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Art of fashion at museum

The Laguna Art Museum morphed into an exclusive hot spot Tuesday night when sportswear company Hurley held its spring preview fashion show there.

Upstairs in the museum library, all was calm as the models got ready. Genevieve Morrison read the newly released Harry Potter book while waiting for her makeup, and a fellow model caught up on homework.

But the atmosphere downstairs was frenetic; a deejay spun tunes as hundreds lined up at a mojito bar. Servers hand-passed mashed potato martinis and cheeseburgers.

Teenage “young influencers” with designer bags jockeyed for positions alongside the catwalk while Hurley employees and buyers mingled nearby, admiring the art of Rick Griffin, which hung on the walls.

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The show coincided with the first major exhibition of Griffin’s works, “Heart and Torch,” at the museum.

“I just thought it was the perfect setting, since ‘Heart and Torch’ is being put on by Hurley,” said Jenna Wilson, director of design for Hurley Young Contemporary.

“To have it in that environment with all that art surrounding it — it was just ideal. It really immersed you in what it meant to be the Hurley brand.”

“We love these guys,” founder Bob Hurley said of the museum.

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Hurley’s other association with Laguna Beach came earlier this year, when Laguna Beach High School students participated in the company’s second “Walk the Walk” runway contest at its headquarters in Costa Mesa.

The contest has lingering effects on the designers, Wilson said.

“A lot of things that they thought were cool are still inspiring us,” she said. “Those girls and guys influence us all the time; they’re in and out of here a lot. Some were just here earlier today trying on clothes. They have a lot of feedback that we find really valuable.”

The show was like a virtual preview of what will be seen on Main Beach next year. The collection featured vibrant color blocking, a faint ‘80s vibe and the ever-present minidress.

The spring collection’s swimsuits drew attention from the crowd, with the Hurley name largely emblazoned across both bikini pieces.

Wilson said the pieces are indicative of what the typical buyer wants to see.

“Our girl loves Hurley, and she wants to have lots of branding,” Wilson said.

For a video, click here.

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