On the other side of the style spectrum, native Angeleno Katheryn Rice often looks to the 1930s and Old Hollywood as inspiration for her Carmella collection (www.shopcarmella.net), focusing on fluid silk dresses with special details, such as French lace trim, tassel ties and rows of covered buttons that exude relaxed elegance.
"I would watch Old Hollywood films with my grandmother, and that was my first introduction to fashion; I'm still inspired by them," 32-year-old Rice says. "In the beginning, it was Ginger Rogers. I [also] love Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe. Garments fell along the body so beautifully back then. … I never liked dresses to distract from the woman [but, rather] to drape and accentuate the body."
In 2010, after four years of modeling in Europe, an acting stint and a few fashion design classes, Rice got engaged and designed a mini-collection of dresses for her 16 bridesmaids to wear to the wedding in Costa Careyes, Mexico, which was featured in Town & Country magazine. That led to trunk shows and, ultimately, to custom-designing the navy lace dress that Robin Wright wore to the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
More recently Ambrosio, Huntington-Whiteley and "The Wolf of Wall Street" star Margot Robbie have worn Carmella designs. In March, Robbie and her stylist, Cristina Ehrlich (who also dresses Penélope Cruz and Tina Fey), hosted an intimate dinner on the Petit Ermitage rooftop in West Hollywood to fete the made-in-L.A. label, which debuts its first full-fledged collection this season. Actresses Jessica Paré and Molly Sims were among those who attended.