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August 31, 1990|THE FASHION STAFF

The fashion mystery of the summer is finally solved. Charles Gallay just opened his new store, Gallay Melrose, to show what's been brewing for months behind those construction barriers. Gallay Melrose, "for people of the '90s," the owner says, will feature some new designer names Gallay brought back from the cutting edge--notably Martin Margiela of Paris, who apprenticed there with Jean Paul Gaultier. And he'll give play to Vivienne Westwood, London's long-established mother of eccentric invention. In the past, Gallay has been among the city's first retailers to carry such vanguard labels as Azzedine Alaia, Romeo Gigli and, earlier, Sonia Rykiel and Karl Lagerfeld at his Alaia boutique, his Gallay shop on Sunset Boulevard and at the Charles Gallay store in Beverly Hills--which he closed several years ago. As for what to wear in the new decade, Gallay suggests: "Clean, tight and sexy clothes, with some romance."

CLOTHES THAT RATE: When Bill Cosby and Bart Simpson went head to head last week, Cosby made some concessions in his wardrobe. He exchanged his well-known sweaters for a new look of shirts and hand-painted ties. Marienbad, the design team that supplied many of the colorful crew necks, doesn't mind the switch because they also are supplying the ties (available for about $65 from Sami Dinar). The ratings win for Cosby indicates the public prefers characters in hand-painted ties to hand-painted characters.

SUFFERIN' HANDBAGS: What do working women want? "Much more affordable accessories," says Paloma Picasso. Her By Paloma Picasso collection, introduced last week at I. Magnin in Beverly Hills, is priced from $95 to $380 (down from the $200 to $5,000 couture line she launched two years ago). While her new collection has "softer, more easygoing" shoulder bags, the designer says she's all in favor of the European penchant for constructed bags with short handles: "American women are keen on things that are practical. In Europe, you learn you have to suffer to be beautiful." Put that in your \o7 vive la difference!\f7 file.

OAT COUTURE: Have you seen those billboards from the Milk Advisory Board with all the people dressed like cows in black and white Holstein-print clothing? Folks who have want to own those two-tone bathing suits and spotted shorts. In fact, the MAB received so many phone calls it entered a marketing contract with Rainbeau, a San Francisco-based clothing manufacturer, to produce T-shirts, weightlifter's pants, tights, bike shorts, leotards and beachwear in the bovine print. The cow clothes are available at Allez in Santa Monica and Glendale, Alva's Dance and Theatric Company in San Pedro, Atascadero Fitness in Atascadero and the P.C.H. Pro Shop in Torance. Visions of raisins probably motivated this marketing tactic.

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