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July 26 2014

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Ben Harper Makes Clothing For The People

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After showing a collection, most designers threaten far-flung vacations in the Maldives to regroup and re-inspire, or at the very least a private celebratory dinner downtown. Not Ben Harper, who’s part of the design collaborative Propr, now in its second season. Like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps going. After the show Tuesday night at the Highline Ballroom, Harper invited guests to hang out, have a drink, and listen to a performance of his new band Relentless Seven. The presentation was short and sweet, featuring menswear fabrics reimagined for women’s shirtdresses, corduroy blazers, and his-and-her ponchos (imagine a Billy Jack power duo). His partners in crime, David Arquette and Paul Marlow, stuck around, as well as a front-row roster that could easily be mistaken for a celebrity listening party: Michael Stipe and Jack McBrayer (you know, the page from 30 Rock), Jane Pratt, and Rob Thomas. Laura Dern and Courteney Cox not only got to preview the Fall goods, they got to wear them as well. Dern, clad in a camel corduroy shirtdress, with children in tow (wearing mini-me versions of Propr), was enthusiastic about her husband’s second career. “I want to wear it all the time!” she raved. And she can. Any plans to branch out into childrenswear so it can be a family affair? Apparently they’re bigger than that. “I want to design for everyone from 4 to 94. I want to do a kids’ [line] and big-and-tall,” Harper explained. Clearly no child left behind here.

Photo: Shaun Mader / PatrickMcMullan.com

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