Spring Into Summer at the Valley Ho: White-Hot Fashion, Cool Audience

This past Friday night, fashionistas (and fashionistos?) from across the Valley packed into the pool area at Scottsdale's retro-chic Hotel Valley Ho for the 4th Annual Spring into Summer fashion show featuring Beach Bunny Swimwear and up-and-coming L.A. designer Katharine Story.

If the show was any indication, this summer's fashion trends will highlight two opposite ends of the spectrum: minimalist chic and flowy sheaths with over-the-top sparkles, patterns and colors. 

Photo by Victor Palagano

​Hopefully you're not prone to spills or unfortunate time-of-the-month accidents, because white is the new black. Not only was the runway filled with blanc fashions, some of the best-dressed guests were also wearing this hot summer shade.

Reactions to the show were mixed. After a parade of stick women in monk robes and yoga pants, one entire row departed for the bar. Several other rows cleared out before the swimsuit show began.

One male guest remarked that he'd seen another gentleman loading up with armfuls of promotional towels offered to the fashion show's premier guests. "I paid $700 for a table, so I'm getting as much stuff out of this as I can," the towel-hogger quipped. Considering tables and cabanas were $325-375 each, either he bought out several cabanas or his math skills were getting seriously fuzzy after a few Skyy Vodka cocktails.

Local fashion maven and budding designer Maya Schmitt stuck around until the show's end -- perhaps because she'd scored the night's raffle prize, a Maurice Lacroix watch. "I'm going to sound like a terrible bitch," she began when I asked her opinion on the night's designs. "Some of them were sub-par."

Detail of photo by Victor Palagano

​Schmitt liked this multicolored sequin dress, but thought many of Katharine Story's other designs looked like muumuus. She wasn't the only one. I'd heard at least three other women making the same comment, and it was the exact word I'd written down in my notes.

As much as designers seem to adore shapeless dresses, they just don't look good on anyone. "If you have a dress form, and you drape cool fabric over it... well, you can do that yourself," Schmitt quipped. A brown outfit with a cowl hood she referred to as looking like "an Ewok from Star Wars." The swimsuits fared better with the crowd. Most of Beach Bunny's designs were "safe" -- i.e. monochromatic bikinis with asymmetrical details. A few were spunkier, like this purple two-piece.

Schmitt, who'd made the jewel encrusted LBD she wore to the party, was one of the only people who seemed to appreciate the evening's riskier fashions. Especially this feather dress, which elicited snickers from the crowd.

Photo by Victor Palagano

​"I heard some people talking crap," she told New Times. "But as far as making things goes, that one was a work of art." Of course, Schmitt agreed she'd never wear it in public. But fashion shows aren't always about what's wearable. "If you're in New York and you go to a full-blown couture show, nobody wears that."