By Anna Sekula Posted July 20, 2009, 5:56 PM EDT
With input from a new marketing partner, retailer Charlotte Russe is changing its look, and to show it off, the mall-based purveyor of girly clothing hosted a preview of its fall collection on Wednesday night. A coming out party of sorts, the cocktail reception and fashion presentation displayed designs styled with the help of new advisor Eric Daman, creative consultant and stylist of Gossip Girl.
To aid in the repositioning of the brand, Karin Toranto, director of marketing for San Diego-based Charlotte Russe Holding, collaborated with Harrison & Shriftman, whose national creative director, Ryan Jordan, oversaw the decor and production of the event. And like many retailers and designers these days, the show of clothing was done through vignettes, with motifs that spread from the outfits to the decor and food. Some 250 guests—including Gossip Girl stars Michelle Trachtenberg and Jessica Szohr—hit Openhouse Gallery for the show, which also included a performance by band Young Love.
Making use of the white studio-like space, the production crew positioned models and mannequins on three platforms throughout the venue, each with a style theme—“Brit punk,” “girly grunge,” and “heirloom romance"—and matching scenic props. Refurbished chairs and tables spray-painted with graffiti, a faux brick wall, and Union Jack-emblazoned surfaces marked the Brit punk area, while a stage with musical instruments provided the setting for girly grunge, and for Young Love's performance later in the evening. The heirloom romance vignette, which looked like a scene out of Gossip Girl, resembled an Upper East side powder room with a vanity table, a projection of a chandlier, and stately chairs that matched the gold platform.
To accompany each of these sections, Jordan and Toranto enlisted Shiraz Events to cater items like tea sandwiches of blue cheese, tomato, and Branston pickle for Brit punk, mini sliders for girly grunge, and seared foie gras bites with a cherry shallot compote and garnished with gold leaf for heirloom romance.
In addition to the band's set and tunes spun by DJ Cat Hartwell, the event also include a couple of interactive components to keep guests entertained. MVS Studio shone images from a photo booth onto the wall, where it also projected text messages from attendees.