Diahann Carroll did not play the thrifty shopper recently when she needed clothes for her new Las Vegas Hilton stage show. She visited design partners Bob Mackie and Ray Aghayan, with extravagant results. Aghayan tells Listen that Carroll ordered three gowns and a couple of capes, including a white gown embroidered with Czechoslovakian cut crystal and bugle beads, a fringed-and-sequined pink chiffon dress and a white feathered cape with a 35-foot detachable train. "She needed them in a great hurry," Aghayan said, noting everything was made in about a week. "We've known Diahann for years, and she can have anything she wants." At a price, that is. The wardrobe, Aghayan said, cost about $70,000.
Sonia Braga may be the steamiest actress on screen these days, but she still wears ankle socks and high-top sneakers. Melissa Welles of the Ciao shoe boutique on Melrose Avenue says Braga walked into the shop wearing sneakers, jeans and a black leather jacket--and walked out with an armful of bright, patterned ankle socks, along with a pair of black patent lace-up boots.
Willi Smith knows how to get good press coverage for his summer collection. He's come out with his own newsletter called the WilliWear News. The cover, which bears the question: "What's black and white and read all over?" not only promotes the newsletter but the collection as well, which is themed around those colors. Cleverly included in the issue are black-and-white recipes, such as cream cheese and black-currant jam on Wonder Bread, comments from film makers who have made movies in black and white (Alfred Hitchcock's admission that he made "Psycho" in black and white so he could use chocolate syrup for blood in the shower scene) and tips on how to do black-and-white makeup.
There are more than 200 million pairs of smelly sneakers lurking in American closets. That's the word from Odor-Eaters, a firm that is introducing Sneaker Tamers, a new product that's designed to attack offending tennis shoe odors. Sneaker Tamers have twice the absorptive power of the original Odor-Eaters, say the people at Combe Inc., the marketing firm for the product. Listen likes the straightforward message on the product box, which states: "Tames ferocious sneaker odor."
Is he a peach or the pits? Jan Stuart, who has a line of men's skin-care products under his name, is currently gathering nominees for his Second Annual Peaches and Pits Awards, which go to "male celebrities of outstanding accomplishment who have taken pride in the preservation of their faces" as well as to "those publicly recognized men-of-importance who have deprived their faces of the attention they clearly require." Ballots will appear in national magazines this fall, and the winner will be announced Oct. 1. Stuart also chooses one man for his "Golden Peach Award." Last year's winner was Johnny Carson.
Though no official announcement will be made, the women's collection of the late Perry Ellis will be created by the designer's two principal assistants, Patricia Pastor and Jed Krascella, according to a spokesperson at the Perry Ellis showroom in Manhattan.
Jhane Barnes is giving her men's designs a new glow. She tells Listen she's using a new yarn developed in Japan called Fire Fly for a shirt, sweater and jacket in her upcoming holiday line. The dye in the yarn is affected by exposure to light and will glow in the dark. "I've been experimenting with this for about a year," Barnes says. "This kind of thing has been used in firemen's uniforms and by cyclists who do night riding. Now I hear even Barbie has dresses made out of something similar."
Costume designer Milena Canonero, who was hired to create a new look for "Miami Vice," stopped in at the Parachute boutique and made a few purchases for the show's stars, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, Listen hears from Mike Vasquez of the store. Canonero chose "big, Zoot jackets with square shoulders, baggy, pleated trousers and a few basic linen shirts in steel blues, browns and black." It's the first hint of an answer we've heard to the fashion question burning through TV town: " What new look?"
How to make the New York crowd take note? Make a surrealistic fashion video with green monsters and spaceships. That was the look of a six-part video by Los Angeles-based Mills & Associates, which was among the winning entries at the recent Fashion Video Awards at the Palladium in New York, sponsored by Fashion Video magazine. Nancy Mills and partner Ron Roy were recognized for their Lycra production, which they created for DuPont. "It was our goal to show the vibrancy and electricity of the fabric," says Mills, 37. "We created a very electric video." Levi Strauss was another California winner in the field largely dominated by New Yorkers. The event was hosted by Elsa Klensch of CNN's "Style" and judged by a panel of journalists and fashion editors.
American women spend $5 billion annually on makeup--but far be it from us to imply they do it to get a guy. Listen learned from the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Assn. that just 8% of the women in a recent survey said they wear makeup to attract the opposite sex; the majority of users talked about boosted confidence and "self-gratification." The survey, conducted by Self magazine, found that reasons for wearing makeup differ with age. No surprise: Those most concerned with man hunting and makeup were the 18-to-24-year-olds, while "by age 35, men are no longer an important reason for wearing makeup."