“I was inspired by Miami and Sour Patch Kids Watermelon,” said Cliftun, a musician and artist who was in a vibrant pink and green ensemble with some elegant fur. He added, “Spanto always commented on how I always came with crazy fur, so this is for my guy.”
Spanto was the nickname for Chris Printup, who died at age 42 in a car accident this June in Albuquerque, the founder of the streetwear brand Born X Raised, which made a name for itself in the Los Angeles fashion scene through collaborations with sports teams including the Dodgers, the Lakers and the Kings. But it was always the locals that carried the brand.
On Tuesday, the brand’s annual Sadie Hawkins Winter Formal became a love letter to those who have supported Born X Raised and its founder throughout the years. Guests came decked out in two-piece suits paired with L.A.-embroidered fitted caps, long swaying gowns with nail art to match and mariachi charro-inspired pants.
“In the beginning of the brand, we were looking for ideas for parties,” said Alex Erdmann, the Born X Raised co-founder known as 2Tone. “I was thinking of something where women can wear dresses they don’t get to wear in L.A. because no one really gets to dress up in L.A. ever.”
Mr. Erdmann suggested an old school 1950s Sadie Hawkins-themed night where people could show up as they wanted. The first winter formal was held in a small hall in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood, where Mr. Erdmann recalled party buses and lines of people around the block. Since then the party has only continued to grow. He credited the communal aspect of the party to Mr. Printup, who, he said, “was out in the streets every day rallying and talking with anyone and everyone.”
This year’s winter formal was held at the Hollywood Palladium and was sponsored by brands like Dr. Martens, 1800 Tequila and Levi’s. Many people came to pay their respects to Mr. Printup.
“This one is in memory of Spanto, and his wife, Anna, kind of put it all together and made it happen,” Mr. Erdmann said, “and I think it’s a really beautiful thing she did here.”
As people lined up to have their pictures taken onstage in front of a retro-themed Born X Raised school dance backdrop, many danced to old school R&B and hip-hop tracks. Shout-outs to Mr. Printup were peppered throughout the evening, while songs such as Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” were played in his honor.
“Long live the legend, long live the gangster,” said the Compton native and rapper YG, who performed. “I was lucky enough to be a part of their journey, so I’m just here to send my love.”
The R&B singer Miguel, a frequent guest of past winter formals, was also in attendance. “Spanto is a representative of what Los Angeles energy is all about,” said the Grammy-winning recording artist. “He always took care of his family and his community and put that at the forefront of the brand that he built.”
But beyond spearheading a brand and throwing stylish parties, Mr. Printup leaves a legacy that is best summed up through the people who worked alongside him.
“I’m from Venice and so was Spanto and I looked up to him,” said Malik Preatto, a model and actor, who wore a white button-down with black jacket and a scarf tied around his head. “He let me be on a couple of photo shoots and gave me some exposure, so this look is more about just swagging out for him.”
The emotional part of the evening came from Julian Torres, a Death Row Records recording artist, who led a mariachi tribute. He sang the Vicente Fernández classic “Volver, Volve” from the balcony.
Two images of Mr. Printup — one from last year’s winter formal and the other of him as a kid in a black suit with a gold bow tie — were projected above the crowd of guests, who sang along and were moved to tears.