BEBE GOES HOLLYWOOD, CLOSES L.A. FASHION WEEK

Glamour is theme for brand's first runway offering in its 30-year history

Tulips were a constant theme in the new line, as evidenced by the "petals" on this dress. - Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Tulips were a constant theme in the new line, as evidenced by the "petals" on this dress. - Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

CULVER CITY, Calif. — L.A. Fashion Week, its focus on fall 2006, came to a glamorous close with the debut of Collection bebe, the new couture offering from the casual California clothier.

Company founder Manny Mashouf had envisioned it for years: a luxurious line that would enliven the 30-year-old bebe brand and hold new appeal for the Hollywood set. He matched Madonna stylist and costume designer Arianne Phillips with Los Angeles designer David Cardona to create the camera-ready collection.

Stars aplenty turned out Thursday night to see the designs. Anjelica Houston, Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean Cobain (who is the spitting image of Kurt), LaToya Jackson, Jillian Barberie, Stacy Kiebler and bebe’s new spokesmodel, Mischa Barton — clad in a purple minidress from the new collection — all scored seats along the runway’s front row.

“We’re very influenced by the Hollywood stars that rule the universe right now,” bebe chief executive Greg Scott said backstage. “Ultimately, you will see this collection on the red carpet.”

Characterized by rich textures, flowing fabrics and asymmetrical lines, the collection features party dresses and fancy gowns, plus coats, slacks and blouses. All are inspired by Mashouf and the tulip, Cardona explained.

“Manny had this vintage tulip dress,” he said. “The flower evolved and became the starting point for everything.”

Some dresses even have petals. Two-tone flaps of fabric form the skirt of a silver strapless minidress and long gray satin gown. A red taffeta dress collects at the knee and finishes in a layer of leaves. Cap sleeves and collars are petal-shaped. Hemlines look like inverted flowers.

“The tulip is super-sensual, ultra-feminine and organic,” said Phillips, who was nominated for an Academy Award this year for her work in “Walk the Line.” “We have a great history of architecture here in L.A., and to us, the tulip is a beautiful piece of architecture.”

The collection’s palette is dominated by gray, silver and black, with an occasional shock of red, purple or icy lavender. - Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The collection’s palette is dominated by gray, silver and black, with an occasional shock of red, purple or icy lavender. - Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The collection’s palette is dominated by gray, silver and black, with an occasional shock of red, purple or icy lavender. It includes many strapless dresses and bubble skirts, shown with knee-length leggings and long patent-leather gloves. Skirts and bloomers have balloon hems. Pants are high-waisted and cut slim, tapering at the angle or cuffed into capris.

Generous use of silk, satin, jersey and chiffon give designs an elegant look and graceful flow. Asymmetrical lines add interest to almost every piece. Single straps, geometric details and unbalanced collars lend an edgy feel to the sophisticated collection.

“These clothes are made for the young, fresh set,” actress Elizabeth Banks, also a front-row attendee, said before the show.

Collection bebe is the first runway offering for the brand, which Mashouf started in San Francisco in 1976.

The bebe show capped off the five-day happening officially known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios. The event featured 30 design suites and more than 35 shows, including runway collections by Kevan Hall, Louis Verdad, Sue Wong and Agent Provocateur.

March 24, 2006 © The Associated Press

Source: http://www.today.com/id/11995763/ns/today-today_style/t/bebe-goes-hollywood-closes-la-fashion-week/#.VDC0AL6GEUX