Milestones | 1998 - 2005 | We're An American Brand
A New Era with Dreams Fulfilled, Runway Hits, Near Fatal Car Crashes and Expansion
THE YING AND I
TWIST OF FATE
U.S. Event Producer, John Arguelles, meets Lloyd Klein on his return from the Cannes Film Festival. Arguelles agrees to scout for opportunity for Lloyd Klein and his brand in the U.S. market. The meeting led to the John Arguelles eventual full-time position as Executive Brand Director within 6 months. Nearly 18 years later, he continues to work in partnership with Lloyd as the company's Exectuive Director. Read the facinating story of how it all started - MORE
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Fashion Eponym No. 4
November 07, 1999
HOLLYWOOD MEETS FASHION ON RODEO DRIVE
TRIBUTE TO STYLE
Lloyd Klein makes print with his first personal appearance on the "white carpet". The occasion is the Rodeo Drive Tribute to STYLE gala event. It was co-produced by his new business partner, John Arguelles. The Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic gushed over the ensemble his escort wore from his Surrealism collection, saying:
"Paris model Nina Dafni turned heads in a Lloyd Klein gray flannel gown with a train that cocktail waiters couldn't help stepping on. Her wide-rimmed black hat was, 'tres chic and 'oh so Old Hollywood'. Klein is a Paris couturier who lives here now part time. "I would love L.A. to be the center of fashion," he said. "There is so much energy here."
November 09, 1999 | BOOTH MOORE | TIMES STAFF WRITER
LAUNCHED IN LUXURY
STYLE PALM BEACH
Lloyd Klein was invited to stage his collection on the runway, as the Featured Designer, to open STYLE Palm Beach. It was an extraordinary event created to showcase fine jewelry, fashion and an array of luxury lifestyle goods. It was grand in every way including it's physical size which included a series of 5 white gabled tents that stretched the size of two football fields. It was impressive!
The Lloyd Klein collection consisted of 16 concisely edited looks for Fall 2000. It not only was well received, it took Palm Beach by storm. As a result, the company was invited to partner for it's first, of several, extraordinary trunk shows, held at Martha Phillips. It was the most influential of all retail doors in South Florida. Martha's CEO,“Miss Lynn" Manulis, and her mother, "Miss Martha" Phillips, are widely credited for having launched and nurtured numerous high-profile European and American fashion designers. Iconic artists like Carolina Herrera, Valentino Garavani, Bill Blass, and Halston, are just a few of the eponymous names, on a very long list, that reads like the "who's who" of fashion design. Miss Martha worked retail until she was 98 years old and Miss Lynn closed her doors in 2003 and a year later at 85, she joined "Mama". Her legacy includes having been instrumental in becoming teh bridge between high society lients and teh designers for whom they became patrons. Learn more about Miss Martha and Miss Lynn and find out why the NY Times affectionately referred to them as the Doyennes of Couture.
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Fashion Eponym No. 5
THE INC. GETS INKED
Lloyd Klein Couture officially transitioned to the United States and set up its headquarters in Los Angeles, California. John Arguelles became an equity partner in the U.S. operations. His new title is President of the Couture Division.
NEW YORK FASHION WEEK SS 2001
The momentum from the success of the Palm Beach appearance and trunk shows at Martha's became the impetus to bring the collection to a larger audience. The Lloyd Klein Couture Spring 2001 collection came to the American press in the tents of New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. For this season and debut appearance in New York the collection was all about head to toe jewel tones with a definite dominant pink streak. The tropical storm that drowned New York let up just in time for Nikki Hilton to walk the runway as the Bride for the final exit with Lloyd was fantastic. Visit the Spring 2001 runway page for more.
Think Pink SS2001
The Tents as Bryant Park - New York Fashion Week
The Meet Secretely in Montmartre FW 2001/02
The Tents as Bryant Park - New York Fashion Week
September 11, 2001
Lloyd Klein and John Arguelles sat waiting patiently and in silence, each with mulitple conversations taking place in their own minds. They were meeting in the normally quiet and elegant lobby area of the Hôtel Plaza Athénée on 64th Street in the upper east side of Manhattan. The Events Director was already 20 minutes late, although they had arrived exactly on time. In three days, they would hold their fashion show on the calendar of New York Fashion Week in the hotel's elegant dining room. When the representative from the hotel finally showed up almost 40 minutes late, the two men were extremely anxious and the urge to lash out at her was tempting.
Lloyd always has a few must-haves that are important from the standpoint of artistic direction with each of his runway shows. Seating is always something that stays at the top of the list not only with regard to seating charts and who will be assigned on the front row, but the actual seat is part of the detail that is given great consideration. For this intimate show planned for 80 top clients and journalists, not much was needed for decor. It was already a turnkey venue and the layout and interior appointments were perfect for his collection for Spring 2002. However, the one thing that he wanted, that woud have to be obtained from outside of the venue were the little golden chairs, (known as the Chiavari), that were omnipresent at most runway events in Paris. It was something that would make the presentation a success, in his mind. It was extremely important that they have them in time for the show. It was important.
