Could Wilkes Sport have an identity complex? So it seems. On a recent visit to the Century City sportswear store, assistant store manager Pierre Romeo told of a frequent mix-up: "All the jocks come in, and they're looking for (retired basketball star) Jamaal Wilkes. People automatically think it's Jamaal Wilkes' sporting goods," he told Listen. "One person wanted to know when he was going to make a personal appearance." Not likely soon, since Wilkes Sport is named for Wilkes Bashford, the San Francisco fashion retailer--not the former L.A. Laker. Bashford licensed his name to Dividend Industries Inc. of Santa Clara, which owns this private-label, all-American-themed weekend-wear store. Four California branches have opened since October, with two more planned to open this summer in Beverly Center and on Rodeo Drive. "In San Francisco, everyone knows we mean Wilkes Bashford. It's a given," Romeo says. Welcome to L.A.
Diana Ross breezed into Torie Steele boutique on Rodeo Drive last Tuesday, and according to the store's Tom Bruno, she was looking for something to wear for an upcoming photo session with People magazine. Ross is expecting a baby later this year but chose nothing resembling a maternity dress. She bought a short navy-and-white stripe loose-fitting jacket and navy silk pants, both by Luciano Soprani.
A Way With Colors
Is Russia's new claim to liberalism, glasnost as it's called, affecting the fashion scene? Yevgeny Yevtushenko would have you think so. To read his poetry at the 72 Market Street restaurant the other afternoon, the Soviet citizen matched a pucker-power lemon-yellow jacket with a new-wave print shirt, flashy as the stage clothes Mick Jagger might wear. "He looks like an aging rock star," one woman in the audience said. Listen spied another star at the reading too, this one wearing soft pink. It was Kirk Douglas.
Don't Box Her In
Valerie Harper may be a big shot in TV town, but when it comes to grocery shopping, she'll push her own cart, thank you. Listen, along with plenty of other folks, watched Harper do a real life schtick at the Vicente Market in Brentwood when a box boy at the checkout counter wanted to take her fully packed cart to her car for her, not knowing the fitness buff wanted to do it herself. In the middle of the tug of war, Harper took a break long enough to confirm, sweetly, that she indeed was herself. And of course she got her way.
Fall Into Place
Designers Bill Blass, Carolina Herrera and Carolyne Roehm will grace Los Angeles with their presence on June 1, when they'll bring their fall collections to the Music Center for Saks Fifth Avenue's S.F.A./U.S.A. tribute to American designers. The event, $250 per person, takes place at the Mark Taper Forum, with "dinner, dancing and diversions" to follow immediately thereafter in the Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Proceeds of the evening will benefit the Music Center Unified Fund, S.F.A.'s Patty Fox says. But there will be other benefits for winners of the door prizes. A lucky guest will walk away with a $40,000 Revillon sable jacket, another with a Harry Winston 12.5-carat diamond-and-platinum necklace and yet another with a $1,000 crocodile handbag, donated by Saks.
Clocking the Watch
You may think you own more watches than Father Time, but that doesn't worry quartz clock maker Michel Jordi, who tells Listen his Le Clips (little clocks that clamp on, instead of strap on like watches) are a multimillion-dollar business. And he introduced them only 11 months ago. Since then Jordi, based in Geneva, has clamped his Le Clips to musician Herbie Hancock and singer Anita Baker, and says he'll next clip those bright, boldly graphic little tickers to customers at Bullock's in the Beverly Center Saturday from 3 till 5 p.m.
Soap opera and TV series buffs, your day is coming May 16 when "St. Elsewhere," "Designing Women," "Santa Barbara" and half a dozen other TV fave-raves send out their stars (France Nuyen, Bobbie Ferguson, Lenore Kasdorf among them) to a fantasy fashion show at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. There will be Nuyen in an Art Deco outfit with feathered shoulders, Ferguson looking like a jungle cat in an animal-print bustier dress and Kasdorf as the bride in an outfit with beaded corset, draped in shredded chiffon and dripping with peach feathers. The fashion show--with clothes by designer Ellene Warren--and luncheon are to aid the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Listen hears all from Warren, who says tickets are a phone call away: (213) 479-8585.