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Auto show haute couture; more models donning car-inspired designer duds

November 18, 2011|By Angel Jennings
  • A model shows off the Cadillac Ciel Concept vehicle at the L.A. Auto Show Center.
A model shows off the Cadillac Ciel Concept vehicle at the L.A. Auto Show… (Allen J. Schaben )

Shiny new cars might be the main attraction at the L.A. Auto Show as it opens to the public on Friday, but it's the women presenters -- many of them clad in designer dresses this year -- who may steal the show.

More automakers are going for the professional, high-fashion look this year. Porsche models are donning Alexander Wang and Toyota presenters are wearing Max Mara dresses.

At the Jeep Cherokee display during industry preview day Thurday, two men anxiously waited to grab the attention of a statuesque brunette dressed in a body-hugging Robert Rodriguezleather dress. She caught their eyes and struck a pose as they snapped pictures of her next to the new SUV.

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The men huddled to compare photos. Satisfied, they walked away.

"At our company all the men gravitate toward the models," said Wally Cooper, who works for an automotive merchandising company.

But they're not just well-dressed models. Many women undergo the same training as car dealers, earning them the title of product presenter.  Ask them any question about the car, and some cases cars, and these women will answer with confidence.

"We are here representing the manufacturer so we have to know our stuff," said Shea Pegues, decked in a cleavage-baring Stella McCartney one-piece pantsuit alongside the new Chrysler 300.

Pegues' attire was handpicked by famed West Coast rapper Dr. Dre, whose Beats by Dr.Dre sound system is featured in the 2012 Chrysler 300.  The rapper wanted an urban, sexy feel to the model representing his brand.  


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-- Angel Jennings

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