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Last night's Alice + Olivia Spring 2011 presentation party in far-west Chelsea had seriously everything—sexy and fabulous vintage-inspired dresses and separates, a sick new platform-obsessed shoe line, Tavi-styled indie musical artists (more on that later) and the biggest mish-mash of celebrity randomness out there.
As the presentation kicked off, we spoke with Alice + Olivia founder and designer Stacey Bendet, who looked adorable in a silver sequin shrug layered over a black ruffled mini-dress and towering platform wedge booties (her own designs, of course).
With the backdrop of models lounging and vamping on a stage set like a Victorian boudoir meets speakeasy parlor, Stacey told us about her collection. "The whole concept was that it was supposed to be this timeless travel. And I wanted every piece in the collection and in the show, to have this feel of, like—it kind of looks like it’s from the 50’s or the 60’s or the 70’s, but you can wear it any way and mix it and match it in a way that feels completely fresh and new and you’re not really sure where it came from."
Stacey then gestures to her slouchy silver sequin shrug and says, "So I wore this tonight, which is one of the pieces, and it just has that feel of, like, in 10 years, you’ll pick it up and be like—you know what, I still love this." And the shoes, the sexy, sky-high platform shoes, sandals and booties? "We’re launching shoes and that kind of goes back of the concept that Alice + Olivia has developed—this collection of items where, like, each season, we add, like, something new. We started as, like, just being pants, then I did little sweaters, and then we did some shorts. So each season we kind of evolve that." Goodness, then what to we have to look forward to in, say, five years? Stacey laughs and says, "oh my god, I’m going to be doing like forks and spoons!"
The second big billing of the night, just after the new collection and shoes of course, was that teenage wunderkind Tavi styled all the performing musical artists in Alice + Olivia: The Pierces, Amanda Blank (love that Tavi kept the rapper's style in mind and went with Amanda's usual pants-less look) and the ridiculously awesome duo of DJ Mia Moretti (in an eye-catching larger-than-life lilac fur vest) and violinist Caitlin Moe (in a studded shoulder long-sleeve black number).
So how did this collaboration come about? Did Stacey Facebook Tavi? Send her a text or however it is that teenagers communicate these days? Stacey tells us, "I’m totally obsessed with her and I put it out there in the universe that I had to meet her and finally we just emailed her manager and asked, hey would she want to style something for our show? And we asked her to style the bands." Pretty impressive for a thirteen year old. Then Stacey corrects us, "she’s fourteen. She's in the ninth grade and she’s reading the Odyssey, actually." Which begs the question, what was Stacey like at age fourteen? "Oh my god, I was such a nerd, by the way. My little sister used to make fun of me. 'Why are you sitting in the cafeteria reading a book?' Like, I came out of my shell once I went to college." Oh, preach. We have so been there.
Speaking of, we had a brief Tavi sighting during the Pierces set (which was also the time we realized that the band's song "Secret" is the theme number to Pretty Little Liars. And yes, we watch it.) She was thoughtfully and quietly taking pictures of the band. Then, as a fourteen year old would do, she softly walked over to an empty corner to text and chat on her cell. We hovered around bit to wait for a free moment, while feeling kind of creepy about stalking a teenager. People were walking past her not even realizing who she was. But once she finished her phone conversation, she was whisked to the back by who we assume to be her manager, never to be seen again.
Odd thing was that Andrew Mukamel of Kell on Earth fame (wearing a bright red suit jacket over what looked to be leggings with white Adidas stripes up the side and not looking happy to have his photo taken) also rushed backstage. Which leads us to recount the most eclectic group of celebrities spotted in one place.
There was the aforementioned former Kelly Cutrone assistant, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Tinsley Mortimer, Nicky Hilton, Denise Richards and Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Johnny Weir. The A list sighting was four-time Academy Award-nominee and director Jason Reitman and his wife bypassing the paps at the step-and-repeat and quietly entering with the civilians.
We were on the lookout for Gossip Girl dad Rufus Humphrey, aka Matthew Settle, but didn't see him. Also completely random— Ali Wise of voicemail-hacking and plead-out-to-a-felony fame was all over this party (and posing for pics). Apparently she now works for Alice + Olivia. Interesting. At the end of the night, duo DJ Mia Moretti and Caitlin Moe closed out the party—absolutely killing it with the best renditions of La Roux's "Bulletproof", MGMT's "Kids" and Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" we've ever heard.
· Alice + Olivia [Official Site]
· All Fashion Week Coverage [Racked]