Outside Sources

LEE CARTER, STYLE.COM

A lover of camp, Adam Selman put together a clever send-up of '60s bad girls, complete with beehives and a bubblegum-pop soundtrack—like a sassy scene out of a John Waters flick. In fact, that's exactly what the collection was based on, a scene from 

Female Trouble

, when Chiclet Fryer (played by Susan Walsh) talks back to her teacher for reprimanding her outfit. "It's just a skirt and sweater!" she sneers, every bit the ill-tempered delinquent as her partner in crime, Divine's Dawn Davenport. In a moment of pure fandom, Selman delivered the line himself with the same petulant intensity.

So that's how he arrived at the twinset, tweaking and twisting the '60s symbol of virtue until it became "rotten and spoiled." Selman filled out the collection further with gingham schoolgirl uniforms, polo-collared dresses covered in little bows of yarn, a belted midi dress fashioned after a trenchcoat, accordion-pleated skirts, and matching gloves. There were also bobby socks, oversize fuzzy sweaters, and rib knits—a first for the designer—as well as cat-eye shades in collaboration with Les Specs.

Most of it managed to feel contemporary, not costumey, even though Selman's models stayed in character throughout, sauntering around the runway while smacking gum and twisting their hair. During rehearsal, the show's stylist, Mel Ottenberg (who also counts Rihanna, a bad girl in her own way, as a client), directed the girls to "stare into space like you're stoned." That's exactly what they did, to the delight of audience member Amy Sedaris, whose short-lived TV show

Strangers With Candy

, a sort of updated 

Female Trouble

, was surely another cult inspiration.