Pret-a-Reporter

Stacey Bendet Champions 'See-Now, Buy-Now' With Festival-Inspired L.A. Show

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Kourtney Kardashian, Stacey Bendet and Emily Ratajkowski

The presentation for the Alice + Olivia Grateful Dead capsule collection served as a pre-Coachella kickoff for L.A.'s fashion scene (which included a requisite Kardashian.)

"It was really about the see-now, buy-now show," said Stacey Bendet, founder and creative director of the whimsical contemporary line Alice + Olivia, of why she chose to show her Grateful Dead capsule collection in L.A. "We wanted this to be more of a big event with celebrities, and the whole theme of the show is a festival, kind of a Coachella kickoff." 

Bendet, who showed her '70s-inspired fall 2016 collection in New York this past February, did indeed draw quite the crowd of celebrities (Kourtney Kardashian, Emily Ratajkowski, Mischa Barton and Jennifer Morrison, to name a few) and influencers (We Wore What's Danielle Bernstein) to the Hollywood's Neuehouse on Sunset Boulevard, which was decked out with fairytale meets rock 'n' roll decor — harps and blooming trees opposite patterned rugs and a cymbal set.

But for the designer, everything came back to the idea of a see-now, buy-now presentation — including her partnership with Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing, who styled the show. While designers in opposition to the new see-now, buy-now system often cite retail schedules as their main obstacle, Downing doesn't believe the traditional buying cycle to be a problem.

"I was one of the early voices of the industry who really recognized the importance of closing the gap between fashion presentations and customers being able to have access to things they’re seeing everywhere," Downing told Pret-a-Reporter. "What I’m really excited about is the idea of clothes being shown in season and the customer being able to see something at a fashion show and [have] access to it immediately."

The evening's attendees will have a taste of the 'buy-now' accessibility, as the Grateful Dead capsule is already available online at Neiman Marcus and Alice + Olivia's website. The offering ($188-$1,498) includes plenty of Coachella-worthy pieces, too, from off-the-shoulder tops ($198) to fringe kimonos ($330) and even Polo Field-ready slip-on sneakers ($298) featuring the Grateful Dead's infamous dancing bears decked out in oversize sunglasses. 

"The look is kind of bohemian, kind of a ‘70s glam," said Bendet, who decided upon the Grateful Dead as inspiration after her husband, Eric Eisner, began producing a film about the band with Martin Scorsese. 

Adds Downing, "We really wanted to bring the spirit of Los Angeles, and the spirit of Coachella — just the idea of summer dressing — to life."

Stephanie Chan contributed to this report.

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