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Fashion 87 : Short Dresses Will Be Decking Holiday Halls

December 11, 1987|DIANE REISCHEL | Times Staff Writer

Designer Neil Bieff regards holiday '87 as the season women stopped debating the merit of their legs--and started wearing short dresses, regardless.

Short, chic dresses are what's most in demand from this designer. In Los Angeles, make that short strapless dresses, he says.

Bieff, who recently presented his holiday line in a trunk show at Alley, West Hollywood, combines close-fitting stretch fabrics with sequins or embroidery. A former art student at Syracuse University, he says he creates his sequined confetti and squiggle-pattern dresses as if they were paintings, with a "color-by-numbers" exactness.

Heart of Fashion

Yet silhouette, more than embellishment, is at the heart of holiday fashion this year, Bieff says. The fashion industry's new short dress shapes "are totally unreminiscent of the '60s," he explains.

"Today, short skirts are sexy and sophisticated, whereas in the '60s they were geared to kids--and parents looking like their kids."

Bieff began his signature line a decade ago, with his early designs inspired by beading he had seen on a trip to India. Ornamentation continues to be a force in his designs, priced from $350 to $1,700. But the designer's theory on party dressing relies on subtlety--as well as the nerve to show legs. A woman should be noticed before the dress, he maintains, and the dress shouldn't inhibit movement.

"Women should wear my evening clothes the same way they wear day clothes," Bieff says. "I don't want them to feel like they can't sit down."

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