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L.A.M.B.: Stefani's House of Fun

Renata Espinosa
September 06th, 2007 @ 00:01 AM - New York


Music references are common on the runway, and of course by now we are used to seeing Pete Doherty dopplegangers in porkpie hats running amuck in dirty clubs, thanks to Hedi Slimane's influence at Dior Homme.

So, who else but Gwen Stefani would have more right to revive early eighties ska/punk, complete with ankle-length stovepipes, checkers and tartans galore - something punks have been co-opting for decades and still a swift multi-million dollar business for brands like Tripp NYC, who sell the look to today's youth at Hot Topic via the myth of Trash and Vaudeville.

After all, Stefani's band No Doubt started as a ska band, so the look is near and dear, with the feminine versions of schoolboy blazers with contrasting piping, cuffed shorts, argyle sweaters paired with button-down shirts and ties, bomber jackers in leopard-print satin and plaid "swinging" blazers all set to a soundtrack of early '80s ska revivalists Madness and The Specials - even the video projections at the end of the runway were like being in the video for "Ghost Town," with scenes of driving around on abandoned city streets.

But just as the second wave of ska bands looked back to the '50s and '60s, so did Stefani, and there were mod references as well, most notably in sequined shift dresses in graphic black and white houndstooth and a mod lace "target" a-line shift.

Stefani faltered on her evening looks, with awkward mid-calf hemlines and cheap-looking fabrics that made the dresses look as though they were pulled from a thrift store bargain bin. And though the sexy schoolgirl look is nothing new, Stefani understands it's longstanding appeal, particularly to fans of her and her music. Every guest at the show received a full-sized bottle of the new L.A.M.B. fragrance, a not-so-subtle reminder that at the end of the day, clothes make up a very small fraction of the business. Instead, getting P. Diddy to sit front row next to your husband and adorable baby is the million dollar picture from the show that will have fans lining up in droves for the perfume.

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