Ava Sambora makes White Trash Beautiful in runway modeling debut


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Los Angeles Fashion Weekend at Sunset Gower Studios kicked off Friday night with the debut of White Trash Beautiful, a new contemporary women’s line by designer Nikki Lund and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. The latter was a no-show for the line’s inaugural trip down the runway (the rocker was apparently ‘stuck in Canada,’ according to the brand’s PR folks), and the fact that the evening also marked the runway debut of his daughter with Heather Lockear, 12-year-old Ava Sambora, made it feel like the rest of us were party to the Hollywood version of missing your daughter’s starring role in the school play. (It was a feeling underscored by the fact that Locklear was visibly tearing up as she recorded her daughter’s coltish ambles down the runway -- wearing a tiara, to boot -- from her seat in the front row.)

Although the pieces of the collection included barely there skirts and skintight motorcycle pants as well as more formal floor-length gowns, the overall feel was unmistakably that of groupie wear -- as if Sambora’s contributions to the line might have come from years of wailing away on his guitar and staring into the audience, with Lund’s design skills channeling those into a collection that touched on every rock-'n'-roll dirty-girl cliché: leopard-print leggings, skintight zebra-print tops, raw-edged distressed-leather ponchos, top hats, polka dots, sparkly capes, bias-cut pieces and a definitely not-safe-for-work zipper fetish that included vertical pubic-region zip closures.


A more modest use of zippers was as edging for ruffles on a floor-length gown and a cloud of zipper metal at the midriff, creating a memorable Judy Jetson meets ‘Jersey Shore’ vibe that was easily the standout piece of the night (with all due apologies to the Vegas-showgirl-style peacock-feather headdress that looked like something out of a Cher video).

In an interview with Lund the day before the runway debut, the designer explained that White Trash Beautiful will be sold at three price points (the word she actually used was ‘tiers’ which makes them sound like ampitheatre ticket prices) ‘24K’ which will retail from $20 to $150, ‘Platinum’ pieces which will sell for $60 to $1,000, and ‘Black,’ which will consist solely of custom pieces that range from $200 to $5,000.

‘We really wanted this line to be accessible to everybody,’ Lund told me at the time.

As long as they’re with the band.

-- Adam Tschorn the runway modeling debut of Ava Sambora (top), the daughter of Richie Sambora and Heather Locklear, and dresses heavy on the zipper-trim embellishments (bottom). Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times

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