Culture

Fashion past and future, side by side in the Forum Shops

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La Martina at the Forum Shops
Sam Glaser

Christian Audigier

In 2010, hating Christian Audigier is the new trend.

California and New York’s early adopters have long gone and it’s time Vegas got the memo. Led by our local Downtown and on-Strip influencers, Las Vegas is poised for a new era of sophistication in style, arts and culture.

Before moving forward, let’s admit that Christian Audigier is a branding genius. The designer behind Von Dutch, Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier deserves credit for his keen celebrity fashion placement. In the first half of the last decade Ed Hardy was the new “it” brand. Unique and creative, Audigier incorporated Japanese tattoo art into exorbitantly priced casual wear. Endorsed by Hollywood and professional athletes, the new trend caught fire.

But even at its peak, tattoo art was rejected by much of the fashion industry and sensible individuals everywhere. The perception: Ed Hardy was for those more concerned with show than style.

Five years and a billion dollars in revenue later, a once-original look has become replicated and oversaturated. There are still plenty of $209 V-necks available at Christian Audigier. “New” designs such as “Facing Panthers” feature updated graphics—now with two mirrored panthers instead of one! Originality has been replaced by half-hearted revisions.

So what now? In post-Ed Hardy 2010, where is the creativity? What about the early adopters who wore Ed Hardy for its unique artwork and details—where can they shop to stand out without looking played out?

Ironically, right next door.

La Martina

In the Forum Shops, newcomer La Martina offers refreshing originality. Although recently added to the Las Vegas Strip, La Martina was originally founded in 1936 and its brand history is rich in tradition.

La Martina started on a farm in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The young company equipped polo horses and players with saddles, bridles, helmets, boots and mallets. Decades later, in the 1980s, the company started developing clothes for the polo spectator. Today, La Martina is the sport’s official supplier. By maintaining close relationships with high-profile tournaments and teams while releasing luxury-quality, limited-edition merchandise to fans, the brand continues to grow in a sustainable manner. Its European retail stores are institutions in cultural centers like Madrid, St. Tropez and Milan, where La Martina embodies the polo lifestyle. La Martina Las Vegas is the second U.S. store (the other is in Miami).

True to history, La Martina retailers sell polo equipment alongside clothing and leather from Argentina. To call the garments unique is an understatement. Details are noticeable and still tasteful. The intricate limited-release button-ups are well worth the $175 price. The leather outerwear and accessories are of incredible quality and intricacy, starting at $800. Logos are present, but understated. Every aspect is considered. Case in point: Designers tailor-fit every team. So the Italy-edition shirts are longer and slimmer than their Argentina-edition counterparts.

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