Pat Cleveland walked her first Los Angeles runway Wednesday night at Kornit Fashion Week.
She brought her signature freestyle dance-walk to designer Julia Clancey’s disco fever resortwear show at the Pacific Stock Exchange in downtown L.A., wearing a sequin-embellished caftan made using Kornit’s digital printing machines.
“Julia is a delight. It’s like a surprise I’ve been wanting to happen in my life because my Halston is gone and there were no more caftans coming my way,” said Cleveland, who was recently introduced to the designer by a mutual friend. “This caftan is absolutely divine. She’s such a joyous person.…We love spiritual things and gardens; I appreciate she puts her time into how to make things gently. When she put this on me, it was like butter melting.”
While one would imagine Cleveland has a closet full of caftans, it’s not so.
“I just have a few from Halston that Joe Eula painted on, but they’re getting pretty old and they’re museum pieces.”
It’s also surprising in her 50-plus-year career she hasn’t ever done an L.A. show.
“I did something for ‘Love Boat,’ but that was television. It was really fun; Gloria Vanderbilt was there, Mackie was there, we had dinner with Lucille Ball and Carol Channing — she brought her own dinner to dinner,” Cleveland said. “We love television and Hollywood…but they tried to separate everything not like today. In those days, it was you can’t do runway and movies, now it’s a big wonderful freestyle.
“Walking for me is past a mind-set,” said the 71-year-old model, adding that she’s been battling neuropathy in her feet (not that you could tell on the runway). “When you’re in the light of yourself, and under those lights, and walking to the light, it’s a heavenly feeling.”
“Pat embodies everything I do. She’s like a rare bird,” said Clancey, whose brand specializes in the 1970s siren look, including pleated lamé dresses, metallic fringe tiered minidresses, sequin jumpsuits, turbans and more, all of which would have looked at home at Studio 54.
On Wednesday, she showed her signature embellished pieces, alongside more casual bikinis, cover-ups, robes and shorts and in whimsical modernist, geometric and rainbow martini glass prints.
“I’ve been wanting to do a print collection for a while, but the problem was finding an ethical solution because that’s the direction I’m heading in,” said Clancey, a Brit who first got into fashion in London with her Willie Mays line. “When I got approached for this, it was perfect, because I was in the middle of doing a lot of fabric research because I just did my first sustainable collection and the colors were kind of boring. So I really feel this is it, this is a new direction for me, using signature styles and introducing more loungewear. I wanted to develop that and make it more accessible.”
After launching in Tel Aviv in March 2020, Kornit Fashion Week bowed in L.A. this week, with 22 shows focused on inclusivity and sustainability. Each designer showed original pieces created with the Israel-American manufacturing company’s digital printing technologies, which minimize water use and toxic materials in dyes.