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INSIDE OUT / NOTES FROM THE STYLE FRONT

A Veritable Love (and Gab) Fest for Ivana

April 09, 1993|DEBRA GENDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It was Ivana Trump's coming-out party on the Home Shopping Network this weekend, and the pressure was on. Hostess Bobbi Ray set the stage: "Get ready for the most extraordinary fashion you've ever seen in your life!"

We pulled up a chair and settled in.

A little nervous, her heavily accented voice barely audible--and frequently drowned out by her HSN sidekick's unchecked patter--Trump introduced her gold-plated faux pearl and black Cabachon Rope Earrings ($89.99, but for HSN club members, $29.95).

Bobbi: "And they're clip-ons!"

Ivana: "So if someone tries to take them off, they'll just come right off. They won't tear your ear. A friend of mine had that happen. On the streets in Europe. . . . Somebody just ripped her pierced earring off."

Hmmm. Unhappy, scary moment. Ruffians accosting lovely ladies on the mean city streets. Fast-thinking Bobbi moves quickly to a call.

Bobbi: "Hello, you're on the air with Ivana!"

Betty-from-Indiana to Ivana: "You're a lovely lady!"

Susan-from-North Palm Beach: "Oh, Ivana, you're the cream of the crop!"

Just plain Trudy: "Boy, you're a woman's woman! Keep it up, please!"

273 pairs of earrings sold.

Bobbi: "Ivana is the woman of the '90s. She's invincible!"

Trudy: "Ivana proved that!"

Ivana, looking and sounding like a younger Zsa Zsa Gabor, beams and smiles into the camera.

447 . . . .

Next up, an Ivana-designed turquoise polyester-rayon suit, identical (or so it appears) to the one she wears herself.

Bobbi: "If you could get a suit like this for $400, it would be an incredible deal!"

But Bobbi's going to let us have it for $150!!! We're tempted. . . . Then Ivana jumps up to join the HSN model and we notice Ivana's suit looks a lot better. It's been altered. She's let out the bosom, nipped in the waist and whacked off the skirt to about five inches above her shapely knees. Cheater, cheater.

Ivana, with conspiratorial giggle: "I like to show off my legs."

A caller named Cindy: "Hi. I'm a career girl, and this is just the kind of look I like."

Ivana, relating: "I am a working mother, and I need something I can just jump into. I can get ready in 10 minutes . . . and get off the plane without wrinkles."

293 sold . . . .

Betty-from-San Antonio: "Don't just come on every few months. Come on once a month!"

Ivana: "I will. I promise." (She'll return May 28 and May 29.)

Our promise: $29.99 to anyone who can show proof of Ivana wearing her turquoise rayon suit and gold-plated earrings outside the St. Petersburg, Fla., city limits.

It's My Party and I'll Behave Badly if I Want To: We know only too well how really dreadful the prom is. So let's pretend it's a magical evening--or, as Ivana would say, fantastic, fantastic --and watch the "Beverly Hills, 90210" dream prom.

"This year it's being held at the elegant Bel Age Hotel," reads a Fox press release. "The girls will be in designer gowns from Norma Kamali, Fred Hayman in Beverly Hills and Kathryn Conover, and the guys will leave their Pepe jeans at home in exchange for some chic designer evening wear. . . . Of course, kids across America can't actually attend the '90210' prom (or anything remotely like it), but they can tune in to see what Brenda, Brandon, Luke and the gang are wearing and what cool prom things they're doing this year."

We've certainly been reading a lot about what really cool things Brenda's been up to lately. Wonder if she'll have anyone kicked out?

Those Cross-Dressing Clintons: Taped to the counter at French Rags in West Los Angeles is a copy of Newsweek with Hillary Rodham Clinton on the cover. Paper-clipped to that is a tiny newspaper photo of the President. Both are wearing Brenda French's rayon sweaters. Hillary's is a flattering shade of blue. Bill's is "mushroom." The Clintons fit the profile of most of French's customers, most of whom, says the designer, "have better things to do with their time than shop."

French Rags sits in the middle of West L.A.'s outlet row on Sepulveda Boulevard, around the corner from James Galanos. The building has served as the company's showroom, factory and design studio since 1988, when French pulled her line from high-end department stores and began selling directly to customers through trunk shows like the one Elza Gross, wife of actor Michael Gross, will host at her Pasadena home next month.

Delicate question: Are most of her customers older? "That's who can afford them," is French's sassy comeback. (Pieces start at $75 and go up into the hundreds, depending on fabric and complexity.) "A 20-year-old can get away with a little T-shirt and an Armani jacket. But not the rest of us."

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