Photo: Marsha Olson, local clothing designer, painter and impresario, hosts a fashion show at Club Octane Friday.
There''s a curvy blond model in a purple dress standing, hand on hip, in Marsha Olson''s living room. "This one reminds me of deco, yet disco," says Olson, who designed the clingy frock with a diagonal hem cut almost up to the model''s hip. One shoulder''s bare, and the other''s draped in an asymmetrical scarf.
"It''s Miami ''54," says DJ Deno Darby, siting on a leopard-print couch, with zebra throw pillows, flipping thought a book of hairstyles. Lounge grooves play in the background.
"Very sexy," agrees hairstylist Ismael Bucio.
"I have to say, it looks fucking great," Olson adds.
Olson''s a Monterey clothing designer and artist with a funky style and vintage sensibility. This weekend, the Peninsula will get a taste at "Pimp''in in Paris," billed as a "funkdafied evening of music and a fierce runway fashion collection."
Although the event at Club Octane calls itself a runway show, it looks to be more of a performance art piece-featuring Olson''s clothing and her large-scale, dark oil paintings, accompanied by Deno on the turntable and Bucio''s hair designs. Dancers, models and musicians are friends and family.
And while the name evokes pimps-and-ho''s culture, Olson''s quick to point out she does not condone prostitution. "To me, Pimp''in means chic, glamorous, stylish," she says. "It''s really about working the crowd. Feeling it.
"I don''t want to do a typical fashion show, where the models showcase the collection for editors and buyers in the fashion world," Olson says. "These are all people who are aspiring, who want to get some experience, some exposure. And I want people to realize that there are people like us who live here."
"It''s really conservative here," Darby says. "What rules here is people who already have money. If you''re an aspiring artist, it''s really hard."
Olson: "Or they just think you''re a weirdo." Darby: "Maybe this will open their eyes."
Olson says her ''70s childhood and her fashion-forward family inspires her clothing and her paintings. She''s the daughter of a German/Swedish Naval officer and a Japanese seamstress. Her maternal grandmother was a kimono maker in Japan, and her mom studied clothing design in the states.
Olson herself studied fashion and fine arts the Parsons School of Design in L.A., and has shown her art on the Peninsula, in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
She met up with Darby and Bucio in the early ''90s club scene. They have a tendency to finish each other''s sentences, and their playful banter''s infectious. They''re all "pimp''in" as Olson would say-there''s as much original style in this cramped apartment as in an entire block of Carmel boutiques.
A model, Veronica Moreno, is wedged between a clothing rack full of Olson''s designs-funky jackets, faux fur and feathers, animal prints, vintage fabrics and vibrant colors-and a leopard-print easy chair.
Olson pulls out a short, black dress with long, zebra-print, butterfly-wing sleeves-"cocktail funk," she says. It''s hanging in front of a tweed suit with black feathers sewn on the bottom of the skirt and sleeves. "This one''s ''50s couture with a modern touch," she says. I''ve got my eye on a long, sleeveless fuschia number with a cowl neck and high-slit skirt.
Globe-shaped lanterns hang from the ceiling. A huge oil painting covers a wall. Across the room, fabric remnants-including sky-blue faux mink-share space with kitchy toys. A white, fluffy tail-less cat flops on the floor and doesn''t seem to mind when Olson throws a black feather boa around his neck.
Olson pins, snips and shoots a digital photo of the Moreno before sending her back into the changing room, a.k.a. the hall, with a sheer, lace dress, a gold tube top and matching hot pants.
Now that Moreno''s gone, I make my break for the clothing rack. I innocently pull out a glittery tube dress and stop at the fuschia one.
"Ohhh, this is great," I say.
"Try it on, girl," Darby says, to nods of encouragement from Olson and Bucio.
I''m not a hard sale. I try on the dress and assume a less-than-vogue pose. I''m workin'' it now. I''ve got it.
Friday, Oct. 11 at Club Octane, 321 Alvarado, Monterey. 8pm, pre-show Soiree; 9:30 show time. 646-9244.