By Vanessa Voigt
POSTED September 12, 2011
MBFW NEW YORK
bebe Rejuvenates Its Look While Maintaining Its Mass Appeal  
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With Bebe’s new design consultant Charles Benton taking reins over the artistic vision of the retail brand’s spring 2012 collection, a new aesthetic unfolded. It serves the same market with
signature form embracing tanks, tailored suit separates, staple shorts, and frill, but elevates the label with a refreshing take; this is way after its party-club look had lost its formative appeal.

Charles Benton swayed little from his 1900’s Gibson Girls inspiration, with accurate recreations of the fashions worn by these former models of beauty. With a great deal of the collection, it
could be more specifically themed ‘Gibson Girl’s undergarments’, with sexy, slip-like dress, literal or implied corsets, and one-piece underwear with frills. The Gibson Girl gowns were
reconstructed as design elements for effective daywear, with puffed sleeves, often cuffed in satin ribbons, lace and ruffle trimmings, elegant fanned out arms, and true-to-the-era button
details.

Benton did fuse modern approaches, such as the use of sheer, which he often created with parlor tablecloth-like embroidery work. It was all done with taste while maintaining commercial
appeal. The only piece that may be a bit too fashion-forward for this sector was a long sheer maxi skirt with strips of cascading panels. In a sea of white, this piece, however, was the most
vibrant.

These looks are ideal for easy, romantic, summer and spring days, made even more comforting with luxurious fabrics - such as lightweight silk and cotton voile, embroidered silk, and
stretch linen. The collection boasts of well placed and beautifully crafted detail on garments that possess a functional quality, all made possible through smart creative insight.

The only point of disappointment with this collection is somewhat of a huge oversight. Tackling a Gibson Girl motif and not embrace the hourglass figure they were famous for? This is
ironic coming from
Bebe who epitomizes clothing built for the sexy female form. Where Bebe missed sexy in the form of a shapely cut, they made up for with clever arrangements and      
lady-like touches that left just a little to the imagination.
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