Since launching her namesake line in 2009, evening wear designer Lorena Sarbu has slowly and steadily caught the eyes of leading ladies all over town, with her particular brand of “young evening" — according to insiders — becoming a strong player in the competitive space of red carpet dressing. Emma Stone, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert have all been spotted in the Romanian-born designer's understated yet glitzy wares. And on Wednesday, actresses Minnie Driver, Rhona Mitra, Odessa Rae, Cara Santana and Cynthia Kirchner all wore her wares at an intimate garden luncheon at the designer’s Beverly Hills home – while oohing and aahing at a presentation of gowns from Sarbu’s 2014 resort collection.
“The woman who wears my pieces really wants to stand out,” said Sarbu, who recently moved her design studio from New York to Los Angeles, so she can focus on dressing Hollywood. “She’s not the guest at the party, she’s the host, and someone that really knows herself well.” Next to her as co-host was stylist Deb Waknin, who took the number nine spot on THR's Most Powerful Hollywood Stylists list in 2012.
Notable pieces from Sabru's next collection included a white one-shoulder silk crepe gown with a sheer detail that reveals the wearer’s entire side, requiring that no underwear be worn.
“That was my favorite, it’s modest yet super sexy,” said Red Widow actress Radha Mitchell. Flame-haired thespian Odessa Rae was in love with the Sarbu’s bold colors, especially the turquoise and crimson in the collection. “I grew up in India and color is so important to me,” she said, wearing a form-fitting pale blue lace Lorena Sarbu mini dress. “In fact, I make a point of never wearing black.” Decades owner and Bravo reality personality Cameron Silver approved of what he saw, too. “It’s very red carpet and Hollywood friendly,” said the Dukes of Melrose star. “There’s something about a designer who lives in this city and understands the pulse of how an actress wants to dress. She’s a strong, vital player in the red carpet game.”
With a stand-out team working for her behind the scenes (her VP of sales helped build Marchesa from the ground up, her showroom reps Alexander McQueen amongst others, while other team members have worked with Versace and Valentino) logic indeed points to Sarbu snatching a share of the carpet in the coming season. Until then, party hostesses note: the collection — cocktail items in which typically fall in the mid-five figures — is available at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Hugo Nicholson and Hirshleifer’s.