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Porsche Design Drives On to Rodeo, Again

Maria Sharapova and Juergen Gessler - P 2013
Charley Gallay / Getty Images Entertainment
Juergen Gessler and Maria Sharapova

After a brief hiatus, the sports car scion's product offshoot returns to its remodeled Beverly Hills shop with a star-studded, leather-fueled fete.

After a brief hiatus in a temporary space, Porsche Design reopened its reimagined Rodeo Drive flagship on Thursday night, complete with a festive fete that spilled onto the cobblestones of Via Rodeo in Beverly Hills.

Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant helped host the event — which also served as a brand reboot — along with Porsche Design Group CEO Juergen Gessler and Vogue magazine.

Guests milling around ice sculptures suspending Porsche Design sunglasses and sneakers included Saana Lathan, Patrick Dempsey, Maria Sharapova, David Ellison, Jaimie Alexander, and German actors Udo Kier and Ralf Moeller. Mischa Barton made an unannounced drop-in as she and two friends walked by the party on Via Rodeo.

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Lathan, who is a Porsche driver, tried on some of the sunglasses on display. But she admitted she’s really shopping for a new car because her Porsche Cayenne lease is up. She said she’s eyeing their Panamera sedan. “I’ve had a lot of fun driving one as a loaner.”

Gessler told the crowd that when legendary automotive scion Ferdinand Alexander Porsche first started the Porsche Design offshoot in 1972 he was focused on creating an all-black watch and, later, aviator sunglasses with interchangeable lenses. The brand reset is all about reestablishing those design concepts, as well as adding a sleek fashion line hatched by ex-Elie Saab designer Thomas Steinbruck (and photographed by Peter Lindbergh).

The revamped shop’s facade stays true to the simple, modern lines the brand is known for. Black awnings — with the slim Porsche Design logo emblazoned on just a narrow strip — sit above the double first-floor storefront. Upon entry, you immediately face a white-lit wall of sunglasses: Most are derivations of the brand's iconic aviator in basic shades, but there also are pairs in cobalt blue and bright yellow. A masculine, modern Teutonic vibe permeates the shop; metal and glass dominate. The men's department sits on the left and women's on the right. Sporty basics in blacks, whites, grays and browns are the mainstays of the clothing collection, though it’s dotted with pops of color, such as an acid-yellow puffer jacket and bright-orange jeans. And luxury items in leather and more formal fabrics are mixed in throughout. 

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Bryant, who says she knew the iconic label from its ’80s heyday, kept on brand message by wearing a Porsche Design leather dress with perfectly placed zippers. Is leather her style, though? “My style’s a little bit leather, a little bit lace,” she said.

But Porsche brand ambassador Sharapova wasn’t exactly representing that night — she wore a Valentino dress. Teetering on sky-high Louboutins, the six-foot-two tennis champ also towered above most everyone at the event.