By Anna David
“I like her Marc Jacobs necklace,” says one pretty, young teen, her eyes on the TV screen.
Another girl offers that she likes “her hair.”
A third notes that she has “her jeans.”
The viewers are all young denizens of Laguna Beach appearing in the MTV reality show named after their town. What are they watching? Fox’s The O.C., of course. Whether they’re discussing Marissa or Summer (or their real-life counterparts, Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson, respectively) hardly matters. All of the young cast members of the Fox hit are style icons to the kids on Laguna Beach, not to mention the world at large.
Almost seamlessly, the mantle of the “it” fashion show has been tossed from HBO’s Sex and the City to the nighttime teen soap, returning in September for season three. And while many viewers analyze the clothing on The O.C., the girls of Laguna Beach — now airing season two – are particularly fascinated. After all, the tag line for Laguna Beach is The Real Orange County, and The O.C. is the highly stylized version of their show – and their lives.
“With any nighttime soap opera, you need to bump it up a notch and push the limits from real to fantasy in order to be successful,” says Karla Stevens, costume designer for season two of The O.C. “I think we’ve done our job by making it a little more glamorous and extravagant than it would be in real life.” Indeed, the prom dress that Rachel Bilson wore on the show – a ‘70s Givenchy number that Stevens picked up at The Way We Wore, a vintage store on L.A.’s La Brea Avenue — is a far cry from the prom get-up that Talan, star quarterback and volleyball pro, sported on Laguna Beach: Converse sneakers, white shirt, white Modern Amusement pants, blue tie, and white shirt reading, DRESSED TO KILL.
Talan’s stylistic choices may not garner the same attention as, say, Barton’s, he admits he’s influenced by the clothing on The O.C. “When all the girls thought that Seth [Adam Brody] was so cute,” he says, “I noticed that he wore polo shirts with track jackets,” Talan says. “And I started wearing them, too.” (The “guilty pleasure” Talan lists on the MTV website is “watching The O.C.“) While Talan has radically transformed his look since season one – “I’ve dyed my hair, spiked it, and made it into a Mohawk – he may rival anyO.C. actor in his dedication to fashion.
“I probably spend, like, $5000 a month on clothes,” says Talan, whose mother used to work as a model. “I’m fortunate to have parents with money.” Talan favors Converse sneakers, vintage rocker shirts, and jeans made by 575 or J & Company, and he describes his style as “sort of dirty skater but still clean-cut, like modern punk.”