This past weekend Union Los Angeles presented the Spring/Summer 2014 Visvim Trunk Show at Martha Otero Gallery on Fairfax. The invite only event is some what of an insider key to the holy grail of Japanese luxury brand Visvim. Guests have the opportunity to not only see the direction of the line but also purchase pieces from the highly coveted collection in advance of their standard delivery. I sat down with Union's Chris Gibbs to get the low down...
You have been synonymous with Visvim for almost a decade. How did the relationship start?
Funny story, especially considering the fact that I think I'm Visvim's number one fan. The first time I ever saw Visvim was on Eddie Cruz (Undefeated). He was wearing one of the first FBT's and I thought they were some of the weirdest shoes I had ever seen. At first I guess I just wasn't ready... Over time they grew on me and as the line grew from a shoe line to a clothing line, I just loved Hiroki's design sensibility. Visvim seemed perfectly suited for our store. Witty, the perfect mix of street, design and technical. Basically, a new take on classics. That was over ten years ago and we are still going strong.
How did the Visvim Trunk Show come about?
As the line grew; it's now quite huge, and with our store being a small boutique, there was just a limit to how much of the line we could order and present. Couple that with the fact that there were certain expensive pieces that we just couldn't afford to take the risk on. But we had a strong customer base who wanted more. We had enough people asking for stuff that we weren't bringing into America that we decided to try it out and bring the whole line here for a prebook. From the first one on it was a big success. We did the first two at The Chateau Marmont but we later moved to Martha Otero's gallery because the Chateau was just too much of a production.
How many years has the show been going on?
Four years (eight seasons). It's been really fun.
Why do you put the show on every season?
Again, Visvim has a huge line and every year they push the limits with some pretty expensive, directional shit. But we have customers who are really into the brand and want "that shit." A lot of the pieces are essentially custom made to order for the individual. There is no other way to do it. Plus, Visvim is one of the few, if not the only brands, that makes full size runs with their samples.
Who comes to the show?
It's really custom built for our good customers. We don't really advertise it or invite too many people; when you consider the price point and the fact that people won't actually get the goods until six months after they order.... you kind of have to be OG. On occasion people have flown out but nowadays we also set up an online link and help people that way.
What are some of the key pieces for Visvim Spring/Summer 2014?
There is a beautiful pull up leather "veg tan" varsity jacket (pictured on Chris above) that is kind of the shit. I am also a big fan of this bandana pull over shirt. They did a whole vintage part of the line this season that is really dope which includes an immaculate repro of a french workwear moleskin pant and a really cool Amish button down shirt. And one can never go wrong with the Visvim classic FBT, this year's skirt is quilted.
Are there any plans to bring the trunk show to NYC?
Funny you ask, we have a decent following in NYC and I think if we're able to get enough good customers on board we might try and do it next season... So be on the look out.