In contrast to the slinky sophisticates on a St. John Knits Inc. runway, the models at Wet Seal Inc.'s recent fashion show were all youthful exuberance. And attitude.
As the music throbbed, "You will like my sense of style," they loped and strutted--one even skipped--down the runway, one model with curly pigtails, others with stick-straight locks. Their expressions shifted from sugar sweet to sullen, looks familiar to any parent.
They wore all manner of styles, from peasant blouses and cropped pants to shiny halter tops and hip-hugging skirts. One ensemble that prompted applause: jeans under a slit black dress, topped with a camouflage vest. Accessories included feathered purses, kerchiefs tied around the head and shoes with more tread than a tire.
Staged at the company's Foothill Ranch headquarters, it was Wet Seal's second annual fashion show, a preview of fall fashions for buyers, the press and Wall Street analysts.
Entertaining throughout, the show lurched into high gear when the guys showed up to model Wet Seal's unisex line, Limbo Lounge.
Playing to an appreciative audience, they out-strutted their female counterparts, gyrating down the runway in loose-legged jeans, retro shirts, unlaced shoes, sideways caps and even a cowboy hat with flames.
They slapped hands when they passed on the runway and openly gawked at the female models. At one point, a female model lay down and a male model jumped over her with his skateboard.
When Chief Executive Kathy Bronstein took the stage at the show's close, she praised the presentation with a word: "Wow."