Beckley Designer Melissa Richardson Akkaway
by sari anne tuschman
The collection—which walks the line between special-occasion pieces and closet staples—features everything from tie-neck blouses and silk pants to cocktail dresses and basic asymmetrical tees. But the predominant thread tying it all together is undoubtedly leather: There is a cape trimmed in leather, a faux-fur vest with leather detailing on the pocket and statement-making leather leggings. “I had all women in mind—women who love fashion and those who just love getting dressed,” says Akkaway of whom she designed for. “There are some really effortless, easy pieces, and a lot of us in LA wear ‘easy’ but still look really chic.” As for which item from the debut collection is the absolute must-have, she is torn. “It’s between the faux-fur vest and the cape,” she says.
The new designer says her spring collection will be double the size of fall and will include custom-made prints, denim, maxi dresses, long skirts and shift dresses, as well as—of course—her signature leather pieces, including shorts and a vest.
So how does Akkaway feel about the perception that LA’s fashion scene will never stack up to New York’s? “There are some really great, serious designers here,” she says, “but some people live in LA because they like this kind of lifestyle—it doesn’t mean they can’t be taken seriously in the fashion world.” With two boutiques, a new line and a serious style sense, Akkaway might as well be talking about herself.
photography by ulrica wihlborg