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Page 2 / IDEAS, TRENDS, STYLE AND BUZZ | SoCal Confidential

Well, What Have We Here?

October 30, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

There were a few more push-up bras and garter belts than usual at the corner of Hollywood and Vine on Thursday night. Agent Provocateur, the English line of naughty knickers, celebrated the opening of its first U.S. boutique, on Melrose Avenue, with a boudoir bash and burlesque fashion show at the new club Deep. The lingerie line was founded five years ago by Joseph Corre (son of British fashion diva Vivienne Westwood), and his wife, Serena Rees. After opening shops in London's Soho and Knightsbridge, they chose Melrose for their first stateside outpost because, Rees said, "we felt women here really care about being women. There is a lot of breast enhancement, they are natural showoffs and they love to show a bit of extra flesh and a bit of bra strap. It's fabulous for us."

The party also marked the opening night for Deep, designed to evoke decadent 1930s Berlin, according to owner Ivan Kane (who also owns the Melrose Avenue bar Kane). The club was designed by Fred Sutherland, whose credits include Red, Fred 62 and New York's Palladium. In the main room, he's created a red-light-district effect with framed two-way mirrors above the bar. When illuminated, two of the mirrors reveal enclosures where fishnetted "Fosse"-style dancers will perform nightly. VIP rooms in the back are converted walk-in freezers equipped with separate entrances, private bars and video monitors, so guests can spy on clubgoers in other rooms.

Actress Rose McGowan, who emceed the fashion show, said she is a huge fan of the line and was given $5,000 worth of the lingerie last month as a birthday gift from her fiance, Marilyn Manson. "I'm so glad they landed on this shore," gushed the actress, who added that the line's naughty sensibility reminds her of an old cartoon of a priggish, bewigged English judge, who is spanking a girl under his desk. All right-y then.

Showing off her dime-sized diamond engagement ring, McGowan said she'd held her breath when Manson proposed, afraid of what he'd picked out on his own. (Luckily, his taste in women's jewelry is more conservative than his taste in . . . well, everything else.)

The climax of the sultry soiree was the "Lessons in Lingerie" show modeled by members of the burlesque performance troupe Velvet Hammer. The fashion show was late due to a string of production snafus the likes of which you might expect at a high school play. There was a traffic accident outside the club, McGowan couldn't find her bra, and a tiki god prop broke over a guest's head. Thanks to a steady stream of champagne and vodka, the crowd kept its cool.

Eventually, the kinks were worked out and the kinky business began. Spotlights created a smoky cabaret atmosphere on the catwalk as models with names like Senorita Bunny Pants stripped down to lacy nothings.

Afterward, actress Portia de Rossi, who has appeared in her underwear on "Ally McBeal," said she was impressed. "I liked it because it seemed fashion-oriented. It was for the girls wearing it more than the men who are going to see it," she said. After a beat, the blond, looking very "Addicted to Love" in a pinstripe pantsuit and man's tie, revealed that cotton days-of-the-week underwear are really more her speed.

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