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Design Is an Absolut Inspiration

June 22, 1990|THE FASHION STAFF

Two Los Angeles designers, Leon Max and James Tarantino, have joined the ranks of New Yorkers Carmelo Pomodoro and Marc Jacobs: They too have designed dresses emblazoned with the Absolut Vodka label, used by Carillon Importers to advertise their spirits in the glossy fashion magazines. Max's toga-shaped dress is made of knitted lace with a transparent Absolut Vodka label worked into the front. Tarantino's is a pleated, one-shoulder dress in white silk crepe adorned with beaded lemon twists. Absolut Citron is silk screened on the yellow chiffon scarf attached at the shoulder. The dresses made their debut Tuesday night at L.A. Style magazine's fifth anniversary party.

DESIGNERS TAKEN TO TUSK: The fashion kingpins have made dresses for Barbie and scarves for Snoopy, so it comes as no surprise that 40 French designers--including Christian Lacroix, Thierry Mugler, Hubert de Givenchy and Sonia Rykiel--have made clothing for Babar and Queen Celeste, the French elephant stars of 38 children's books. The designer clothing worn by the 10-inch Babar and Celeste dolls is part of a traveling show called "Babar a la Mode," which will be at Imaginarium, in the Century City Shopping Center, today through July 1. The exhibit is part of Imaginarium's monthlong "Imagine France," a salute to French toys, culture and customs.

MORE THAN A PRETTY MOUTHPIECE: Olivia Newton John is taking her recent assignment as Honorary Ambassador on the Environment to the United Nations very seriously. The singer/actress/retailer has implemented a new policy in her 58 Koala Blue stores (nine in Southern California) to use only recycled paper products for such things as shopping bags, gift boxes, store signs, and posters. The company has already switched to recycled paper for its corporate letterhead and photocopying machines.

A SUMMER'S SALES: Trump--as in "The Donald"--isn't the only one making financial news this summer. Store closures are big headliners in Texas. With Bloomingdale's pulling out of Dallas and Sakowitz closing all five of its Texas stores, bargain hunters are planning ahead. At Sakowitz in Houston, a group of savvy shoppers wore unitards and fanny packs to sale day so they could quickly try on clothes without stripping down to skivvies. Customers were so crazed that the city's fire department had to close the store for 30 minutes to restore order. Sakowitz stores' last day is slated for early August; Bloomingdale's-Dallas will close Aug. 10.

UNDRESS CODE: It's finally bikini weather at the beach. But at Everything But Water, bikinis are standard business attire every day of the year--for employees that is. Everything But Water boasts 20 stores, four in the Los Angeles area--South Coast Plaza, Westside Pavilion, Glendale Galleria and Marina Marketplace. Sales girls wear bikinis, monokinis and tank suits to work every day. Manufacturers provide extra samples of suits especially for the employees so girls don't have to go broke dressing for success. But unlike airline companies, which impose weight requirements for flight attendants, the swim shops do not discriminate against the not so slim and trim. Says president Stacey Siegel: "As long as our employees present a positive fashion image, and they are comfortable wearing swim wear, we don't require them to have the perfect hard body." She does admit, however, that most girls who apply have exactly that and many are super-model wanna-bes. "It's great exposure for them, no pun intended," says Siegel.

LACROIX OUI, LANVIN NON: Christian Lacroix says he plans to launch a men's wear line in 1992 as a way of solving his own wardrobe woes. He can never find what he wants. "I like red," he says about trousers. And English tweeds are a favorite, but he says he can find them only in England. If his financial backer, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), is saying "yes" to Lacroix's plan, it's saying "no" to Lanvin, another French couture house it now owns in large part. This week Lanvin announced its chairman, Leon Bressler, will be leaving his post this summer. No specific reason was given. Bressler's legacy includes the two unlikely designers he appointed to regenerate the ailing fashion house. Avant-garde Paris designer Claude Montana now heads couture; his first collection shown last spring was promptly H-bombed by the press. More recently, Bressler approved Londoner Alistair Blair to direct Lanvin's ready-to-wear line. But by the time Blair's first collection previews in October, Bressler is likely to be long gone.

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