Alice + Olivia stages ‘see now/buy now’ festival fashion show and debuts Grateful Dead collection

An elevated view of the runway finale at the Alice + Olivia show at NeueHouse Los Angeles on Wednesday.

An elevated view of the runway finale at the Alice + Olivia show at NeueHouse Los Angeles on Wednesday.

(John Sciulli / Getty Images )

The seasonal music-festival fashion bus and a rapidly accelerating “see-now/buy-now” train collided on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles last week, resulting in the potential for dented pocketbooks for the Coachella crowd.

The happy accident occurred April 13 during a runway presentation by the Alice + Olivia women’s contemporary label in partnership with Neiman Marcus that sent 48 spring 2016 looks down a catwalk at NeueHouse Los Angeles, including a dozen limited-edition looks and pieces from a Grateful Dead-themed capsule collection — all of which were immediately available for purchase online.

Just before the show, Alice + Olivia founder Stacey Bendet, whose husband Eric Eisner is working with Martin Scorsese on a documentary about the Grateful Dead, told us that the capsule collection paying homage to the world’s most famous jam band was originally supposed to hit retail around the time the film was released.


“But the Grateful Dead had such a resurgence that it became a much bigger project,” Bendet said. “So the movie got delayed, and it’s coming out sometime next year.”

Looks from the Alice + Olivia festival-themed fashion show held in L.A. before the first weekend of Coachella.

Looks from the Alice + Olivia festival-themed fashion show held in L.A. before the first weekend of Coachella.

(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

At the same time, Bendet explained, the Alice + Olivia team was trying to find a way to experiment with the increasingly popular “in-season” fashion show — aka “see-now / buy-now” — phenomenon (in which the clothes sent down the runway are available at retail then, instead of six to nine months later). “We were talking about doing a ‘buy-now’ kind of show during [New York] Fashion Week,” she said, “but decided it we’d wait until April when it really was ‘buy-now’ since the clothes would be [hitting] the stores. That’s how the idea came to tie it into a festival kick-off show — and show some of the Grateful Dead pieces at the same time.”

For those of you keeping track at home, this means that the runway show staged in L.A. Wednesday included some pieces that first came down the catwalk during the spring-summer 2016 New York Fashion Week shows last September, as well as pieces from the same collection that weren’t shown on the runway at all. (As a general rule, bigger brands showcase just an edited-down version of each season’s collection on the runway.)

The resulting runway collection, new pieces and old, put the freewheeling Alice + Olivia spin on a range of music festival staples and ‘70s silhouettes; high-waisted, flare-legged pants, denim jackets festooned with embroidered patches, floral-print jumpsuits, fringe tanks and off-the-shoulder tops.

Necks, ears and fingers were accessorized with jewelry by Jennifer Meyer and Roseark, a range of festival-appropriate hairstyles were created by Paul Norton (who used a new Joico product called InstaTint to add temporary dashes and streaks of color to many a mane) and some looks were finished with Wilhelm floral headpieces.

The Grateful Dead capsule pieces that hit the runway riffed on the colorful cadre of bears that have been associated with the band since the graphics (designed by Bob Thomas) first appeared on the back cover of the “History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear’s Choice)” in 1973. Here they’ve been accessorized with SoCal appropriate sunnies, marching across a fringed linen tank top ($275), grinning from a cropped intarsia pullover sweater ($348) and, on our favorite piece, cavorting upon a lush green festival field that filled the bottom third of a maxi-length skirt ($1,298).

The show, which was live-streamed via Periscope and Facebook, can be watched at and, where items from the collection can be ordered.

As a side note, there was a fairly impressive roster of bold-faced names on hand — particularly for a one-off, out-of-season runway show on a Wednesday night. Among those we could identify in the midst of the celebrity scrum were a suit-and-tied Moby (whose wife, Deanna Berkeley, is the president of the Alice + Olivia label), Anna Paquin, Garcelle Beauvais, Lydia Hearst, Mischa Barton, Emily Ratajkowski, Whitney Port and, of course, the obligatory Kardashian (Kourtney).


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