2009 February 15

Rock Star

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Elise Overland in her own design Elise Overland in her own design
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(NEW YORK) Elise Øverland's shindig at Drive-In Studios last night was technically a presentation, but it felt more like an extremely well-dressed party. A refreshingly new flock of chicsters lined up for cocktails, while music thumped and the designer greeted a distinctly downtown crowd of well-wishers. With a stark runway thrown up in the gallery space, models congregated in an open backstage while a crowd equal parts artist and editor discussed the Øverland effect--you know, the one that has nearly every designer in town offering up leather pants this season. That signature made a few runway cameos, most memorably in spray-painted slouchy jackets and narrow teal trousers perfectly-suited for Coco Rocha types both male and female. But the designer broadened her focus this season, offering up plenty of sexy little dresses that had the cocktail set squirming, along with inventive jacket treatments that will prove irresistible on the sales floor. Narrow, slouchy satin pants underneath a long and equally satin tunic recalled that old, underused adage--more is always more. An ocean silk strapless cocktail dress was granted a strap, although it was studded with brassy bits in a nod to biker-style bondage. Sleeveless shearling jackets proved that this designer's versatility is measurably increasing each season. The overall effect? Desire.

"It's got that gothic, Victorian thing going on--perfect for me, because I'm a huge fashion whore," said Shenae Grimes. "But overall, it's just very attractive, which is what people want now. The DJ's rocking, and I love the fact that the backstage is open--you really feel like a part of the action." Øverland, a serious businessperson in disguise, offset the cost of Alexander Calder jewelry by outfitting her models with $22 pleather platforms purchased online--a juxtaposition that suited the luxurious materials downright charmingly.

In a crowd full of leather-lovers, the energy was palpable. "I wear leather pants to bed!" confessed Poppy Delevigne. "Elise has done a lot for the leather pants industry," said Zani Gugelmann, taking the looks in backstage. "She's made them sexy, chic, and young. She manages to make rock-and-roll glamorous and chic, which is really difficult." Chiara Clemente hasn't tried them yet, but a certain white pair caught her eye. "They looked like jeans, but they were made of white leather. I never thought of wearing them before, but I thought, 'I could wear these!'"

"I've tried leather pants before, and I still have the coolest Demeulemeesters hanging in the closet, but these days I prefer leather everywhere but my legs," confessed Linda Fargo. "Why do I wear leather pants?" smiled Annelise Peterson. "Because I like to skin and bare it."

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