I wasn’t smiling a whole lot when I got the Bebe show assignment. This is a retail chain, people, since when are those even allowed to run? My face had turned to serious frown by the time I approached the 18th street location. What is it the tacky, the skanky and the snooks following me around these days? Am I to take this as a hint? Oceans of make-up melting off their faces onto their publicly proffered décolletage, hooker heels grinding the pavement desperately, must you really wear all your clothes two sizes too small? Including your underwear? Are we supposed to be enticed by the resulting rotundities? Oh my, my, my, my, my…
By the time I had spent 45 minutes on the Sebastian/Elle/MSN/Izzy sponsored couches, had my picture taken way too many times in front of various bucolic decors and the show still showed no signs of starting anytime soon; after I had repeatedly tried to get out of the assignment altogether and had been reined in every time, my pen was poised for murder, and as the lights went down, I was more than ready to scathe. Impress me now, bitches.
Well, as much as I wanted to despise everything I saw, the 2011 Bebe Spring/Summer designing team made it a lot harder than I would have thought possible. The first half of the collection was an exercise in – it’s hard to say but, yes – muted elegance, with just the right amount of concealed sex appeal.
Imagine a young and intellectual 70’s Italian princess, vacationing in Capri with her parents, but sneaking out to smoke payote with the hippies when Daddy’s not looking. Her hair is long, wavy and unadorned, her make up minimal, her demeanor has the nonchalant fierceness of a Siamese feline. She’s a romantic rocking floaty and sleek variations of the look I call Mono-Atomic Beige. Yes, it’s a full-on monochromatic look that never ventures too far from the wearer’s natural skin color, creating, with artfully juxtaposed structures and textures a slightly unsettling feeling of intimacy, immediacy, contradictory nakedness.