Steven Johnson and Raquel Allegra in their Sunset Plaza home.
It’s common knowledge amongst the masses: Dating in Los Angeles is a sordid affair. Which is why hearing about clothing designer Raquel Allegra and film, TV, and music video producer Steven Johnson’s serendipitous meeting is rather refreshing.
“We met in a bar,” he says, recalling the evening in 2008 when he spotted a white blazer-clad Allegra chatting up a mutual friend at West Hollywood’s Bar Lubitsch.
“I think he was wearing a white blazer, too,” the designer recalls, with a laugh. Johnson vehemently denies the claim, but does remember feeling beguiled. This was just before Allegra’s eponymous, ethereal, recycled prison T-shirts took the cool-kid set by storm, landing on the pages of Vogue and in the closets of supermodel Erin Wasson and her ilk. So Johnson, whose client roster then included Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, and Fall Out Boy—would hang out with Allegra at her one-bedroom apartment in Little Ethiopia, where they’d watch movies on Netflix as Allegra deconstructed vintage tees.
“That was a really fun time,” she says, before Johnson sarcastically interjects: “But I will say the dust factor became a little overwhelming.”
Today, Allegra’s line has become a major force in the world of forward thinking, contemporary womens wear, expanding past her initial signature T-shirts to include custom-designed, printed linens and silks; hand-dyed chiffon and cashmere; and leather pieces sold at the likes of Harvey Nichols and Barneys New York, as well as at Curve and Ron Herman. Her headquarters is now housed in an 8,000-square-foot loft Downtown, where she’s readying a Spring 2013 collaboration with London-based apparel chain Matches. And the launch of a signature children’s line is a distinct possibility.
While Allegra was building her empire, Johnson’s Factory Films Ltd. began producing videos for Lady Gaga, one of which, the HBO special Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden, earned him and the team of producers three Emmy nods. In addition, his video for Gaga’s “Born This Way” garnered him two MTV Video Music Awards. While he still produces music videos (roughly 40 a year) and commercials, Johnson recently wrapped a feature-length children’s film with the production team behind the movie Black Swan.
While their professional worlds don’t typically overlap (although Johnson and Allegra are working together on a fashion video for her Spring 2013 collection), their mutually laid-back, effortlessly cool styles comprise a creative tour de force that, separately at least, are producing some of today’s most innovative work in their respective fields.
But one current joint project is the couple’s upcoming wedding, the date of which is still TBD. “We haven’t been planning because we’ve both been so busy,” Allegra says. But when the time does come to make things official, an old Big Sur farm that overlooks the Pacific Ocean will likely be the setting.
For now, however, simple romance suffices. “I beg him to play guitar for me,” Allegra says. “So he sits and plays and makes up songs for me and the dogs while I’m in the tub.”
“I’m decent, sometimes,” Johnson humbly says of his musical skills. But like any doting wife-to-be, Allegra has his back.
“No, he’s totally selling himself short right now,” Allegra says. “He’s amazing.”