BCALLA's bright new capsule collection drops at all-inclusive soiree
words and photos by Joshua M. Jenkins (@callmefag)
Most runway shows and collection reveals require attendees to have endless clout, a bajillion Instagram followers, or hold some stake in the buying or selling of the brand. As much as I pretend to be Rihanna, I am (sadly) aware that, unlike her, if I walked into NYFW without an invitation, I would likely be tased.
I was surprised and delighted when BCALLA - along with Hardeman, and Jimmy Paul - invited normies like myself to view their capsule / SS19 collections last night at Underpin LA in Los Angeles. Brad Callahan (BCALLA), known for his striking neon spikes, multi-colored bodysuits, and sheer garbs, didn't disappoint in his latest reveal. The show began with a character lying on a sofa, smoking a cigarette, and chatting it up with the bartender - they wore a soft, revealing number which looked like hamburger condiments mixed in a food processor. One by one, wrapped in iridescent yellow poofs and shiny green stems, the host's friends joined the party, each embraced equally and excitedly. I'd expect most people who look this good to be exclusionary, but this was a party I wanted (and felt welcomed) to attend.
J: You’ve been busy lately! Your fans waited with bated breath for last night’s explosive capsule collection. How did it feel to see it come together?
BCALLA: Extremely satisfying especially because there were a lot of pieces in motion so to see it all be so harmonious really calmed a lot of my nerves.
J: What inspired this collection?
BCALLA: I realized I’ve developed certain techniques that drive my design process so I designed the actual garments around those techniques. The prints were inspired by the flower district which is right next to my studio and my cat Mable. I’m a firm believer in using what you have around you :)
J: What message were you conveying in this show?
BCALLA: The concept from the beginning was “kindness not weakness”. While I was searching for music for the show, my partner Leon suggested one of my favorite tracks and music videos Marcia Baila by Les Rita Mitsouko, which made perfect sense and sparked the whole concept for the cocktail party show.
J: The backdrop consisted of bugs being trapped alive by carnivorous plants - yet mounted in an ornate gold frame. My weak stomach almost couldn’t handle it! Whyyyyyy?
BCALLA: I wrote down “kindness not weakness” before I even started sketching and I was trying to search for a visual translation of that - something appealing but dangerous and that’s how I landed on carnivorous plants. I took out the close up of the fly laying maggots but mainly because it didn’t match the color story.
J: Many designers are just now casting trans, queer, and models of color. You’ve done this for ages. Why is this important when showcasing your collections?
BCALLA: I feel that as an American, diversity is our biggest strength - it is at the root of our pop culture and literally what put American fashion on the map with the battle of Versailles. It’s not so much of a political statement as much as that I’m very receptive to beauty, educated in fashion history, and think everyone has an equal right to be a star.
J: It’s been eight months since you and León moved to Los Angeles from New York. What drove the change? How do the two cities compare/contrast?
BCALLA: It’s apples and oranges - I love NYC and did not leave her with bitterness, but I find it’s a lot easier to make my work out here which out weighs any pros or cons.
J: Do you have a favorite restaurant/club/neighborhood in LA so far?
BCALLA: I live in Boyle Heights so I eat all up and down Chavez most of the time, really love Sage [Plant-Based Bistro] as well.
J: What’s next for you? Hopefully a break!!
BCALLA: I hope not! Currently working on more custom orders and already thinking about next season!
Custom orders: firstname.lastname@example.org