Inside Alice and Olivia's Roman Holiday

Alice and Olivia SS17 - S 2016
Sam Reed

After a rock 'n' roll kick, designer Stacey Bendet takes a detour in Italy to find inspiration for her spring collection.

After three collections inspired by the ‘70s and ‘80s art and music scenes, Alice and Olivia's Stacey Bendet has returned to the fairytale romanticism she does best.

“I did The Grateful Dead [capsule], and then I did my fall kind of rock ‘n’ roll show, and then I did my Basquiat collaboration that’s coming out in October, which is a whole 80s, crazy moment,” said the designer in the midst of her spring 2017 presentation on Tuesday afternoon. “I was like, ‘I want a breath of fresh air.’”        

SITTING PRETTY: Alice and Olivia's spring 2017 presentation. (Photos: Sam Reed)

Ever the storyteller, the 38-year-old Manhattanite spun quite an elaborate tale to serve as inspirational guide for striped trousers, rose-printed cocktail dresses and embroidered floor-length skirts, which, with tailored details and cinched-waists, evoked the air of Audrey Hepburn a la Roman Holiday.

“I went to these gardens outside of Rome called Bomarzo," she said. "So we did the whole concept of the show around these little girls who are playing with this book, and they open it up and there are these tarot cards. It transports them into this magical fantasy world with these monster gardens.” 

COMING UP ROSES: Alice and Olivia's spring 2017 presentation. (Photos: Sam Reed)

To showcase the collection, Bendet's talented in-house team (which also erected the incredibly detailed New York City scene for her fall collection earlier this year) built a lush set which borrowed imagery from 18th century tarot cards including Venus statues and gilded cages. As part of the presentation, there was even a tarot card reader onsite who read fortunes to showgoers, while DJ Mia Moretti, accompanied by a live violinist, played classical music. (Nestled between the impressive sets was a customizable denim station showcasing the label's see-now, buy-now capsule collection.)

GARDEN TIME: Alice and Olivia's spring 2017 presentation. (Photos: Sam Reed)

The venue itself was packed with showgoers (Whitney Port and Christina Milian among them). In fact, there was a 20-minute wait just to head in the doors. And between photos and interviews, the woman of the hour herself was being pulled in every direction.

Literally, though, her second-youngest daughter, Scarlett, pulled at Bendet's floor-length "I'm With Her" skirt (a collaboration with L.A. transplant Donald Robertson). "I'm not a Democrat, I'm not a Republican, I'm just with her," she said. "I'm doing an interview," she cooed to Scarlett. "Do you know what that is?"

BLACK AND WHITE: Alice and Olivia's spring 2017 presentation. (Photos: Sam Reed)

Considering her impressive storytelling skills and her knack for set design, not to mention her entertainment industry ties via film producer husband Eric Eisner, would Bendet's  impressive presentations ever lead to something more theatrical, perhaps a film or live show of some sort? "Maybe!" she answered as she twirled away hand-in-hand with her daughter.