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INSIDE OUT / NOTES FROM THE STYLE FRONT

With a Red Kiss, Picasso Tours

August 13, 1993|DEBRA GENDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

And you thought Paloma Picasso piled on that red, red lipstick every day of her life? No, no, no. She changes her lip color now and then, just to "jolt people" who expect her to look exactly like the regal-looking woman in her ad campaigns. "Allure does those trick photographs with the computer--they gave me brown lipstick," she said. "It was very strange. But one has to keep one's sense of humor." As well as one's autograph-signing muscle, we suppose.

Picasso's been warming hers up at a spa in France in preparation for a swing through Los Angeles to promote Minotaure, her new men's fragrance. First stop on the Personal Appearance Train, the Robinsons-May in Montebello at 6:30 tonight. "I say hello to so many people in one hour," she said, ". . . schoolchildren, transvestites, people from my past. It's truly not a bore for me to do that." A woman with undeniable personal style and the strength of her convictions, we solicited Picasso's thoughts on First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton:

"I think that she could use a better hairdo, no? This one is not it."

Most Arrestingly Dressed: It's official. The Beverly Hills Police Department is better dressed than any other department of its size in the United States, according to the National Assn. of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors. And what, we wondered, makes its uniforms so darn special? "Good question," said Lt. Frank Salcido. "I think it's the men in them that makes them so great." Spoken like a true media relations officer. We suspect the association was impressed with those gold-colored P buttons on the uniforms' epaulets and shirt pockets. "I don't know what the P stands for," Salcido said. "Maybe police."

Otherwise, the department's short-sleeve, navy blue wool shirt and matching trousers make up "the same uniform the LAPD wears."

How Low Can They Go?The Gap clearance center at the Citadel, that bargain-hunter's paradise in the City of Commerce, has just turned into a Gap Warehouse. That's the name of the company's new, lower-priced line. Barely 2 weeks old, Gap Warehouse is uncrowded during the week but busy on weekends. "It's exactly, exactly like the Gap," enthused a young salesman about the new line. Well, not exactly. Some of the merchandise--shudder, shudder--is made of a cotton-poly blend.

But that shouldn't dampen the enthusiasm of parents with lots of back-to-school shopping to do and not enough cash. Children's jeans are $15, polo shirts are $12 and a khaki jacket is $18. Be forewarned--the Gap Warehouse carries backpacks, but no shoes, which would suit a few kids on our shopping list just fine.

The Clothes Off Your Back: Here's how a new shop on Melrose called the Wasteland works. You walk in with all the stuff you don't want anymore. A clerk, who knows the finer points of vintage clothing, estimates the value. You get 40% of that figure in cash or 60% in trade--on the spot. (At a consignment store, you have to wait till your garment sells to profit.) Manager Reiko Mathieu describes the concept, which started with similar stores in the Bay Area, as "somewhere between the Goodwill and American Rag. They carry high-end stuff. But our stuff starts at $5 and goes up to $1,200." Tori Spelling's been in, as has one of the 4 Non Blondes. But what Mathieu would really love to see cross the store's threshold is a zoot suit. It would fetch about $500, which means $200 to the person who delivers.

Answered Prayers: L.A. designer Margi Kent's Body Slimmer is a custom-made girdle that promises to shrink a woman's figure a full three sizes. It costs $350. But for Kent's customers, $350 is clearly a small price to pay.

Consider the performer who ate so much between fittings that her spectacular couture gown was unwearable. Or the woman headed to her high school reunion. Or the weight-obsessed Hollywood starlet with the perfect figure who wants her waist more indented or her buns a little higher. "It's the best-kept secret in town," says Kent, who's perfected the latex garment during six years of fine-tuning. But maybe not for long. The Slimmer has proven so popular, the designer is talking to manufacturers about producing it in larger quantities at a lower price. We may never exercise again.

Au Natural: Speaking of underwear, Tommy Hilfiger had it on his mind during a one-day stopover in Los Angeles recently. The menswear designer, who's sponsoring Pete Townshend's national tour, said he is developing natural, undyed underwear to add to his collection, which now includes boys' clothes. "It's classic but hip," he said.

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