When getting dolled up for an evening out, I look to Duchess Kate for style inspiration: timeless and classy, with longer hems, brooches and a top-notch hat game.
My boyfriend, however, prefers that ultra-modern reality star look: hair down, skin exposed, assets accessible. So it’s not unusual for me to dress about 10 degrees sexier than my standard on date night.
I’m always on the lookout for pieces that combine a current, elegant aesthetic with that extra dash of sex appeal. And budding Las Vegas designer Rita Price delivers just that, as I saw at the first Live-Vain fashion show Aug. 12 at The D in downtown Las Vegas.
Live-Vain is Price’s online boutique, and the vessel of her desire for women to “live vain” — only by their opinions of themselves. Friends, family and fashion lovers from all over the country gathered for the designer’s benefit show for the American Cancer Society, “a cause close to my heart,” Price said.
When the models took the runway, I was dazzled by how great the clothes looked on every physique. There were bodycon dresses, shoulder-baring tops, strategically ripped jeans, bold prints, bubble skirts and really hot rompers that managed to be cozy and sexy.
My favorite item? A figure-hugging studded dress with long sleeves that could easily be found on a celebrity Instagram page.
Price’s line is both body-positive and individualistic, beautifully reflecting her personal values as a designer — and redefining what it means to be “vain.”
She spent 13 years in retail, 11 in management, often working three-week stretches with no days off, giving everything she had to one of the largest retailers in the world.
“I went through a situation where a leader came into my environment, and he said, ‘You’re not good enough. You’re not what I want in my store.’ He knew nothing about my experience, nothing about my history or how much money I’d made for the company or anything. And it was almost like God was saying, ‘Hey, you’re not listening to him.’ ”
Almost immediately, Price scored a job that provided long weekends to spend with her husband and children. And within three months, she launched Live-Vain.
After her brand’s first show, Price thanked the American Cancer Society for coming out to promote its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, and encouraged everyone in the room to sign up for the October benefit. Her voice broke as she recounted the sacrifices she made all those long years in retail.
“I’ve missed 13 Thanksgivings. So being able to stand up here right now and do my own thing is absolutely amazing,” she said. “Sometimes in this world, we fall victim to what other people think … and we begin to lose ourselves, right? ... I want to dress how I want to dress, walk how I want to walk, look how I want to look, and no one can tell me any different as long as I’m respecting myself and respecting others.”
The vivacious Price wrapped up the night with this advice on living your purpose: “Don’t be afraid. If it doesn’t work in the beginning, you keep pressing.”
In her own words
Does Las Vegas influence your designs, or are you hoping to bring a new look to Vegas?
I want to bring new things to Vegas. I think individuals here are scared to push that envelope. I think they’re worried about who’s watching, and who’s looking. That’s not how you Live-Vain. You Live-Vain by doing what you like, dressing how you like and living only by your opinion of you, not by the opinion of others. You do what makes you happy.
What’s your fashion philosophy?
It changes. I like to be different every single day. I like to say I’m casually sexy. I like to cover up, but I want to look fabulous — all the time.
Who are your influences?
You know who I’m in love with? Balmain! It’s just amazing. The patterns! It’s different, it’s popping. I like flashy, and Balmain is flashy. But I’m not stuck on anyone. I like to do my own thing. Some people are like, “Well, this is what’s in season.” I’m not really a seasonal person. Let’s do something fun, let’s try it. If it doesn’t work right, let’s try something else.
When can we shop in a brick-and-mortar Live-Vain location?
We’re going to push it out in maybe a year … look at how the online store does and go from there.
What’s your favorite thing in the boutique right now?
(Holding up a pink crop halter top) These are so retro, all the pairings are amazing. I give my customers options, so if they buy this, they can wear it with this pant, or this skirt, and change up their outfits.
Would you ever consider going bigger than just one boutique here in Vegas?
Absolutely, and actually I’m working on private labels right now.
What they're saying
Host Jeremy “Mr. Grand” Washington, Las Vegas socialite, author and business owner:
“Know yourself, love yourself and accept yourself. And once you know what your truth is, then you really can just dress to impress yourself … and that’s when you begin to impress others.”
Nick Bressler represented the American Cancer Society and encouraged the crowd to sign up for its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk:
“The walk is at Red Rock Resort on Oct. 30. This year, we’re positioned to have 28,000 attendees, so it’s huge. We’re encouraging everybody to come out there and go bigger than 28,000 and make a huge impact on the community. We’re really celebrating life, celebrating our survivors.”
Host Ariane Davis from “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” took the runway to introduce Price to the crowd:
“Rita believes that women should ‘live life vain,’ living only by their opinions of themselves and beyond the opinions of others, and I thank you for that Rita — yes.”