At Bebe, the Gibson Girl is out, and Veronica Lake is in. Entering his second season at the womenswear retailer, Charles Benton fused forties Hollywood glam with the imagery of Helmut Newton to create a Fall collection that was "dedicated to the diva, but modern and beautiful." Added the designer: "It's an homage to the power of women."
In order to bring his vision to life, Benton looked to the heroine in the film Blade Runner as a starting point, and let his high-end-design background (his résumé includes gigs with Giambattista Valli and Julien Macdonald) do the rest. The result was an elevated set of looks that appeared more sophisticated and less youthful than the tight-fitting, low-cut clothing that the brand has garnered a reputation for.
When the dresses hugged the body, they were paired with long overcoats, and blazers added a sleek touch to short shorts. Benton also introduced new fabric treatments this season, such as the plaid featured on a pair of cropped trousers and the textured tweed on a knee-skimming skirt. Yet the carefree nature of the Bebe girl was not completely lost. Models walked the runway in turquoise and red scalloped heels, and handbags were done in bright alligator and leopard prints that are sure to satisfy the retailer's dedicated customer base. As for the company's founder, Manny Mashouf, he seemed totally in tune with Benton's overall theme. "I'm obsessed with women," he said after the show. "And I am thrilled to make women feel beautiful."