BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — With an intense passion for all things fashion, Kathy Gohari feels right at home on Rodeo Dr.
She has worked on the famed fashion street for more than 30 years for various designer brands.
What You Need To Know
- "Visions of Holiday Glamour" is a collection of 10 festive mannequins currently adorning Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills
- The mannequins are dressed in ball gowns made of flowers, lights, and ornaments — all inspired by the runways of Paris, New York, and Milan
- The dresses aim to take people away from thoughts of negative headlines and shutdowns
- Many of the Rodeo Dr. stores were temporarily closed and boarded up during weeks of protests and civil unrest this past summer
"Fashion makes me happy," said Gohari. "It takes me away and allows me to dream."
This year, in her role as vice president of the Rodeo Drive Committee, Gohari helped dream up a holiday installation called “Visions of Holiday Glamour,” a collection of 10 festive mannequins adorning Rodeo from Wilshire Blvd. to Little Santa Monica Blvd.
The mannequins are dressed in mesmerizing ball gowns made of flowers, lights, and ornaments — all inspired by the runways of Paris, New York, and Milan.
"We wanted to offer a little bit of a dream, you know?" said Gohari. "And people say, 'Why gowns? No one is going anywhere.' No one is supposed to wear the flower gowns. It’s just supposed to give you a mental escape, even if it’s just for a minute to somewhere happy at a ball, with a big tail. Why not?"
She said that kind of imaginary escape is needed this year more than ever. The past year has hit the local economy hard, including along Rodeo Drive. Many of the stores were temporarily closed and boarded up during weeks of protests and civil unrest this past summer, and the pandemic has prompted other closures and limited capacities inside the stores.
The dresses, Gohari hopes, will take people away from thoughts of negative headlines and shutdowns.
Her favorite way to take in the installation is by getting in her car at the end of her shift and taking a loop around Rodeo to look at “her girls” and fantasize about just where she’d wear each gown. The artists who assembled them used a combination of silk and dry flowers, palm tree leaves, and wheat stems, Gohari explained. And if it rains, the gowns are waterproof.
For Gohari, the dresses evoke the joy of her childhood, growing up playing make-believe with fashion dolls. She was born in London to Iranian parents and immigrated to the U.S. in the 80s. The film Pretty Woman captured the feeling Gohari had developed for Rodeo Drive.
“I still watch it every year," she said. "Can you believe that?"
Gohari said she feels lucky that working on Rodeo has meant being surrounded by luxury and haute couture brands, but hopes people understand the ball gowns and mannequins are intended to represent a vision and dream more than anything else.
“Don’t forget people like me, who spend the majority of our time working on this street, we’re employees,” Gohari said. “We work for a living. We ourselves might not be able to afford a lot of the things on this street, but we enjoy pretty things and we enjoy window shopping.”
And that’s what she hopes visitors will take away from the installation: a momentary escape and a point of light in what has felt for so many like such a dark year.
“Despite everything that’s happening, there are still highlights," said Gohari. "There’s still hope. We’re really hoping for a brighter future and we know it’s going to happen.”