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INSIDE OUT / NOTES FROM THE STYLE FRONT

Busy Heidi Now a Designing Woman

September 17, 1993|DEBRA GENDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When they talk about new young designers from Los Angeles, they don't mention Heidi Fleiss--yet. But give her 10 days. That's how long the indefatigable alleged madam says it should take to nail a marketing deal for her lingerie and sleepwear line.

"Don't make it like it's going to have holes for your (breasts) to stick out. These are the kinds of things I would wear," says Fleiss, who, as anyone remotely alive knows, prefers sweat pants and men's shirts to garter belts and push-up bras.

Fleiss faxed us sketches of a frill-free camisole and tap pant, a snuggly looking set of long johns and a bias-cut silk nightgown with slits and straps that cross in back. "Since my biggest supporters are men, I thought I'd do some boxers with a condom pocket too."

The Heidi Line was deemed "not appropriate" for the Home Shopping Network, spokeswoman Louise Cleary says. Nor was QVC interested. "They're too middle-America. They don't want anything controversial," Fleiss says. "Barbi Benton tried to sell a line of lingerie and she couldn't."

So Fleiss will go the infomerical route. The plan is to make it seem sort of like an all-girls slumber party. "I'll be wearing the stuff and I'll have on about 50 of my girls, too. Not just 20-year-olds, but all ages," she says.

Didn't Hugh Hefner have a show like that once?

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Department of New Looks: In the season premiere of "Roseanne" on Tuesday night on ABC, withering jabs weren't the only thing Roseanne Arnold's character tossed around. She played her lustrous black locks for all they were worth, looking a little like Shannen Doherty's illegitimate mother. And since when does a lower-middle-class working woman use heavy contour makeup to create the illusion of chiseled cheekbones? "Joyce DeWitt Syndrome," muttered Mr. Inside Out, referring to the "Three's Company" actress who tried to go from funny, frumpy gal to sexy glamour gal. Problem is, it's hard to buy a wisecracking underdog who suddenly spends more time on her face than on the dishes and laundry.

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High-Waisted: The fall accessory no virile young man seems to be without is the back brace. About $35 at Sportmart, the wide black elastic belt looks like a cross between a weightlifter's belt and a cummerbund with suspenders. We've spotted them on gas-station attendants, grocery clerks and messengers. Even a guy whose biggest strain consisted of lifting a jar of salmon eggs off a shelf did so recently wearing his trusty brace. At Federal Express, it's a company rule, says employee Randy Cheek. "It keeps you aware of proper lifting techniques--bend with your knees, keep your back vertical," he says. And it's so slimming! We're going to wear ours to set the table.

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Domestic Bliss: Planning to bake pies, put up preserves, build a compost pile and shop the local farmers market this weekend? Relax, let Martha do it! With her Frederic Fekkai cut growing out in a girlish shag, Martha Stewart tackles all that and more in the premiere of "Martha Stewart's Living," Sunday on KNBC. Christopher Hitchens may lampoon her in the current Vanity Fair, but you gotta love a woman who picks cherries wearing pearl earrings, then dumps out a wheelbarrow full of deadheaded flowers and trimmings with the grace of a girl at a cotillion.

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Down, Out and About: Everyone was in such good form at Chanel's luncheon at L'Orangerie last week. The women from Chanel looked impeccably Chanel. The fashion press flashed what bits of fall style it could, given the day's sweltering heat. And just as Chanel's charming president and CEO, Arie L. Kopelman, was about to unveil drawings of the new Beverly Hills store, set to open Nov. 19, our chair began falling backward--with us in it. Horrified tablemates rushed to rescue us from this out-of-body experience. Too late. We rolled, ever so femininely, onto all fours, scrambled to an upright position and gulped three swallows of cold white wine. The greatly expanded boutique on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Brighton Way will feature a jewelry store, a shoe salon and a dramatic double staircase--which we will take one cautious step at a time.

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Shopping Saga: A blond woman in a Rolls-Royce was oblivious to the bottleneck she created in the Loehmann's Beverly Hills parking garage Tuesday. We eked our wagon around her and hurried into the store for our last-minute High Holiday shopping. The place was bustling with women hunting down the right synagogue show-stopper. "Is it always this crowded?" we asked a saleswoman. "No," she said thoughtfully. "It's because of the Event." Hmm. We'd never heard Rosh Hashanah called that before. But the event she referred to was the annual arrival of fall merchandise. By the time we got there, everything looked pretty picked over. "The good stuff is gone in about an hour," a salesclerk said. And so were we.

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Fashion Flashes: Benetton is causing another stir with its new fall ad campaign featuring the words HIV Positive tattooed across naked bottoms and limbs. . . . Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia won't be "overly involved" in designing his new line for women, says a company spokeswoman. Surprise, surprise.

Inside Out is published Fridays.

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