Trovata's John Whitledge hasn't lost his taste for quirky presentations, even though they tend to overshadow his slight if charming collections. Tonight's happening in the former Tunnel space included a mini set by Perry Farrellyes, he sang Jane Saysand a capoeira performance, in which male musicians and dancers practiced the rhythmic Brazilian martial art in striped cardigans and hoodies, or vests and plaid button-downs, worn with rolled-hem pants and flowy scarves. To make the spectacle go down smoothly, there were more free Sagatiba rum drinks than you could shake a berimbau at.
What's the connection? "My girlfriend is from Brazil," said the designer. "It's about the openness, the laid-back lifestyle, the easy living of that place." Way laid-back. The eight female models, all of whom were dressed in white, came out without shoes, which worked with a breezily short beach cover-up, or maybe a retro knit tennis dress edged in navy, but made less sense with a sixties-style A-line coat with those big, whimsical buttons Trovata is known for.
In many ways, Whitledge has taken his split with his erstwhile partners in stride. Still only 27, he recently opened a store in his former Newport Beach headquarters, so there's little reason to quibble with his success or his business plan. Too bad that tonight it was the theatrics that wowed, not the clothes.