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INSIDE OUT / NOTES FROM THE STYLE FRONT

Playboy Goes Blond; Kenneth Cole Goes L.A.

August 06, 1993|DEBRA GENDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Mr. Blackwell was having trouble telling the two blond bombshells apart during a reception at the Playboy mansion Wednesday night.

But any fan of HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show" would have known the demure-looking woman in the ivory Versace column dress was Linda Doucett. The real-life fiancee of Garry Shandling is the subject of the September Playboy's Celebrity Pictorial.

And the young woman prancing around in a sheer, '70s-style baby-doll dress and tiny black hot pants was Miss September, Carrie Westcott (who couldn't even duck into the mansion's rock-quarry-style bathroom without a guy following her and saying: "I'd like to photograph you at my Malibu studio").

Shandling, star of "Larry Sanders," was the guy in the dark suit and shades sticking like glue to Doucett's side and chatting amiably with a purple-pajama-clad Hugh Hefner. Hef was to appear as himself later that night on Shandling's show, in an episode about Doucett's character, Darlene, posing for Playboy.

Whose reaction to the Playboy spread had worried Doucett most?

"Garry's," she said without hesitation. "And my father's."

Are they alike? we asked, sort of girlfriend to girlfriend.

"My shrink says they are!"

Hey now.

*

L.A. Foothold: We dialed designer Kenneth Cole's car phone number. "Can you hang on one second so I can get off the other line?" he asked. One second, two seconds, three . . . "How did man live before car phones? I thought the fax machine was evolutionary!"

We decided then and there that Cole is getting in sync with the rhythms of L.A. He might have been winding down Sunset Boulevard, where his first L.A. store will open after Labor Day, instead of fighting cross-town traffic Manhattan.

Out here, his cool shoes and accessories will have a "quaint little Mediterranean-type building" east of Tower Records to call home. Melrose wasn't right, said Cole, and Beverly Hills was "too much." The Sunset place was just right, with a courtyard for poetry readings and a billboard for broadcasting the designer's minimalist advertising slogans out front. "We're opening a shoe store," reads one of Cole's ad lines, "but we really want to direct."

*

Marked Men: Deconstructed beauty is emerging from the depths of the club scene in the form of pierced parts, scattered bandages, tattoos and scars. Take the models in Harvard-educated John Bartlett's recent show of spring fashions in New York. The menswear designer said he wanted to "confuse the cultural references" by temporarily tattooing his "Anglo-Western models" with American Indian tribal insignia.

But a few of the handsome lugs were none too pleased. All that symbolism hid their pretty faces.

Hey, it could have been worse. Models at another menswear show were given fake scars. Bartlett, former design director for Ronaldus Shamask, says the trend is a reaction to perfection. "The more 'modelly' they look, the less appealing they are." Yeah, that perfect beauty is borrrring.

*

Babes in Boyland: We went to Toys R Us in search of a Wonder Woman figurine, but got sidetracked by a board game called Mall Madness. The player who buys six items at the lowest prices wins. They call that a game?

"It was the first electronic girls' game we made," noted Mark Morris, public relations manager for Milton Bradley. When you put your pink credit card into the board's slot "it either goes ching-ching, for a sale, or says 'long line' or 'item out of stock.' " Hmm. We'd rather play Catalogue Cop-Out.

And the company's second electronic girls' game? Dream Phone. "You use deductive logic--only we don't call it that--to figure out what guy in the game has a crush on you," Morris said.

*

Vatican Rag: Shoppers at the famous Neiman Marcus Last Call sale last weekend were on a mission. Our goal, as always, was to leave empty-handed. But two nicely dressed young men on the second-floor, not-quite-designer-dresses department had a more interesting directive.

Guy With Glasses: "You don't think it's too young, do you? She is 80."

Guy Without Glasses: "No . . . but I wonder if it's too bright for the Vatican."

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