When the coordinator showed up she had a panicked look on her face. John and Lloyd assumed that she had a bit of terror showing becasue of her tartiness. Just as she said the words, "I am so glad you are OK, I wondered where you were staying to try to reach you since cell phones are not working apparently." Lloyd looked at her like she was scatterbrained and interrupted her apology and said "I am very upset with you and I am feeling like we've made a big mistake by booking your property for our event. I don't have the patience right now for this so let's get moving because I am leaving in 5 minutes, so start taking notes." She replied "but Mr. Klein surely you must know that we have had a lot to deal with since we are now out of rooms and no one is able to check out because all the flights are cancelled and no one can leave Manhattan because of the attacks here and we jsut heard that the Pentagon has now been hit with an explosion." Lloyd turned to John and said, "John, I am going to the showroom to get started this woman is making me dizzy. Why do I have to hear about Penta and what does it mean, she's gone? I dont give a damn about where were Penta went. Just get me my golden chairs. I don't like the energy here." John turned to her and said, "I'm confused, what happened with the Pentagon and what bombs are you talking about?" As if she were seeing a ghost she replied, "Oh my gosh, you don't realize what has been going on this morning do you? Gentlemen, the United States is being attacked and passenger jets are crashing left and right. It appears that we are at war but still trying to find out with whom"...
When they heard the news that New York and potentially the country was under attack, it didn't really make sense to them. She informed them that under the circumstances the event on the calendar for the following Friday was effectively cancelled. They thought that somehow whatever this bomb or explosion was, it surely would be an old item in the news by Friday, after all it was only Tuesday.
They found themselves trying to talk the concierge into reinstating their booking...of course to no avail. The two left the venue wondering where they would hold the fashion show on Friday. The level of disaster hadn't sunk in yet and they werent about to cancel thier fashion show. The Hotel may have given up but it wasnt an option for them. Instead they wondered how they would inform their guests of the change of venue, where ever that would be, with only three days left before the catwalk. They walked the next 20 blocks without blinking because there were no taxi's anywhere and it gave them some time to try to make sense of what was happening. As they reached Times Square from 64th Street, a few blocks from their showroom on 7th Avenue, they saw something that they would never forget. In place of the World Trade Center skyscrapers, was an enormous mushroom shaped cloud that roared like a godzilla made of oily, toxic, mud brown smoke. The kind left in the wake of a nuclear explosion. Simultaneously their jaws dropped in horror. They finally realized the enormity of the situation as they looked to the right and to the left and saw the giant videos of the disaster. By now the world has seen those videos hundreds of thousands of times. Imagine, how it must have felt to be standing in the middle of the busiest intersection in New York. No cars, no subway, no planes, no way to get to New York and no way to leave. Somehow police and paramedic sirens played in a non-stop whaling chorus of misery that had no break and would be heard for the next 4 days without a moment of downtime. The rest of Fashion Week and the appointments with buyers were cancelled. As they stood in utter disbelief with thousands of others watching the scene around them, the thought of little golden chairs werent important anymore. Life had changed.
Los Angeles Fashion Week Spring 2002
Although the original plan was to show the collection in the uptown and intimate setting of the Palace Hotel in Manhattan's Upper East it was rescheduled to occur two months later in Los Angeles to coincide with LA Fashion Week and was held at Cicada Restaurant Downtown LA. The Collection was comprised of many tones of muted sandy white and was aptly named Carte Blanche. MAC Cosmetics joined Lloyd Klein as a sponsor on the occasion to give its MAC honors award to Angela Bassett. Other VIP guests include: Cyd Charisse, Ann Miller, Anne Jeffries, Ron Moss, Sandra Vidal, Joanne Carson Joely Fisher, Courtney Vance, Paula Abdul, Jennifer Gareis and the one and only Phyllis Diller who charmed the audience with her take on fashion as only she could host the presentations and awards portion of the show. The evening benefitted the Dream Foundation. Images from that evening and the resulting editorial that followed can be found in the runway section of this website or by clicking here.
Carte Blanche SS 2002
Cicada Downtown - LA Fashion Week
Last Tango in Paris | FW 2002/03 |NYC
One Night at Studio 54 | SS 2003 | NYC
Homage to Marlene Dietrich | SS 2004 | NYC
2004 Lloyd Klein Couture moves into a two-story landmark building resembling a petite European Romanesque style chateau and is officially christened as the Lloyd Klein Couture Laboratory. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and is officially known as the Heinsbergen Decorating Company Building. The exterior includes a gothic style turret and features a wildlife pond and a wood-planked “moat” entryway leading into the 7,700-square-foot space. Lloyd Klein transforms the interior of the building with a design that melds the landmark antique architectural style with an updated art deco treatment emphasizing suede upholstered walls throughout the entire space and rooms marked with floor to ceiling mirrors creating a jewel box interior inspired by the George Cukor directed classic 1939 film entitled "The Women". The glamorous Hollywood production featuring an all-female cast was one of the first to introduce snippets of the Technicolor process into a black and white film. With this in mind, the entire interior design created by Lloyd Klein is somber in color scheme emphasizing tones in gold, silver, chrome and shades of gray so that the vibrancy of colors present in the merchandise would become highlighted by contrast. The landmark venue served as the company’s all-encompassing flagship with entrance by appointment only. The layout included a private VIP consultation lounge and fitting room for couture clients, editorial and sales showroom, conference room, a 1,200 square ft. atelier and showcase for a full range of Lloyd Klein Couture merchandise reminiscent of similar environments found in the couture salons of Paris. The venue also included an archive library featuring over 4,000 runway sample garments that chronicle the history of the designers work.
