I entered the intimate Lightbox venue of Smashbox Studios to view the Dina Bar-El Fall 2007 collection. Once inside, I was delighted to hear the legendary Julie Andrews singing show tunes rather than the staid, and frankly overdone, LA Fashion Week Rock n' Roll remixed tracks. The audience was in for something really special. 'Burlesque' was the name of the show and WOW, burlesque was served up hot' Jazz Hot.
The show opened by the theatre fading to black as the sounds of a live four-piece jazz band swung into their slinky rhythm. Next, a single red spotlight slowly shone to bright, revealing the perfect hourglass silhouette of a woman.
When the lights came to full power, this woman became instantly recognizable as the premiere dancer from the LA hot spot Forty Deuce. She proceeded to treat the audience to a classic burlesque dance number, with all the bells and whistles, that would have made even Gypsy Rose Lee proud. After dancing, performing gymnastics, coyly playing with the audience, and eventually stripping down to her bra and fringed boy shorts, the audience roared with applause. It was spectacular!
As if this wasn't enough to get the audience going, out came the clothes- a collection of vintage inspired dresses and gowns that conjured the glamour of 30's and 40's Old Hollywood. Dina Bar-EL also played with the concept of contradiction by projecting femininity through masculinity in certain pieces in the collection. She used a gentleman's grey pinstripe wool fabric for a sexy strapless gown,
and created a chic black suit styled with a thin red tie and vintage hat;
Other stand out pieces of the collection included a long black gown with an impeccably detailed lace back, which was sinfully gorgeous;
a black and white silk floor-length number with front slit;
a divine black lace coat worn over high-waisted pants,
A slinky silver gown with black lace trim,
and a navy blue collared gown with crystal buttons, shown with a vintage cloche.
The styling by Dave Thomas was particularly notable, as he used authentic vintage pieces, staying exactly true to the era.
The show was one of my favorite of the week, glamorous, luxurious, provocative and sensual. I loved it.