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Los Angeles Times – Gabby, Oprah, Kenny Chesney and more join surfer Laird Hamilton for apparel line launch

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Oprah Winfrey, actor Orlando Bloom, country singer Kenny Chesney and record producer Rick Rubin were among the crowd of celebrity friends and supporters who turned out to Ron Robinson’s Santa Monica boutique Thursday night for the launch of surfer Laird Hamilton’s new apparel line.

Called Laird Apparel, the inaugural collection is a retro-tinged assortment of shorts, T-shirts, button-fronts and light layering pieces that include zip-front sweaters, hoodies and jackets grounded in a palette of blues, grays, olive, black and white that retail in the $30-to-$120 range. Although we’ll have a more in-depth look at the line in the not-too-far future, anyone interested in seeing it up close now will need to darken the doorstep (or at least gaze in the window) of Ron Robinson’s year-old Santa Monica flagship because it is currently the exclusive bricks-and-mortar retail account for the debut fall and winter 2015 offering.

Though a surfer fronting an apparel line doesn’t sound like anything new under the coastal sun — even for Hamilton who has been the face of countless brands over some 35 years of sponsored surfing — it marks the first time the part-time Malibu resident (he spends the other half of the year chasing waves in Hawaii), has put both his own money on the table and his own name on the label, partnering with William Cawley (we first wrote about Cawley back in 2010 when he launched a custom boardshort business called Shortomatic.com), who serves as chief creative officer, and Tim Garrett, who serves as president of Laird Apparel LLC, and a handful of private investors including, we’re told, some big names from the entertainment industry.

Although we never got a full accounting of exactly who on the bewilderingly eclectic guest list might fall into that category, one of them is a fellow by the name of Erik Logan Toppenberg, who happens to be the president of OWN and Harpo Studios, which explains the surprise, last-minute Oprah pop-in.

Winfrey, who rolled in toward the end of the festivities (we were told she was arriving from Quincy Jones’ house) browsed the racks, chatted with Hamilton and his wife (professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece) and mingled with a bewilderingly eclectic crowd that, over the course of the night, included tequila magnate (and fellow Malibu resident) Rande Gerber, professional basketball player Baron Davis, stand-up paddle boarder Slater Trout, documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy and actors Sacha Baron Cohen, John C. McGinley, Mehcad Brooks and Vincent Gallo.

Laird Apparel, available exclusively at Ron Robinson Santa Monica, 1327 5th St., Santa Monica, and online at lairdapparel.com.

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