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Nestled just beneath the hills of Hollywood, Petit Ermitage drew in starlets to its rooftop Thursday night for a private candlelit dinner to fete the debut of label Carmella.

The Los Angeles-based brand is a result of a classic love story between former model Katheryn Rice and the silver screen. “The line is named after my grandmother Carmella,” she said. “We shared a passion for watching old films together. Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire — those were the first stars that I loved. The fashion, the way things draped across the body, I loved it.” While Rice attributes aesthetic inspiration to film, her modeling career was the perfect platform to transition into design. “I really paid attention when I was modeling to quality, wearability and how the clothes made me feel,” she said.

This story first appeared in the March 24, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Her efforts did not go unnoticed as the evening’s host Margot Robbie recalled her introduction to the brand through stylist Cristina Ehrlich. “When I first tried on a few Carmella pieces, I didn’t know it was a new brand. I literally was just like, ‘Oh, this is perfect, it fits me perfectly. It’s the kind of thing I like to wear.’” She continued, “It’s comfortable, which is a big one for me. I just don’t like wearing uncomfortable things for too long. It’s a very feminine feeling, but it’s not too girly. I’m not a girly girl.”

Shortly before dinner was served, Jessica Paré said hello to Rice. “We’ve had a chance to chat,” the actress said. “She’s such a lovely person. I really do appreciate her attention to detail. It’s something that really appeals to me. I guess that’s sort of obvious, though. Who likes the designer who doesn’t care about details?”

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