We chatted with New York design star Donna Karan the other day. But she wasn't in her usual place, doing her usual thing. She was, instead, in a suite in Washington's Watergate Hotel, having her makeup and hair done before going to dinner at the White House with husband Stephen Weiss. The Weisses weren't just excited. They were "thrilled, impressed, awed." They had already been to a morning ceremony on the White House lawn to welcome the prime minister of Singapore, in whose honor the dinner was being held. "It was spectacular to see all those military men in full dress uniforms, to hear the fifes and drums and the 19-gun salute," Karan said, with goose bumps in her voice. "President Reagan spoke eloquently and looked wonderful." Yes, but, "What are you wearing to dinner," we asked, trying to zero in on the news. "Guess," she said, and we did. And we were right. Karan said she'd wear the long, gold lame wrap skirt and black body stocking that were the hits of her fall collection.
Boas made a comeback in New York on Tuesday at the 30th-anniversary party for Regine, the legendary nightclub owner. The 1920s-themed party brought out Pauline Trigere in a black boa, the Countess Chandon de Brialles (who hosted the party with her husband, head of Moet & Chandon champagne) in a green-and-white boa and Regine herself in a fuchsia, feathered version. But the woman who got her picture snapped the most was unconstricted and looked very 1980s. Mariel Hemingway wore a simple black silk floor-length shirtwaist dress by Calvin Klein. Hemingway had some good news and some bad news to tell Listen. The good news is that she and her husband, Steve Crisman, will open a restaurant this November on 8th Street and 3rd Avenue in New York. It's called Sam's Cafe "because my husband calls me Sam." The bad news was that Mariel was mistaken for Brooke Shields on the street that day.
It was a night for nostalgia when Cole of California marked its 60th year as a Los Angeles fashion institution with a '20s-style party at the Beverly Hills Hotel this week. The place was bursting with ragtime music and guests dressed like flappers. Designer and executive vice president Ann Cole swore that the spirit of her father, company founder Fred Cole, who died in 1964, was there watching over the festivities. "I bet you he is," she said. Citing swimwear as "California's best commodity, next to the movies," Cole presided over a fashion retrospective that included the world's first cotton swimsuits designed in the '30s, the only swimwear ever designed by Christian Dior in the '50s (Cole-manufactured, of course) and the 1964 "scandal suits" with daring black fishnet cutouts. Corky Newman, who resigned this week as president of Cole to become executive vice president of Calvin Klein Industries and president of Puritan Industries, was also in a nostalgic mood. "Cole is an exciting company," he said. "It's a fun company. It's Hollywood."
Linda Gray glittered in a black silk cocktail dress with a rhinestone-web neckline by Bob Mackie when she picked up her Dallas Market Center's 10th annual "Femme" award at Maxim's restaurant in New York this week. Gray, who received her award for her fashion image both on and off the screen, told the crowd: "I started out at about 17 modeling $3.99 dresses for Mode O'Day."
Several men of taste converged on Saks Fifth Avenue last week for a fall fashion show, sponsored by GQ magazine. The GQ types were out in force. There were men in pin-stripe suits, pale wrinkled linen, tweeds, a straw fedora. But wait a minute. Were these GQ types or just L.A. types? If they were L.A. types, what is the L.A. type? Designer Bill Kaiserman, who now lives in Milan, pondered the question and said: It's a "very specific casual elegant feeling that is very, very particular to this city. But it's only emerged in the last four years. Before that, L.A. was so casual that it didn't relate to fashion." GQ executive editor Robert Beauchamp believes that L.A. style is "a little bit more adventuresome than in most parts of the country. L.A. seems to break all the barriers." As for New York designer Tommy Hilfiger, he thinks there is a look indigenous to the city, but he doesn't think much of it. "I think the L.A. man is hungry for style. They either try too hard or they don't try at all."
If you like the oversize, sherbet-colored knit outfits Allyce Beasley wears on the new "Moonlighting" TV series, you can probably buy the same for yourself without hunting high and low. Lisa Kramer of the Claudia Grau shop on Melrose Avenue says Beasley wears Grau designs in real life. "When she got the part, she insisted that the wardrobers come to our store," Kramer says. It turns out the clothes suit Beasley's TV character as well.