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Back Draft

March 18, 1994|ROSE APODACA

It was added only to quell East Coast requests for outerwear. Designer Shane Ralston included a long fireman's jacket in the collection for his Long Beach-based street wear label, Crime Inc. What he didn't figure is the response out west would spread like wildfire. The stiff canvas coat is a hit among snowboarders, who dig the hood, quilted lining and water- and wind-resistant features, Ralston says.

Matte Attack

The trouble with matte lipsticks is their tendency to cake up as well as dry your kisser. But rather than giving up on them, an Australian teen created a long-lasting, pigment-rich stick with moisturizer. Now Poppy King, 21, is getting lip service from hip women and hip stores--Barneys New York carries her line exclusively in the U.S. "Response to the quality of her line has been outstanding," says Elizabeth Richardson of the South Coast Plaza Barneys' store. That's even with the $16 price tag. "Poppy believes there really isn't one right color for a woman. It all depends on her mood." With colors named after the Seven Deadly Sins and other character attributes, there should be a shade for every occasion.

Mad About Plaid

The apron dress takes on a new meaning for spring--shorter, flirty and flounced. Spot Girl's version in cayenne or black plaid ($54) on ecru is picnic perfect. "Our customers can't get enough of plaids," says designer Dana Dartez of the Costa Mesa label. Plaids and stripes are featured through the collection's mix and mismatch story. The textured fabric fits current tastes for natural, raw materials, she adds, as do the handmade coconut shell buttons.

Kramer Is King

He's dark, tall and has a knack for swank. He's Kramer, that quirky character of TV's "Seinfeld" (and Michael Richards in real life). And, as anyone with a trendy teen probably knows by now, his kitschy style is very cool. Local thrift shops are being raided for slinky Kramer-style shirts--usually from the synthetic '60s. Store buyers in the know are seeking out newer versions. "It's like everyone picked up on it, and that's what (buyers) see," says designer Shawn Stussy, who's always done his takes on the look, inspired by his grandpa.

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