LA Market Report: The Connector Pt.2

MDC’s Wayne Sterling interviews Bolthouse Productions’ Sacha Flisi – [continued from page 1]

WS: Exactly how does Bolthouse align with the entertainment history here?

SF: Brent (Bolthouse) and Jen(Jennifer Rosero) are looked upon as the pioneers of the LA “scene”. Having started promoting nightclubs 18 years ago, their network and street-cred have gained tremendous loyalty among Hollywood party-goers. A Bolthouse event has become “the go-to destination” for a fun night on the town.
As their promotions company grew, Brent and Jen protected their celebrities, friends, and clients from the prying paparazzi eye. From clubs, they expanded into big production events, such as the upcoming Sidekick 3 launch or the Superbowl Playstation party. The company’s recent merger with SBE [an entertainment company with many holdings in the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, lounges, bar and nightclubs)] marks the beginning of an national brand.

WS: Well what (or perhaps who) drives LA nightlife? What is gained from navigating the night scene here?

SF: LA is a promoter-driven town. One cannot assume that by building a multimillion dollar venue the best people will simply come. Household names like Bolthouse are built on years and years of being both trend setters and loyal friends of Hollywood’s power players. An outsider might see the LA night scene as a shallow means for self-aggrandizing ends (be it
finding an agent or bedding a celebrity). An insider sees a tight-knit group of friends. It’s easier to bond and connect with people who have one or two degrees of separation from us, so the focus is to concentrate on creating events and clubs that bring together such people. A crowd that can share relationships builds social trust among its members, making each
participant feel great about being part of the night. I love being with people who enjoy interacting and having fun.

WS: We had an interesting conversation on the drive over about the gap between the high taste NY fashion crowd and the celebrity driven LA scene. Is it widening or closing in your view?

SF: Last year Time magazine published an article titled “How the West Has Won”, which stated that because celebrities now more than ever drive trends and because they live here, LA has surfaced as a “fashion city”. While LA has grown and matured, the innate sense of style that NY has will never be duplicated here. For one thing, beach culture per se, is intrinsically CASUAL in nature, not high-end sophisticated. Secondly, one could say we barely have seasons here . If you don’t ever need gloves, foulards, and furs, how can you ever integrate them effortlessly into your look?

WS: l.o.l. Gloves, foulards and furs on a beach. Why not? It can get chilly in Malibu no? So what does the idea of chic mean in LA? What are the components that make it work?

SF: Chic, as you know, is a French word meaning “elegantly and stylishly fashionable”. The concept of “chic” is defined in part by the reality of fashion as an integral part of one’s lifestyle. Europeans idolize image and quality as well as substance: the right watch, the right pair of shoes, the artful– but seemingly artless — combination of jeans and jacket, for example, or a silk scarf with beach sandals.
The defining qualities that set us apart are as much in the details as in our overall appearance. Since I am half-Italian and was raised in Milan and the Cote D’Azur, I absorbed the meaning of chic as a child. The average style-conscious Angeleno is exposed to a radically different environment, and therefore lacks a certain cultural “chic” advantage.

WS: I’ve been asking everyone I meet what their dream scenario for the idea of fashion in LA right this
minute. What’s yours?

SF: If you are asking whether the LA crowd is becoming more fashionable, my answer is yes. LA trendsetters — and therefore the people who follow them — are becoming more “chic”. From the venues (clubs, bars, restaurants) to the young
models, actors and tastemakers’ styles, the signs point toward a revitalized, more fashionable city. I would also love to see a name Italian or French designer show during LA Fashion Week but that might still be premature…