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STYLE: Leaders of the Pack : Southern California Trendsetters: Portraits From the Creative Edge : Pocketful of Miracles: Kimberly King

March 13, 1994|MAUREEN SAJBEL

Kimberly King is bracing herself. As a personal shopper for some of Hollywood's rich and famous, her biggest challenge is just a week away: Oscar-night disasters. There's always at least one call the day before the awards show. Or that morning. A nominee or presenter is apoplectic because the dress she ordered elsewhere didn't arrive. Or it did, but in the wrong color or size.

King can take a wardrobe crisis like this and turn it into a fashion triumph. Working at Neiman Marcus, she has one of Beverly Hills' largest stores at her disposal and knows instantly what she can rush over in a van. She has come to the rescue countless times, browsing the racks for women (and men) with no time (or desire) to do it themselves. "One of my customers hasn't been to a store in 10 years," she says. "For a third of the women, shopping is seen as work. Many are too busy, so we do everything over the phone. Sometimes a woman just needs a second opinion."

At 32, King is one of the youngest of 10 personal shoppers at the store (and the other dozen or so around town). Her job requires speed, accuracy and a sixth sense that tells her what other players are going to do; not surprisingly, she also plays semi-pro tennis. "She knows in a second whether a piece will work for me," says model Vendela. "She really gets to know her clients and matches their style and personality with their clothing."

A few wardrobe tips, however, she shares with everyone: A piece of Kieselstein-Cord jewelry earns you immediate respect. An Armani pantsuit is a can't-miss choice for most events. And quality fabric separates insiders from outsiders.

Wendy Goldberg, wife of producer Leonard Goldberg and a Revlon consultant active in community affairs, relies on King to save time. "You want to look great, but you don't want to be consumed by your clothes," Goldberg says. "There are so many things in life to worry about, and clothing shouldn't be one of them."

King is tight-lipped about other names on her client list, but with her annual sales reaching seven digits, she's obviously catering to actresses, studio executives and the real Industry elite. "Don't underestimate the power of the Hollywood wife," she says. "When she's dressed well, people say 'Oh, he's doing well.' They close the deals."

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