Billabong, Baby Phat, and Ellegirl magazine teamed-up for a unique fashion show complete with a runway across the middle of a long swimming pool at the old and glamorous Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, California, October 27. As one of the kick-off shows for Los Angeles’ Fashion Week, starting with bathing suits, cover-up, board shorts, and sexy short shorts provided the beach glamour necessary to distinguish this side of the country from the other.
Three main themes were covered in various degrees, including the emergence of preppy looks mixed with beach culture (see also Fashion Ethnography section of our North American Youth Culture Study ’04), street/retro, and ethnic.
The emergence of prep many predict is simply a part of the 20-year-fashion cycle that some designers follow blindly, however preppy in a 02004-sense isn’t just the classic collared shirts, green or white solids, and colored stripes or iZods. Its source is more punk-prep than boarding-school-prep, including a dose of black, stenciling, off-place logos, baby-girl shirts that fit girls’ shapes, and a huge dose of the color brown mixed in. While it’s slightly harder to see the preppy in a bikini, the show did have many colorfully striped halter-top bikinis, plus shades of solid green bathing suits, bikinis in white and red, and baby-T collared shirts as cover-ups. What really made the style its own where the large-framed sunglasses, from white to red to brown and wire-frames, mixed with puca shell necklaces and bulky beads that added the bohemian.
The street/retro could be seen especially in the ‘80’s style one-piece suits in burnt orange, turquoise, brown, and tube top suits, plus metallic threaded shawls and head scarves. Slick, long thin chain necklaces and earrings and bracelets, as well as very ‘80’s retro sunglasses and floppy hats made an odd transition for a new-school stylish look that was street and again bohemian in an authentic and completely organic evolution from traditional street/retro styles.
The ethnic flare, which was our favorite theme of the show, came not only in the mix of models themselves, but the ethnic and colorful patterns in the bathing suits, amber beaded necklaces, thick or multiple bracelets, and grass skirts that were both Pacific Islander and South African with amber grass tassels and African breads—the latter which matched Billabong’s catalogue and fashion shoot throughout South Africa this year. Brown, yellow, turquoise, and orange played throughout the theme.
In addition to bathing suits were girl board shorts knee-length in flowered patterns of yellow, green, and white, and white short shorts and Capris. Big hats, flowing head scarves, soft, long-sleeved sheer tops, and massive amounts of long hair were a part of the sexy showcase overall.
The Billabong/Baby Phat/Ellegirl fashion show also hosted a live raffle to benefit the Boarding for Breast Cancer Foundation (www.b4bc.org), including a trip to Hawaii, Surf Diva lessons and a board, Billabong bikinis, and jewelry by Sage.—Kathleen Gasperini