The Lloyd Klein Couture Laboratory
Opened in 2004 to the Trade
2006 to the Public (by appt)
FEBRUARY 7, 2004
In the early foggy morning of February 7, 2004, while en route to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France intending to arrive for his scheduled flight to John F. Kennedy Airport, New York in order to present his seventh runway collection for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the designer's chauffeured town car was sideswiped and totaled by a drunk driver. His car was one of three in a caravan that included his 4 person entourage, his new seasonal collection and his mother who sat next to the designer in his car. All three cars were involved in the devastating collision which claimed two lives and injured six people including his mother Mrs. Klein who sustained multiple broken bones throughout her upper body. Beside those that lost their lives including the driver of his car, Lloyd Klein was the most injured survivor. Lloyd suffered serious damage to his face and upper body that resulted in complete facial reconstructive surgery following a three-day induced coma.
The day of the accident in New York a team of atelier staff was preparing the fitting room for the collection to arrive. Lloyd's right-hand man John Arguelles got a disturbing call that morning. He supposed he was receiving a call to let him know that the plane had arrived and the collection and Paris staff would be on site within the hour. Instead, it was one of Klein's family members informing him of what had happened. It was devastating news to all involved and John spent the next two days fielding press inquiries and preparing for a press conference so that the 1,200 guests who had reserved a seat would get word of the calamity and the need to cancel. Everyone was extremely concerned that no word had come back yet from Paris regarding detailed information on Lloyd's injuries. The only update was that he was still comatose.
The Pages that flip above share some of the tremendous news coverage and outpouring of support for Lloyd Klein's speedy recovery. It worked!
John met with Fashion Week organizers as soon as he got the word that Lloyd was awake and was going to be ok but needed some reparative tissue and facial cartilage replacement. But he would survive and that is what mattered most. When John finally spoke with Lloyd over the phone on the 6th day following the crash and the day after he was conscious from his coma. He said to Lloyd, "Before you say another word, you’ve got to get better soon because we are going to show the collection in LA in 34 days". He said it in a tone that let Lloyd know that there was no way that this accident was going to stop the designer from moving forward, he knew that the last thing was a pity and that this was just a distraction. It gave him the motivation to emerge back to health faster than anyone would have expected.
28 days Later Lloyd arrived into LAX with bandages still on his face to stage his collection as the Official Presenting Designer to kick off the calendar in LA. What's even more amazing, however, is that the entire collection from start to finish was remade in those 3 weeks since Lloyd had been released from the hospital. The traveling cases with the entire collection had been destroyed in the 6 car pileup. It seemed that every seamstress in Paris stepped in to support Lloyd. It was an extraordinary gesture of support from the couture specialists who were the second family for him.
When asked how he was able to get it done on time. He smiled and said, "After what I've been through this past month, nothing is impossible!"
Through the graciousness of close friends Ann Rutherford and James Russell, in Los Angeles, the courtesy of using an enormous sound stage at Sony Studios in Culver City to finalize fittings and final alterations for the show were provided for Lloyd and his team to make the process as smoothe as possible. Another unbelievable gesture of kindness and graciousness. It made all the difference in the world.
March 2004 | Fall Winter 2005 Runway
Lloyd Klein recovers from his car accident and opens LA FashionWeek a month later as Presenting Designer.
"Out of Afrika", the FW 2004/05 collection which had lost its stage in New York, found one with the Los Angeles version of Fashion Week. A month after his coma and facial reconstruction surgery, Lloyd Klein was asked by LAFW title sponsor Mercedes-Benz and LAFW organizer, Vice President of IMG Fashion, Fern Mallis, to open the Fashion Week as Presenting Designer. The runway show was held at Smashbox Studios. Jersey animal print gowns and jumpers and white and royal purple chubby Fox bombers with tulle tutus that conjure the Royal Urban Masai. To view the full collection and see the video follow this link.
Reflections of Madame Gres SS 2005 -| NYC
Out of Afrika | FW 2004/2005 | NYC
September 2004 | Spring Summer 2005 Runway
Reflections of Madame Grès was the theme for the runway for Spring/Summer 2005 which was staged at Bryant Park for New York Fashion Week on a U-shaped runway. The center of the stage was filled with large staggered mirrored platforms (created for the event). The mirrored set was used to form a spectacular mise-en-scène finale. The invitation to the collection gave a hint as to what was to come for those in attendance. A mirrored and etched box filled with rose petals to commemorate the event and small vellum papers with sketches of the collection was included. A sample of the invitation was gifted by Guy Trebay to UCLA fashion Archives, who donated his personal collection of invites and memorabilia from 2004 - 2006 listed as Guy Trebay Collection of Fashion Ephemera (Collection 459). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.