A few months ago, Bebe announced they were launching a line inspired by the fashion of 90210 (the New Coke version, not the classic one). I haven’t watched since the first season, but given that it’s a soap on the CW, 90210 is required by law to be 80% fashion porn. So, when I heard that trashy-chic store Bebe was taking on the challenge of adapting the style for your average business-savvy stripper, I was understandably excited. Like a hunter taking down a skankily dressed bull moose, I knew that this line could provide my blog sustenance through the cold winter ahead.
Then I saw the collection and lost all interest. Apparently, Bebe saw this as a challenge to create the most boring, uninspired collection they could manage.
The biggest problem I have is that all these dresses are too girly and sweet. Don’t get me wrong – I really like this dress. It’s cute, it’s contemporary, and it’s a gorgeous color. If this dress were being sold at Ann Taylor Loft, I would consider it a success.
But when you’re shopping at Bebe, you expect the dress to be tighter than Shannon Doherty’s smile and shorter than her patience. If Serena van der Woodsen wouldn’t wear this dress, it is too conservative for Bebe and definitely not suited for 90210.
Again: too sweet, almost bordering on a little too precious. This dress doesn’t scream “I replaced my friend’s antipsychotic meds with placebos!” It is not ready for a very important episode about drug use. It doesn’t even declare “I’ve made my choice, and I choose me.” If anything, it says “I’ve made my choice, and I choose to wait till marriage.” It’s either the sluttiest purity ring ceremony dress or the most virginal slip dress ever – except it doesn’t do either well enough to really fall in either column.
It might – emphasis on might – work if 90210 adds your standard Girl With A Past Looking For A New Start. You know the type: at her old school she had a reputation, but now she’s at West Beverly and she wants guys to like her for who she is. Of course, since teen dramas tend to have as much nuance as Tori Spelling’s acting, the girl would dress in clothes that are supposed to look innocent, but her natural harlotocity would seep through, and she would wear white bustiers to class. This dress (paired with a push-up bra and stilettos) would fit right into that wardrobe.
Is this dress for a thrilling “Erin Silver interviews for an internship” plotline? When did Bebe start selling clothes that could reasonably be worn to a business meeting or meeting your boyfriend’s parents? There’s no meeting the parents on 90210, unless the parents are met when a character hooks up with their significant other’s step-sibling.
A romper makes sense for this line. No, let me rephrase that: a well-designed romper makes sense for this line, given that, much like Valerie Malone, one-pieces just won’t go away. I guess this is supposed to be the trendy, lounging by the pool option. Bebe’s site describes it as “witty.” I would describe it as “serviceable,” which means that it can be worn in public without violating health codes. It’s like the designers devoted as little energy as possible to this shapeless jumper. They couldn’t bother to shape the top a little? Maybe make it look less like it was produced in a Home Ec class? Guys, a self-tie is no substitute for tailoring. It just means that all the extra fabric will bunch weirdly when the wearer cinches the ties in an attempt at creating some semblance of a waist.
And, much as I like the color, this is one of the rare times when a print might help a romper. How is this not zebra or leopard print? Add some zebra striping and it instantly becomes 37% more interesting (and the print can help conceal the total lack of effort put into the cut).
Bebe, I expected better(ish?) out of you. 90210 will be returning in the fall for yet another season of love triangles and drug addictions, so you have three months to get your act together and start designing some clothes worth wearing down the halls of West Beverly.
Also, if you want to read something wildly amusing, check out this character wiki for Donna Martin. The article highlights important events from Donna Martin’s life, such as:
Donna covers for the new Rose Queen, Lisa, at her convenience-store job in South-Central L.A. and feels sympathy for a ghetto boy she catches shoplifting. Donna forces Joe to drive her over to the boy’s house and learns that the boy, Isaiah, and his two siblings are not supervised at home.
Joe plans the perfect gift for Donna on her 21st birthday that same day; a talking parrot.
David and Joe skip out on the After Dark party to help Donna peruse her escaped parrot.