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INSIDE OUT / NOTES FROM THE STYLE FRONT

How Mr. B Out Chics the Tres Chic

March 04, 1994|DEBRA GENDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Bravo, Mr. Blackwell. All the tres handsome, tres chic Frenchmen at the Yves Saint Laurent party Monday night couldn't compete with your . . . presence. Whatever possessed you to drape that mink car coat so saucily off your shoulders? Or smoke a cigarette, Bette Davis-style, in a holder?

"I wanted to run up to him and say, 'Do you know you're wearing a dead animal?' " sputtered an outraged guest. But of course, she didn't--because, well, Mr. B just might have responded with a cruel crack about her ensemble.

Meanwhile, Saint Laurent's delicious, Fruit Loop-colored spring menswear--orange-orange jackets, lemon-yellow gingham check suits and blue-blue tapestry pants--was paraded before an audience that included butler-turned-millionaire Bernard Lafferty. The pony-tailed heir to the Doris Duke fortune arrived at the Rodeo Drive store with an entourage that included an attractive Swedish woman and a personal bodyguard. "He's a customer," we were told.

The show's finale--an embroidered Levi's jacket emblazoned with a sunflower and the words "Love 1994"--will go to the highest bidder June 18 at the DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation for AIDS) auction at the Century Plaza Hotel. By the close of Monday's party, $1,200 had already been pledged. Do we hear $12,000, Mr. Lafferty?

It Is Fun to Have Fun, but You Have to Know How

The announcement Wednesday that San Francisco-based Esprit clothing company will make shoes, clothing and accessories decorated with Dr. Seuss characters didn't surprise us a bit. We'd noticed a weird nostalgia for Dr. Seuss in our own Gen-X offspring and among those not of our womb. Like the young man who lovingly read "Green Eggs and Ham" to his sweetheart in the children's section at Brentano's late one Saturday night. That Sam I Am, That Sam I Am, I Do Not Like That Sam I Am . . . .

Dr. Seuss: the Kahlil Gibran of the '90s.

And wasn't it just a year or so ago that "Cat in the Hat" hats were the rage at all-night raves? Esprit has clearly tapped into a deep wellspring of post-adolescent kinship with the subversive creatures that populate the Seussian landscape.

Uh, not really.

"Character-driven apparel has become a vital part of the business as evidenced by the sales of Warner Brothers and Disney," said Andy Cohen, president of Esprit Apparel. "We believe this licensing agreement is a great opportunity to expand our business."

So much for social theory.

Duncan Lines Speaking of character-driven apparel, actress and Wheat Thins enthusiast Sandy Duncan will sell her own line of fashions for petite women starting March 17 on the Home Shopping Network. Duncan is particularly fond, she says, of a jumpsuit in soft crepe rayon available in black or peach--just $69.95. "The waist hits just where it should and it doesn't pull through the torso," she said.

Cinema Paradiso As usual, Giorgio Armani's show of fall clothing Wednesday in Milan was one part high fashion, one part Hollywood. Robert De Niro flew in from London. Actress Jeanne Tripplehorn made the trip from the States with fiance Ben Stiller ("Reality Bites"). Sophia Loren came all the way from Rome.

Armani's show and post-show dinner party marked the designer's 20th anniversary in the business, and the event was celebrated accordingly: All 500 seats in the designer's fashion theater were re-covered in red velvet, and his Peter Marino-designed apartment was swathed in Moroccan fabric for the night.

That's kind of the effect we were going for when we Super Glued our beloved leopard-print chiffon scarf to an old lampshade.

Portrait of the Artist With a Four-in-Hand Ties and scarves silk-screened with images from Picasso paintings are proving to be as popular as the exhibit--"Picasso and the Weeping Women"--that spawned them. As a rule, says a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the museum gift shop doesn't carry clothing. But the $35 ties and $55 scarves have been so coveted by visitors to the popular exhibition that perhaps a new tradition may be born.

Fashion Perpetrators London isn't talking about fashion victims anymore--they're more interested in fashion criminals. Or at least the new denim collection that inmates of Full Sutton prison near York launched last week. The Keyhole Clothing Project is being backed by the Red or Dead clothing line, whose founders were impressed by the workmanship of the women's jeans, jackets and skirts made in denim. Profits from the line, made entirely by the prison staff and inmates, will go directly back to the project. Red or Dead has plans to take the collection to Paris, New York and Los Angeles.

Inside Out is published Fridays.

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