoto

      Well, said. I couldn’t have summed it up better. I’m originally from NYC but I lived in Paris before moving here to LA. And, I must say that by living here I’m also reminded of Paris in a way. I think perhaps its because of this nonchalant, sublime devil make care attitude that comes across as that but deep down its more than that. It’s an indefinable drive set by the individual and I find that inspiring. And the Parisians are consistent shit talkers. You know how they feel about you at all times. At least, the ones I know anyway.

      fivenineteenfoto.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/ellie.anderson.54 Ellie Anderson

      That is a brilliantly accurate analysis.

  • Bronte

    Please come to New Zealand, we are in dire need of your help and obviously your opinion!!!!

  • http://www.prettysparklythings.blogspot.com/ Donna

    I’ve lived on the East Coast most of my life, but for 5 years I lived in LA. In general I love both cities, but I’m more of an LA girl. The weather, the semi-laid back vibe, and the fabulous color! The only thing that made me a little resentful of the East Coast was the assumption by a lot of the media that everything should be done in Eastern Time. It seemed like they thought everything had to be done to please the EC. Think of it- the Oscars are held in late afternoon so that they’re on early enough for the EC. All in all, I think some people are more New York in their personality, and others are more LA.
    Donna
    http://Www.prettysparklythings.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/EileenCWang Eileen

    Haven’t lived in either places…I can only comment I really love that Dior dress/coat you wore the other day. I also really love the new Dior. There is a cleaness/freshness to it that I find timeless.

  • http://twitter.com/Vintagegal1590 Katie Gettel

    I live in Wisconsin and whether I wear Isabel Marant or Celine no one seems to point it out. We had one fashion night out here last year but around here the fashion world is in Chicago. I guess its not all that stylish to wear winter coats most of the year. I want to work in fashion eventually but I don’t want to move to LA or NYC. I’m a Midwestern girl. This post was excellent! Love your blog- I’m obsessed!

  • Natalie

    Woah that stores looks awesome!!
    Xx
    http://anoddgirl.blogspot.com.au

    • Lindsey via Vegas

      Btw, Maxfield’s is awesome….it has all of the stuff you thought existed in dreams. But, the sales staff followed my friend and I like we didn’t belong. Then they referred us to their “discount store.” Nice. Classy. Funny, never treated that way back east

      • busun

        where is their “discount store”

  • Mona

    1) I wear too much black to live in LA, I hate casual pink bunny velours sweatpants. 2) As Persian-French-American that has real nose and boobs, I was a one-of-kind in LA: who keeps their ethnic nose there? Paris yes, LA no.

    NYC did not work for me in the long run with little mini-mes.
    Cognitive dissonance is the only way not to recognize the irony of the self-imposed misery of NYers (cabs change shift during rush hours, bedbugs, noise and who cares about the clubs and about Brooklyn). I lived there and I return often for the glory of the MoMA and Tribeca shopping but until I find a few dozen of millions dollars to afford a one bedroom, I am happily exiled in my favorite European version of the US between Cambridge and Concord MA.

  • Shula

    Leandra what was in that SWAG BAG? Did you score an extra to do a sweeps with your loyal followers?

  • Lust Covet Desire

    As a bicoastal myself, I always feel that getting “dressed up” have two different meanings in LA and NYC. Dressed up in LA means you’re going to a club most likely and wearing some sort of Herve Leger knock-off. New York girls rarely use the term “dressed up.” That’s how I see it.

  • http://twitter.com/bulkmarketplaz1 bulkmarketplaza

    Whoa loved these shoes..:)

    kiddicare

  • Mary Pham

    Love this! And I believe you would love what we have in-store at Spaces and Gems. Check us out: spacesandgems.bigcartel.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/izzzzzzzzyyyyy Izzy Cole

    I don’t find NY and LA fundamentally similar at all. When I moved from NY to California I felt like I was in a different universe. People in CA walk slower, talk slower, act like they’ve known you your entire life and will never say to your face what they’re really thinking. The clothes are brighter and more rrevealing. I prefer NYC aggressive to California’s passive aggressive any day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1605043113 Irene Colzi
  • Lindsey via Vegas

    I agree with Izzy Cole and Abigail… (about the talking shit behind your back LA ppl do).

