NEW YORK — A number of decidedly unusual things stood out at last Thursday’s carnival-themed runway event held by the year-old design collective Form. For starters, there was someone in a life-size polar bear costume who danced around before the show. There were the tables of unconventional circus grub: vodka-infused lemon gelato and cheesecake-flavored cotton candy. And then, of course, there were the models, all styled up to costumey Cirque du Soleil effect with outrageous hair, makeup, props and accoutrements to match. It was the designers’ way of drawing attention to their pre-spring collection.

With the ever-packed fashion week squeezing the smaller designers, Form creative director Jerry Tam decided to stage a show at the start of summer, free from the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them schedule of September’s fashion calendar.

“During fashion week, everybody’s working, nobody really has the time to get excited,” explained design director Jamie Rosenthal. “Now, everyone’s in their downtime. I don’t think people were expecting it, but we want them to get excited, and it’s perfect [doing it at this time].”

As for the clothes themselves, the quiet, all-white lineup may have belied the theatrics of the show, but the multiple-strapped frocks and tops — think madman gone scissor-happy in the atelier — certainly kept the garments busy. At times, the effect was summer seductive, as in the pleated cotton jersey skeleton dress or the pleated tank with chiffon straps; other pieces, however, proved more distracting. But while some of the clothes may not have made full sense, the collection was shown, as Tam said, “in an entertaining way.”

This story first appeared in the June 28, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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