Most often, when there is a collective “ooh” at a runway show, it is bad. Really bad. A model has either just tripped and narrowly recovered or she went down. Hard. But Wednesday night at the Kevan Hall show, held for the first time in the designer’s new Los Angeles atelier, the intimate crowd let out the most joyous, unexpected “ooh” when a model appeared in Hall’s shocking pink ruffle blouse that would have made Elsa Schiaparelli proud. But I don’t mean a few “oohs.” I mean the entire room. And then came a collective giggle when the crowd then laughed at their own reaction.
In an industry known more for its contrived theatricality than its authenticity,
the moment was pure sunshine in a bottle. In fact, Hall’s entire spring 2013 collection could be summed up as such. It was a welcome breath of fresh air, which hit the moment you walked up the stairs and stepped into the Parisian sensibility of the atelier, with its high pale gray walls and parquet floors.
“We built the space with this in mind,” said Hall after the show. “We wanted a private space where we could do shows, luncheons, and private fittings for stylists and celebs to see what we have to offer.”
And, indeed, they came. Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher made it a mother-daughter night with her daughter Emerson Rose Tenney. Hatcher, who wore Hall’s V-neck silver tweed sequin dress and Tenney in a coordinating black sequin dress, both said they were busy preparing for a cozy Christmas. This year, the pair is making Early Gray jam and handmade holiday cards from goodies they found at Paper Source. Other guests in attendance included Alfre Woodard, Estelle, Virginia Madsen and Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, who looked chic in Kevan Hall’s signature off-the-shoulder jersey dress in navy, Twilight’s Christian Serratos and other notables.
The setting, which gave a nod to the European salon shows of the ’40s and ’50s, offered the perfect backdrop to the elegant collection Hall showed. Models glided through the atelier to a live string quartet and showcased Hall’s signature gowns and dresses, featured this spring with nipped-in waists, peplums and slim belts to accentuate the silhouettes. But this was not a nostalgic collection, with “elegant” used as a euphemism for old. Quite the contrary. It was thoroughly modern glamour that will stun on today’s red carpet. “It was a glance back to a little vintage, pretty and modern,” said Hall. (And speaking of glance, there was one model who took the romantic spirit of the show a bit far, and kept tossing out contrived, lingering sideways glances that would have made even Cinderella blush!)
But we can forgive a touch of syrup from the model. We could all use a little more romance, after all. Hall’s collection, however, was simply lovely without trying too hard. Saturated hues of lemon, fuchsia and lime lent a fresh perspective to the stunning, floor-length strapless gowns that all had instant red-carpet appeal. Jewelry was kept pretty but minimal in designs from American Gem Trade Association designers Erica Courtney, Mark Schneider Designs, Baggins, Somewhere in the Rainbow and Yael Designs. In short: It was one-stop shopping for stylists warming up for awards shows.
Kevan, if I may be so bold: I’d like to suggest Christina Hendricks as a potential candidate for the stunning cerulean blue organza bustier gown. And then Sofia Vergara in your coral silk gazar spine-back bustier gown. And please, stylists, I beg: Do not let the lemon-hued silk faille gala gown go unused for the upcoming awards season!
While the color was delicious, the real story this season for red carpet will be sophisticated separates. Case in point: the shocking pink “ooh” blouse and charcoal gala skirt, which was not only a crowd favorite but Hall’s favorite as well.
“I really wanted to showcase structure and silhouette. It’s really more about separates this season. There’s so much overkill and beading and fishtails [at the awards shows],” said Hall. “It’s been like Ali Baba on crack.”
Not to worry: I’m sure more than a few celebs will be directing their magic carpet driver straight to Hall’s atelier to choose these gorgeous pieces for this season’s shows.
Photos courtesy Faye Sadou