"Fun, fun, fun is the name of the game!" boomed Heatherette designer Richie Rich's disembodied voice as the first look made its way down the raised runway at Gotham Hall. He couldn't have said it better: In the world of Rich and co-conspirator Traver Rains, fun is a tangible commodity to be bought and sold. There was plenty of it at their surefire Spring show, which opened with an energetic performance by 18-year-old rising hip-hop star Lil Mama and four dancers, delighting a crowd that included Diddy, Lance Bass, Bijou Phillips, and Tinsley Mortimer.
This was followed by a series of white looks loaded up with all manner of lace, trimmings, and rickrack, making the models look like wayward brides in a sort of backward couture show. (Guess after Marc Jacobs, it's the week for that sort of thing.) However, the meat of the collection, named Star-Spangled Smiles, was a big red-white-and-blue dose of Americana. The designers endlessly riffed on the theme with a picnic-table
print complete with graphic black ants, gingham farmer's-daughter dresses, and a touch of both camouflage and good old American showgirls. Wearable? Sure, a little. But what sells for the duo are the hoodies and tees worn by Lil Mama and her dancers. (Come springtime, these will be joined in stores by the printed vinyl bags and shoes Heatherette produces with Irregular Choice, which will likely be just as popular.)
Still, a stars-and-stripes extravaganza on September 11? "It just worked out that way," Rich and Rains explained backstage. "We talked about colors and came up with red, white, and blue, then we realized that we'd never done an Americana collection." As with any Heatherette show, there were a few finales, including porn-star Jenna Jameson flouncing down the runway. But more exciting for the designers' future was the group of five-year-old models in the debut of their cartoony-cute children's line named Heatherette Mini. One question: Why not call it Club Kids?