You might not think Adolfo, whose Chanel-inspired suit designs are predictable as pearls, could create a fashion sensation. But with a California client list headed by First Lady Nancy Reagan as well as such White House visitors as Betsy Bloomingdale, Marion Jorgensen and Harriet Deutsch, an Adolfo show can spark a social scene.
And it did at Saks in Beverly Hills when the Amazing Blue Ribbon, the women's volunteer committee for the Music Center, recently viewed his fall collection.
Applause during the show indicated which outfits might make an appearance later this season at presidential events. One was a black knit suit with white mink collar and cuffs. A black velvet gown with lace inserts and an evening outfit that featured pleated satin pants with a bejeweled yoke were other favorites.
The fashion news of his show, he says, are ankle-length, pleated silk skirts. He tops them with evening blouses or dressy sweaters. "They're for adventurous customers," he offers, adding that Mrs. Reagan was in his mind when he styled them.
As for his seemingly changeless knit suits, Adolfo says: "A connoisseur can see that my suit design does change each season. This year it is a little boxier, and there is a raglan sleeve." The length is still to the knee.
After more than five years of business sales spurred by White House hoopla, Adolfo says he hasn't changed his personal life style. He is seldom seen on Pennsylvania Avenue or escorting his socialite clients.
"I'm not a party person," he explains. "I like to read at night."
Louie Lingerie --Before there was Louie lingerie, there was Jill Ralston's unusual under-or-over, sleep-or-lounge wear. Her first collections were private-label designs styled for the Wilkes Bashford store in San Francisco.
Now Ralston, based in San Francisco, has taken a new collection of silk chiffon and silk jersey slips-or-skirts and camisoles-or-tops to such stores as Barney's in New York and Bonwit Teller in Beverly Hills, where she appeared recently. She says the clothes are for "dressing to undress."
There is a sheer, long-sleeve T-shirt in black silk chiffon that she wears as an undershirt with sweaters, or as an evening top over one of her chiffon camisole designs. She layers two or three of her ankle-length slips together to create a translucent skirt to wear with oversize sweaters or blazers. There is a sleeveless, drop-waist "night dress" in her collection that she intends for sleep, "for watching television at night" or for an evening out.
With choices including slip tops, tank tops, padded shoulder T-shirts and several lengths of slip-skirts at her disposal, Ralston says: "Sometimes I wear six layers at once."
Germaine Monteil --What does a "real" 48-year-old woman learn about beauty in three years of modeling for cosmetic company ads? Tish Hooker, a Nashville-based interior decorator who won Germaine Monteil's "Over 40 and Fabulous" contest in 1983, learned this: "I don't mix skin-care products the way I used to. Chemists have taught me there's a balance between a cleanser, toner and moisturizer in any product line that makes them work best with each other."
When Monteil named Hooker as spokeswoman, she says, the company did not recommend that she change anything about her striking, well-disciplined appearance. She kept her shoulder-length silver hair and her light-handed approach to applying makeup. Her exercise regimen still includes five miles of speed walking daily as well as three aerobics classes a week. And she bases her diet on the low-fat plan of Nathan Pritikin.
A lively woman who seems to enjoy anything touched by glamour, Hooker says her stint with Monteil has led to several enticing offers, including a recent one to appear in a feature film.
"It's a small part," she says, pulling a film script from her large, tapestry tote bag. "They want me to try out, and that's enough of a fantasy in itself." She laughingly refers to a letter enclosed with the script that requested she curb her Southern accent for the role.
Despite her professional accomplishments, she says she is proudest of the open relationship she maintains with her three children, the youngest of whom is 20 years old (she has been divorced for 14 years).
She also says she's in love. Her new romance with Kenneth Schermerhorn, director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, began before she started working for Monteil, she says. They met on a blind date while she was on crutches. "I broke my ankle jumping on a trampoline."
Hooker's ideas for her future include writing a book and appearing on a TV series or in a movie. 0f the Monteil skin-care products she now uses regularly, her favorite is called Lift Extreme, a night cream designed to help soften facial lines. Although it is recommended for under the eyes and around facial expression lines, she dabs it all over her face and throat.
"I'm faithful to three things in life: race walking, Lift Extreme and Kenneth," she says.
Hooker was in Bullock's stores to promote a "dream bedroom" that she designed and that Monteil will stock with beauty products--then give away in a contest. For an entry form, call Monteil's toll free number, (800) 457-7755.