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Bebe is on a Whole New Level for Spring 2013

Bye bye bedazzled logo baby tees and Kardashian sister design collaborations, Bebe is going back to its roots and classing it up for its upcoming leather-luxe collection, which was presented in a far west Chelsea gallery on Monday. "We decided that showing in an art gallery we are making a statement that we are taking the company to new directions," Bebe founder and Chairman Manny Mashouf told me backstage before the presentation.

"And by that, I mean that we have elevated the quality of fabrics," he continued. "We’re doing a lot of designer fabrics out of Italy and Japan. Also we have brought back the heritage of the brand, which is modern, sophisticated—that playful sensuality of the customer and the woman that has been very loyal to the brand. And some of those core customers we have lost over the last two years, so we are focusing on gaining her back with a vengeance."

To sum it up: the focus is on "designer, couture" and most importantly, "affordable." And I can say I was impressed with what I saw. I'm such a sucker for year-round leather, so the powder pink and cream triple-peplum dress and a futuristic black paneled romper are so on my shopping list for spring.

As for future designer collaborations, Mashouf is definitely open to the idea, but Kim and Co. shouldn't be waiting around for a kall anytime soon. Prospective partners have to be on the same page in terms of high-design and quality. Mashouf is staying tight lipped for now though.

"Oh, I have a few names in mind, but I’m not really ready to reveal the names," he said with a laugh. "At least they have to hear it first."

Photo credit: Tom Concordia