Exclusive first look
Having launched his eponymous label in 2013, LA-native Mike Amiri has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting names on the fashion circuit. Following his debut catwalk show during SS19 Paris Fashion Week Mens – a high-octane experience transforming the Trocadéro into his own arena – now comes Amiri’s next milestone moment: a debut campaign showcasing his FW18 collection.
Photographed by Sebastian Faena and styled by HERO fashion director Gro Curtis, Amiri wanted the imagery to exemplify his label’s authentic Los Angeles ethos, capturing that wild and free spirit deep-rooted in the city’s DNA.
Therefore, when the designer found the location for the shoot, Hollywood’s MoonFire Ranch, things just clicked. Located in the Santa Monica mountains with a panoramic view of LA, the building was originally built for the 1966 Paul Newman film, Harper, and became an infamous salon, playing host to the likes of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and even Charles Manson. Now, the Ranch sees Amiri’s lost boys take control.
See the full Amiri FW18 campaign below.
Alex James Taylor: What was the starting point behind the campaign?
Mike Amiri: It’s always good for me to reconnect to my original inspiration, which is Los Angeles, but it’s deeper than like palm trees and traditional motifs, it’s also about that Hollywood lost youth. So when I saw The Lost Boys, the characters in that film were the same sort of kids that I connected to – and I used that as a springboard for my FW18 collection. With this campaign I didn’t want it to be like, “Let’s shoot this in Hollywood,” I wanted to capture the spirit of what it feels like for a group of kids to be all together and lost in this oasis. We got really lucky and found this beautiful property called the Moonfire Ranch, in the 60s and 70s people like Janis Joplin, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix all performed there and it became this sort of commune for musicians and artists. It’s so rad, it’s got like a 360 degree view of the ocean and it’s really hard to get too, we had to hire like five ATV crews to get everybody up there, but it was so worth it. It’s got all these tiny little rooms and little coves where you can just imagine people sleeping, partying, hanging out. So I was like, “Yeah, this is exactly what it’d be like if a group of kids took over this place.”
AJT: Is it deserted now?
MA: No, it’s still there and it’s owned by the son of the original owner. There’s like goats running around and dogs, it’s pretty unreal. We also got to work with this amazing Argentinian photographer called Sebastian Faena and he’s got a really great skill for cinematic qualities and capturing the moment. We started pulling references from Dominique Tarlé’s photographs of The Rolling Stones when they holed themselves up in Villa Nellcôte to escape their taxes and record Exile on Main St.. Pictures of them lounging around, smoking, drinking, playing guitars.
“I wanted to capture the spirit of what it feels like for a group of kids to be all together and lost in this oasis”
Amiri FW18 / photography by Sebastian Faena / fashion by Gro Curtis
AJT: How did you meet Sebastian?
MA: We basically just pulled a few references and three of them ended up being his, so we were like, “OK, that’s cool.” We met up with him and went down to the site and he immediately just started choreographing and setting out his vision, and it was exactly what I was thinking. So it was really natural.
AJT: It’s got a real cinematic edge to it.
MA: Absolutely, it’s super crisp and there’s so much vivid colour between the skyline, the ocean, the clothing and all these odd vintage pieces that were already at the house and were kind of decrepit and beautiful – for me these represented a different form of luxury, something less polished but still beautiful.
AJT: How was the actual shoot, was it a fun process?
MA: Oh yeah, it was a blast. It was a little bit guerrilla style too, which is how I like to work, I don’t like things to be super organised and tight, I like to improvise on the spot. We had a great group of kids too, some of them were street-cast and we had this cool kid from San Diego who was a skater, surfer called Niko and he ended up being the face of it.
AJT: It allows you to place the collection in your own ideal environment and frame it in your own vision.
MA: I think so, it’s the same ethos as something being non-contrived. It’d be one thing if we had to bring a load of props to the shoot, but at the end of the day we were just incorporating things that were at the Ranch and things that captured the spirit of that time.
AJT: Lastly, how does it feel to see the campaign on billboards across LA, particularly on the streets where you grew up?
MA: There’s a couple of milestone moments that really stick in your head and hit you differently, wherever it’s watching someone walk down the runway for the first time, or sewing the first ‘Amiri’ button on a pair of jeans. When I drove down Sunset Boulevard, which I’ve driven down thousands of times, and then I turned the corner past Tower Records and I saw my name up there and the beautiful campaign. It was a real moment. I really froze a little and just took it in.
AJT: That’s what it’s all about, seeing your name and work up there.
MA: Absolutely, it pumps you up to go to the next big thing.