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Alice & Olivia Launches Spring Line With Mad Tea Party

Alice & Olivia eschewed the runway for cupcakes and cocktails at its Bryant Park boutique.

Alice & Olivia's Bryant Park boutique was re-created with an Alice in Wonderland theme.

Photo: BizBash

Drawing upon the classic children’s story Alice in Wonderland, Alice & Olivia hosted a mad tea party of its own on Tuesday to debut designer Stacey Bendet’s spring 2008 collection and offer a sneak peek at her footwear line for Payless. To create a whimsical look for the presentation, Bendet called upon old friends like Gilberto Santana, the visual director for Henri Bendel, and his ex-wife, Claudia, as well as cartoonist Elanna Allen.

“I like being able to take people through the collection and to show them how each piece can be worn,” Bendet said. “Wonderland was an inspiration for me for spring—colors, whimsical, carefree clothing, and lush layered dresses that are almost like candy and cakes. A tea-party presentation seemed to be the perfect way to show these pieces.”

Inside the store—conveniently located across the street from the tents at Bryant Park—the show featured models casually posed amidst elaborate sets created with oversize mushrooms, stuffed peacocks, scattered playing cards, and large yellow-and-black illustrations. Guests mingled among models and sampled gourmet “fluffernutter” sandwiches handmade by Andrew Rosen (a co-owner of Alice & Olivia), cupcakes from Crumbs bakery, and cocktails served in teacups.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly identified the visual director for Henri Bendel. Gilberto Santana is the visual director for Henri Bendel.