The House Loses, but Vintage Vegas Takes the Jackpot

What if you threw a party and no one came?

Organizers of Friday's "Pimps, Players and Hustlers Ball" at Club Blue at the Empire Ballroom in Costa Mesa found out the answer the hard way. Too bad, too, because the fashion parade presented by Electric Chair in Huntington Beach deserved a much greater audience than the few dozen on hand.

On the runway, it was vintage Vegas with clothes that would have been favored by old-time players, hustlers and the women who adorned their arms. (Ironically, most of the designers whose works were on view, and the industry locals who would have supported the event, were en route to Las Vegas for a trade show.)

There were sparkling cocktail numbers trimmed in dyed feathers from Hooch, perfect for Dean Martin's dolls. Angel Boy took a harder approach in flat vinyl suits detailed with leopard fur for her and its signature 747-wing collar vinyl jackets in bright red, black and a duo-tone blue and black for him. A couple dressed in these confident togs could make even casino veterans nervous.

Relish recalled Nancy Sinatra when she appeared with Elvis in "Speedway," with plenty of hot pants and minuscule minis. But instead of white, models wore red vinyl with glittery striped halters and vinyl go-go boots. The theme continued with Paper Doll's faux fur minis and hilarious tiny Ts with teasing flavors Cherry, Licorice and Vanilla emblazoned in sparkling iron-ons.

Players who prefer an earlier era, say the '40s, can get lucky with Paper Doll's dice print men's shirt and matching girlfriend dress. And HiFi Mfg's nylon shirt with a card suit print or silver satin-sheen shirt--both shown with baggy pants, skinny suspenders and creepers--can make any guy look like a winner.

Overwhelmingly, the best bet in alternative fashion lately is the cleaner, stylish and glamorous turn designers are taking away from the "athleisure" looks of last year.

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