Inspiration, LA
Inspiration, LA

28 Feb. 2012


The world famous Queen Mary may be permanently docked in Long Beach, California but the ocean liner hasn’t lost one bit of its regal atmosphere. Tales of ghosts, hordes of tourists, a hotel and a restaurant keep the ship’s majestic presence afloat. But, perhaps more importantly, the ship’s vintage cred remained intact as it played host to the third annual Vintage and Americana Inspiration Trade Show.

Kicking off the South West trade show season, this year’s Inspiration grew to hold over 100 exhibitors, well up from 88 last year. The show aimed to sell inspiration to nearly 3,000 vintage enthusiasts from around the globe, namely the United States, Canada and Japan.

The feel was very Marlon Brando in The Wild One with custom leather riding jackets, vintage helmets, leather shoes and raw cuffed denim at every turn. Dealers displayed buttons and clasps re-created to 1950s standards, old school knitted university sweaters, dresses that would make Bette Paige smile, hand stitched belts and wallets and various Japanese magazines, including one called Clutch, distributed on the premises.

Blue Blanket at Inspiration LA
A rare treat was denim by new exhibitor Antonio Di Battista and his line Blue Blanket jeans. A vintage denim collector and owner of more than 3,000 pairs, Di Battista runs a consultancy firm in Europe for high-end denim brands. But, his side job and passion is raw Japanese and American jeans. Feeling that his home country, Italy, isn’t quite ready to accept raw, wear-to-fit pants, Di Battista has brought Blue Blanket to the United States to look for select distributors. Named in homage to the child’s attachment object, Blue Blanket is a select collection, adding just one or two styles more per season.

“The inspiration and the mood of the collection is American,” says Di Battista. “Because I am a denim collector, I really love it and I have a lot of knowledge about American denim. Seems strange for an Italian to make something that is so American but for 25 years, I have collected denim so I am ready to do something with my knowledge.” Currently selling a few sturdy men’s styles and some handsome checked shirts, Di Battista chose to only show at Inspiration in Long Beach, though he admits he might venture to the Vegas shows next season.
Rebecca Paiement

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