    I am from Detroit originally and live currently in Las Vegas. This is like LA 2.0. (nice to your face, slow crappy driving, etc). I prefer the honesty that exists in Detroit, and NYC. Funny, my friends that are from other cities are from NYC. I do love your blog and it does make me home sick… for style, leather and fun edgy clothes (like a spiked jacket) that ppl understand and don’t think you want to be their friend or you want them to touch. I hate the LA asses that invade my current town.

  • Nataliechristina

    Oh my gosh I’d love one if the goodie bags!!!
    http://Www.agoodiebag.blogspot.com

  • Manu
  • Paulina

    I guess it is good that such a dychotomy exists. Nor have I been in LA, neither in NY – I must visit both!

    http://restlessblonde.blogspot.com/

  • The Provoker

    OMG even their store display is gorgeous and so well thought out. The concrete clashw ith the glass and the soft clothes inside is stunning! <3 If you fancy over-sized coats, then you've gotta check out my new
    textured over-sized Viktor & Rolf runway coat (got in on sale of
    course, phew! lol) accompanied with provoking color-block accessories.
    Tell me just how provoked you are! ;P

    xx The Provoker
    http://www.the-provoker.com/2013/03/around-color-block.html

  • http://twitter.com/LocalAndOpulent Lesley O.

    Love all of these LA vs. NY comments. Hilarious! At the end of the day, NY wins out because you don’t need a car to get anywhere. Both great cities for fashion!

    A new review of the Mackage 2013 runway show from World MasterCard Fashion Week is up on Local & Opulent. If you like leather jackets, stylish coats or insanely cool handbags, this is not to be missed!

    http://localandopulent.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/mackage-fall-2013/

  • http://twitter.com/VVHATIF_ VV H A T I F

    the facade of the store is A VV E S O M E !

  • http://www.fashionsnag.com/ Fashion Snag

    I haven’t been to Los Angeles or New York so I can’t really comment on either, but I hope to one day. I have known people from California though and I agree with the person below me about how LA people smile in your face and talk shit behind your back. In New York I like that people just tell it the way it is.

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

  • Kholá Waddy-Jones

    I was just in LA and much prefer it to NYC. Although I do love NYC, LA just has a more relaxed, less judgmental vibe to it. At least to me.

    http://www.kholaskloset.blogspot.com

  • Greta Garbo

    Ironically, Maxfield is just about the least LA thing in LA. If they were going for local authenticity, Dior should have done the launch at Kitson and invited Courtney Stodden instead of you…

    The fact that there was no relevant LA-based style blogger to invite speaks volumes. Can you imagine Rumi Neely wearing Dior and not looking like she’s playing dress up in mom’s closet?

    • sdd

      I was thinking the same thing! Maxfield is not exactly a representation of Los Angeles.

  • http://twitter.com/leonamizrahi Leona Mizrahi

    YOU’RE HERE! Finally. Welcome to the Left Coast. Are you staying? You’re welcome for Shabbat in something they call ‘The Valley’ or I call ‘The S.O. (Sherman Oaks) – we’ll talk Dior, Didion + Dries… and matzah!

  • Aubrey Green

    I haven’t been to New York, so can’t make a comment about that – but what about the fact that a lot of the people that live in LA, aren’t in fact from LA, is it the same in New York? Is it just about where you live, verses where you are from, so LA the city, the ground, the etc are what make you talk shit behind some one’s back, or is it in fact just that those people are in fact assholes from all over the place? I am really curious anyone’s thoughts and no I am not trying to sound like an asshole, or say that LA is better, or that LA doesn’t in fact cause people to become assholes, cause frankly that is partially true.

