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Frankie B. @ Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

By Karie L. Frost

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How low is too low? For Frankie B. designer Daniella Clarke, you can never go low enough when jean waistlines are concerned. The widely popular denim line, known for it's 2- and 3-inch rises, didn't disappoint this Spring 2005 season, highlighting new washes and back-pocket designs with flair. (The jeans' names-Frankie B. Mine, Getaway and Heartbreaker-as well as the washes' monikers-Femme Fatale and Love Stinks-fit this fun-loving line.) But the low-slung jeans, now a staple among size-zero pop stars and those who have no hips, were the expected. It was the unexpected that kept front row's Eliza Dushku, Macy Gray, Jillian Barberie, Lisa Rinna and Brent Bolthouse sitting on the edge of their seats.

Clarke has slowly been branching out, first trying on a few nondenim pants for size, then moving to jackets and vests and, even further, introducing fitted, button-down shirts with hemlines that stop just shy of her jeans' waistlines. For Spring 2005, Clarke has further expanded her line, introducing swimwear and a men's Frankie B. launch that males who don't mind showing a bit of abdominal muscle will certainly snatch up.

For the women, a "Honeymoon" trench coat in pink diamond denim with black stitching makes the perfect cover for dodging paparazzi. The "Vespa" jacket, a flutter-sleeved vest with a mess of zippers and a waist-cinching belt, garnered praise from onlookers. Busy floral prints shined on tight halter tops, loose bandeaus and a strapless floor-length dress. Sequined hot pants in orchid and mermaid dazzled; as a matter of fact, beaded pink chiffon pants and a beaded purple shrunken jacket played to last season's trend of embellishing everything with a bit of bling. But it was the sheer, chiffon boho-chic tunics-beaded at the cuffs and necklines-that Frankie B. jeans owners will want to pair with their low-riders.

Accessories punctuated the bohemian feel: huge raffia bags brought a laid-back beach aspect to the scene; oversized, funky retro sunglasses offered fashionable disguises for those who lay low (by the pool!); layers of necklaces featuring stones and an assortment of large pendants and charms-all by Madley for Frankie B.-looked put-together in a carefree way. Even the runway screamed beach boho; it was covered in a straw mat one might find at a Venice, California, beach bum's abode.

Clarke also lent her fresh, flirty style to swimwear. Modest buyers beware: Teeny striped bikinis were little more than tissues held together by string. But for Frankie B. wearers, it shouldn't be any other way.

The men, not to be outdone, carried the same carefree attitude in fitted corduroy and denim striped blazers, long board shorts and T-shirts layered over polo shirts. The T-shirts even spouted off witty one-liners, such as "Pick Me" screened over a guitar pick. Portions of the men's line, which was co-designed by stylist George Kotsiopoulos, sent out a feminine vibe, such as a pale pink, tuxedo ruffle shirt. Metrosexual men might latch on to this, but the consensus of some men polled outside of the show was a resounding "no."

While Frankie B. will continue to grow its low-slung, hipster pants, the logic lies in broadening the company's scope. Clarke, with Kotsiopoulos, has taken on this venture and, lo and behold, it seems to be working.

If you would like to find out more about Frankie B you can visit the official website at: www.frankieb.com

Published on Nov 06, 2004

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