Bebe Fall 2006 Collection A Garden of Tantalizing Tulips and Humdrum Dandelions

When I think of Bebe, I invoke images of teenage girls begging their mothers for the perfect outfit for their upcoming high school dance. After all, Bebe is well known for their trendy mall line of clubbing-appropriate clothing. However, for fall 2006, Bebe enlisted the help of the dynamic design duo, David Cardona and Arianne Phillips. This highly anticipated pairing of Bebe, a store accustomed to adolescent attire, and Phillips, an Oscar-nominated costume designer and stylist to Madonna, was bound to produce something interesting. What's more, Mischa Barton, star of The O.C. and fashion icon to prep-school princesses everywhere, is Bebe's new spokesmodel! Thus, it seemed that Bebe was ready to turn a new leaf with their first couture collection presented as the final show at the Mercedes-Benz LA Fashion Week in Culver City, Ca.  

In honor of spring, Bebe focused on the ideas of rebirth, growth, and rejuvenation. Tulips served as the muse for 'Collection Bebe'. For the designers, tulips are symbols of simplicity, beauty, sensuousness, and feminity. Thus, they tended and tilled their design soil in order to produce a collection that would bring fashion week to a triumphant close. Instead of growing tulips, however, Bebe ended up with dandelions: plain and passable. Don't get me wrong; if I were twirling around in the grassy field of my childhood elementary school, dandelions would suit the situation. But, let's be honest, fashion week is not elementary school. In a garden that produces irises, birds of paradise, orchids, and tulips, dandelions just don't belong.

Bebe kept the colors uncomplicated, limiting themselves to black and gray with punches of traffic light red and Concord grape. Amongst the rompers (yes, I am sad to say, they had rompers.), bubble dresses, and cropped tights that models could barely pull off (what does this mean for the average Jane?), there were a few hidden treasures: noir silk satin drop waist bouquet gown with one strap cutting diagonally across one shoulder, and soft satin petals of fabric falling to the floor. A glimmer of Hollywood glamour did manage to illuminate from this look. As for the other gowns, they were just a hair from perfection! A concord silk satin strapless gown was nearly exquisite with a tight-fitting bodice and flowing skirt. But, unlike the rest of the looks that highlighted high-waists, the form-fitted feature of this gown continued past the waist and ended right below the butt; a no-no for any J-Lo types out there! The succulent satin skirt, which I would have liked to see more of, did not begin until the top of the thighs.

Bebe continued the revival of 80s garb, a trend apparent throughout the week, by pairing cropped leggings in black, gray, and fire engine red with dresses and rompers that were loose and full on top and cinched at the waist. As a result, the models ended up looking like stylish mushrooms rather than Hollywood glamour girls. Phillips tossed in a smidgen of stripper with patent leather gloves, wide belts, clutch bags, and peep toe shoes.
Bebe did manage, however, to obtain jewelry from Neil Lane's 'Meteor Collection of diamond encrusted luminescent spheres. The ropes of diamonds draped around the neck and dangling earrings were quite breathtaking. The hair and make up was minimal, yet elegant: models wore their hair in simple side chignons, eyes were nude, and lips were bright red.
Pop sensation Mya, movie icon Angelica Huston, and Jackson sister Latoya were amongst the sea of celebs in the front row. And of course, the fresh face of Bebe, Ms. Barton, was front and center wearing a purple piece from the collection that can only be described as a silk romper, with little banded bloomers in place of a skirt.

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