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Flash Pants

Designer Stacey Bendet took denim out of the doldrums. Now she’s making menswear similarly sexy.

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There was a moment in college when Stacey Bendet, bound for Wall Street, Rollerbladed to a job interview in orange pants and a fur bomber jacket, took one look at her fellow interviewees, and Rollerbladed right out. “I don’t do knee-length,” she says. Instead, Bendet, 26, became her own CEO and began building Websites for fashion houses. Then, amid the denim tyranny of 2001, a fashion epiphany: Why not make pants in bold colors and funky textures with the cut of low-rise jeans? With a friend, she started alice + olivia, staging a show in which models wore pants with Partridge Family–style vertical stripes and not much else besides some strategically placed bouquets. Requests poured in from Mena Suvari, Kate Hudson, and Paris and Nicky, as well as from Barneys and Fred Segal. Bendet has since unveiled sexy sherbet-hued cashmere sweaters and, last week, a new men’s line, Hobson 26. But, she says, “what I’d really love to do is shoes.” Jimmy Choo, you’ve been warned.


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