Instead of showing to a few members of the local fashion press, Bebe chose to broadcast its spring collection to the camera-phone-toting public.
On Saturday at the Grove, Bebe kicked off Los Angeles Fashion Week with a show sponsored by Kia Motors’ Matters on Design (MOD), capping a day of test-drives and an interactive art installation by Venice's C.A.V.E. Gallery.
Shoppers lined the pedestrian-only 1st Street thoroughfare inside the Grove, enticed by the Zodiac Show's acrobats unfurling from scaffolds and stilt walkers parading down the runway. While the show’s male vocalist belted out "Another One Bites the Dust,” models strutted the catwalk in Bebe's spring 2010 looks, spiced with a few styles from the Bebe-Kardashian capsule collection.
The specialty retailer, known for black, body-conscious basics, revealed its younger feminine side by featuring frilly blouses, lace T-shirts and tights either in floral prints or Easter Egg pastels -- yellow, mint green, turquoise and magenta. The dress silhouettes included off-the-shoulder tunics or '80s-style bustier dresses. The few Bebe-Kardashian styles recalled the classic Bebe look, with sexy belted one-shoulder power dresses (see photo at left).
“We wanted it to be classic Bebe,” said Zaid Affas, Bebe's new St. Martins-trained senior director of design, "but also sexy, feminine, flirty and young, inspired by the young girls today. For spring, the collection is based on the florals and the mixing of colors."
"We’re excited about color and the return of the dress," chimed Kathy Lee, the brand's chief merchandising officer.
The outdoor spectacle succeeded in attracting the attention of its intended audience -- young women. "I love the collection, it was great for spring," said Tanny Houston, a Los Angeles resident. "I would go [to Bebe] and check it out."
But not all potential shoppers bought the new frilly, feminine looks. Natasha Boone, 20, a Hawaii transplant, said, "I just wouldn’t wear most of it for an outfit -- that [frilly] material is hard to put together."
-- Max PadillaPhoto credits: Tim Regas