Jerry Hirsch calls the Go Silk garments he is wearing "almost mindless."
It's his prerogative. He is president of L'Zinger, the New York-based company that produces them, so naturally he means it in the nicest way.
In 1981, Hirsch and company vice president Mitsu Aoki hit on the concept of luxurious, washable silk separates for men and women that could be mixed and matched easily and dressed up (all the way to black-tie level) or down. Designed by Henry Lehr, they are meant "to endure and improve with age the way jeans do," Hirsch, 41, said during a visit to Los Angeles, where Neiman Marcus, Fred Segal and other stores carry the line.
Loyal shoppers include Jack Nicholson ("one of our best customers"), who wore a pink Go Silk coat in "The Witches of Eastwick."
"Mickey Rourke refused to wear anything but Go Silk shirts in 'Wild Orchids'," recalled 30-year old Gabriela Valenzuela-Hirsch, who was at her husband's side and dressed in an almost identical silk outfit--black blazer, cream T-shirt and pants. "Glenn Close was wearing Go Silk in the hot kitchen scene in 'Fatal Attraction.' "
And their friend Harry Belafonte has just purchased 17 outfits for the road. "We go to all his concerts and sing along," said Jerry, an avid surfer who grew up on Long Island.
Gabriela was born in Costa Rica, studied acting in Europe, appeared in several Spanish films and worked as a fashion editor for Harper's Bazaar in Italy. They met while she was pursuing her acting career in New York and married four years ago.
As creative director of the company, she tends toward ads with provocative slogans, such as the 1990 line: "Look dressed, feel naked."
Catchy phrases come with the territory, and that includes L'Zinger, a name taken in last-minute desperation from a tea listed on a Greenwich Village menu, Jerry says.
Recently, two divisions have been added to L'Zinger's own menu: Timney-Fowler, a collection of print silk shirts from the husband-and-wife British team of Timney-Fowler, and Go Girl, a collection of Italian-made body-hugging cotton-Lycra clothing due in stores early next year.