  • Joseph

    I was born and raised in downtown Los Angeles. I left once I turned 18 because I really hated it. New York was out of the question, so I went to the next best thing, SAN FRANCISCO.

  • carly tati

    I think you could find what you’r looking for in either city. For me, NYC always wins. There’s just more coolness per square foot:) Carlytati.com

  • Mariah

    They may be essentially similar as cities, but personalities seem wildly different to me. NY is a busy place in the cold Northeast while LA, although a very business oriented city, seems more relaxed as it’s in southern, sunny California. The styles of fashion are totally different. People experiment in both cities, but in different ways. NY is more classic and LA is more modern (style wise that is). They have people within them that break that idea, but overall, they seem to fit it.

  • diane

    I have lived on both coasts for the better part of my life (with brief stints in Colorado and Montana–talk about fashion badlands!). The style vibe on the west coast is as easy breezy as the weather, which is more to my liking at this stage in my life. But I enjoy the fashion opportunities that abound in the City whenever I visit (and in other cities like Paris). San Francisco, where I have also lived, has its own fashion finds, but the best of all might be Santa Barbara, so close to LA but so far away in terms of natural beauty and bad-ass boutiques, to boot!

  • SarahMia

    I totally agree with Abigil. I lived in LA for over 30 years. (Originally from East Coast. ) Moved to Connecticut over one year ago, and I am so happy to be back where I feel like I belong. I would take the cold weather anyday of the week over living there. New Englanders are great! They say “hi” to you even if they don’t know you. Will even hold the door open for you! :-). I could go on and on….

  • esssy

    I live in New Zealand (with almond milk), and have spent a bit of time in both cities. Of course both have their obvious merits, and both drive me bonkers, but I would take the people in NY over LA any day of the week. And probably the city too. Weather and surfers can only make up for so much, and insincerity runs deep in so-cal.

  • Makota

    love that architecture<3

  • vittoria gallacci

    Beautiful location! It reminds me the “house on the waterfall” by Wright, super magical.

    Vittoria from 5 IN THE MORNING

    http://vittoriafiveinthemorning.blogspot.it/

  • http://twitter.com/GoSocialist Socialist

    Yes. LA/NY are like sisters. Although, very different, they come from the same seed. Weather, space, entertainment capitol of the world vs. weather, tight quarters & the coast where it all began. As a Los Angeles native I could never live in NY year round BUT I would die to call it my second home.

    http://www.gosocialist.com

  • Fabita Punk

    Everywhere has its ups and downs..

  • Summer

    New York has absolutely everything when it comes to fashion. Every person in this fabulous city is unique and every person’s style is unique. No one here is afraid to be bold. There is something for everyone. This city is perfect.

  • Chicspace/Marguerite

    I’m always dismayed by the comments about LA (where I live and have for most of my life, although I was born/raised in the SF Bay Area and went to college in upstate NY). I know the plastic-y fake culture exists here, and the NYC is the epicenter of US fashion, but the LA I know has nothing to do with the reality-show Hollywood culture. Having been to NYC many times, I’m always walking faster/talking faster/thinking faster than NYers. My fashion wardrobe ranges from Parisian-inspired to boho to good old jeans-and-a-tee, but never has included a track suit. The stereotype that NY has of LA both embarrasses me and befuddles me, because that’s just not what I see. And yet, that tiny bit of NorCal in me makes it hard to defend LA fully :). Then again, THANK GOD I don’t live back in the Bay Area, home of polar fleece, hoodies, and hipster sneakers. You know, because that’s all it is there ;)

  • Nicole Zimmerman

    I agree with you on the weather conditions giving much more room for experimental fashion year round. However, next time you come to LA you should visit some other areas besides Maxfield on Melrose/Robertson.
    The real style here exists on the streets in neghborhoods pocketed around the city.
    Stay Chic!