Octavio Carlin Makes Ready-to-Wear Comeback in Los Angeles


Octavio Carlin

Los Angeles designer Octavio Carlin is getting theatrical with his latest venture.

After taking a few years off from the ready-to-wear business to concentrate on costume design and made-to-measure pieces for private clients, Carlin has introduced a new line called Teatro Clothing, which is made in Los Angeles.

Teatro’s styles include men’s and women’s shirts, pants and T-shirts featuring idiosyncratic prints, some with an Asian-inspired style. Carlin said that the line’s prints are intended to evoke a sense of theater. “It is not muted, but it is visually pleasant,” he said. “People will notice you. It will showcase a unique style.”

Teatro is sold at www.teatroclothing.com with retail prices ranging from $60 to $250.

The e-boutique also sells limited-edition jackets and the Octavio Carlin Capsule, a collection comprising high-end women’s eveningwear styles inspired by the 1920s. Retail price points for the tops and dresses range from $100 to $500.

“It’s a change from the elegance of Octavio Carlin. It has a more loose fit. It’s more knits and jersey. People want to be more comfortable. But it’s still elegant. You can get married in these clothes,” the designer said.

Carlin hopes to keep his self-funded return to ready-to-wear a business of limited-edition fashions, which is more manageable than running a larger line. He will continue to work with private clients and make costumes for theater productions and films.

Years ago, Carlin ran his Octavio Carlin boutique in West Hollywood, Calif., but it closed in 2015 when the lease ran out, Carlin said. At the same time, from 2002 to 2015, the designer had a ready-to-wear line that was often seen on the runway at Los Angeles Fashion Week.

During his hiatus from ready-to-wear, Carlin wrote, directed and made costumes for three films, including “27 Rue de Fleurus,” which is about the art-collecting rivalry between 20th-century writer Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo. Carlin hopes to distribute his projects on the film-festival circuit.

Doing films and costuming is a return to what brought him to Los Angeles from his native Mexico City. Carlin moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and took acting classes at UCLA Extension and the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in West Hollywood.

In his theater projects, Carlin got involved in costume designing and found he had a knack for it. He started making his ready-to-wear line after taking classes at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.

Carlin said he returned to the ready-to-wear game because it can be as creatively satisfying as costume design and other ventures where a designer has a lot of leeway. “Fashion to me is like a drug,” he said. “I can never let it go.”

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