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Take Five

July 14, 1994|ROSE APODACA JONES

To cure a bout of the "mean reds," Holly Golightly, the heroine of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," would dash off to her sanctuary from the ugly world: Tiffany & Co.'s Fifth Avenue store. Fortunately, we don't have to leave home to thwart today's mean reds thanks to the Tiffany Spa Collection. The premiere line features five botanically based treatments, including Purifying Body Soap ($15), Smoothing Body Scrub ($30), Hydrating Body Milk ($40), Refreshing Body Mist and Conditioning Shampoo (each $25). "Life is so stressful today," notes Jo Ellen Qualls of the South Coast Plaza store. "Not all of us can start the day at the spa. But we still need those moments of pampering." That intention appeals not only to women, she adds, but men, who are buying products for themselves.

The Cash Register Roars

It's a jungle over at Disney licensing headquarters in Burbank as folks there scramble to fill orders on "Lion King" everything. "Retailers are calling us, and we can't get reorders out fast enough," says Doug Mangino, vice president of apparel there. Disney Stores report they've blown out the limited edition watches ($75), while stores from Sears to Robinsons-May are doing steady business with Tees (about $7 to $14). Surprises: healthy sales of boys' shorts sets. "The lack of a female heroine in 'The Lion King' has meant fans are split evenly between boys and girls," Mangino says. Other top sellers include women's bike shorts and leggings (about $13 to $18) and kids' canvas shoes (about $11 to $13) and sandals (about $7).

In Stitches

You can hear Malia Mills' smile over the phone. She probably couldn't fake a frown if she tried. And why not? This Manhattan-based designer has plenty to smile about with the mass exposure she's been getting for her swimsuits. Started in late 1992 with an 800 number, demand finally forced her to quit her waitressing job in May and take on two partners to help with the load. It's a funny twist considering a Mills suit has appeared almost every month in just about every rag mag, from Harper's Bazaar to Allure, since last summer. Add the cover of Sports Illustrated 1994 Swimsuit Desk Calendar to the list. The secret of her success lies in the fit, the result of multiple seams and one-way stretch fabrics (such as the kind girdles are made of), many that are unconventional for swimwear. "My suits are really about promoting the fact that women are curvaceous," she says. Mills also wanted to bring suits to a "fashion level." So it's not unusual to find a terry flared skirt, a cotton Lycra long-sleeved top with a zipper-front or a corset made of acetate, rubber and rayon. Sleeved or skirted suits, she says, are a "new kind of sexiness." Sweaters to swim in are next on the drawing board. The suits are sold as separates (to personalize styles and sizes) from $48 to $90 a piece.

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