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FASHION / INSIDE OUT

Welcome Back, M. Saint Laurent

August 11, 1994|DEBRA GENDEL | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

"More people in America know the name Opium than know the name Yves Saint Laurent," Ariel De Ravenel, Paris-based spokeswoman for YSL fragrances, told us the other day. Sacre bleu! No wonder the spectacularly shy Saint Laurent is so eager to touch base with his American constituency. Next month, the designer--who hasn't been in the States since his 1983 retrospective--will host 1,500 of the fashion world's finest at the Statue of Liberty in honor of his new perfume, Champagne.

"You can't really call it a launch, since the perfume has been available at Saks since June," De Ravenel says. But Sept. 12 will mark the first private bash ever permitted at Liberty Island. And because the statue was a gift from the French, we couldn't think of a more appropriate setting.

It all reminds us of the glamorous 1978 launch of Opium, held aboard a Chinese junk in New York harbor. To olfactorily relive those halcyon days, we stopped at the Bullock's cosmetics counter and sprayed ourself with the pungent fragrance. Mmmmm, disco. Mmmmm, wide leather belts. Mmmmm, Mr. Inside Out's freshly laundered shirt. He'll be, uh, transported.

*

I Saw the Sign, and It Opened Up My Eyes: Professional volleyball players are scantily clad. Viewers like that about the game. But players, or human billboards as we think of them, were running out of advertising space. Yikes! Your standard visor, tank shirt, bikini bottom, or trunks, holds only so many logos. The solution? Tattooing.

"Almost all parts of our players' bodies are for sale," says Debbie Rubio, spokeswoman for the Miller Lite/AVP Tour. Rubio assures us, though, that the tattoos are temps--better than the ones kids stick on themselves, but still not a lifetime commitment. Three-time Olympic medalist Steve Timmons was the tour's first tattooed man. Look for fans to follow suit. By popular demand, active-wear stores are selling the Redsand tattoos.

*

Who's That Girl? It's downright disconcerting to see Lisa McRee, KABC-TV's new anchor, looking so incredibly chic at 11 p.m. Even if we weren't padding around barefoot without a drop of makeup and happy to turn out the lights, we would still be impressed. Great clothes, great hair, great makeup. A real threat. Not to us, of course. But watch out, Diane, Jane, Joan and Paula. Where did Channel 7 find its Ann Martin replacement? Upstairs, as it were.

McRee was a correspondent on ABC's news magazine "Day One" and can still be seen on cable's "Lifetime Magazine," which ABC produces. McRee may be from Ft. Worth, but she went to UC San Diego and worked for KCST in San Diego and KERO in Bakersfield, which makes her a local success story to us. So we're chauvinistic--with taste.

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If the Shoe Fits--and Is Hideous--by All Means, Wear It: The newest entry in the ugly-but-comfortable footwear market is also perhaps the oldest. Haferls, the shoes made in Bavaria for 300 years, are now being aggressively marketed by German entrepreneur Jerome Person. He made up the clunky, side-tied, long-tongued, rubber lug-soled shoes in a fancy French factory that also makes stuff for Hermes, and in the last six months has sold them to such places as Barneys New York (men's) and American Rag (women's and men's).

So who's wearing these $190 to $235 shoes? Cutting-edge designers Philippe Starck and Vivienne Westwood, for starters. Here in L.A., Person said, Earvin (Magic) Johnson and Damon and Keenen Ivory Wayans. "They're being purchased by older customers, people in their 30s and 40s," says the 26-year-old Person, who, we suggest, ought to learn a little diplomacy in this city of eternal youth.

*

Barefoot and Well-Rounded: Speaking of shoes, Miss America contestants will stroll down the runway without them on Sept. 17 during the NBC broadcast of the pageant's swimwear competition. "I'm sure there will be many people who think it's a step forward," said Leonard Horn, pageant chairman, of the barefoot contessas. Don't be so sure, Leonard. We suggest you check out the beachwear styling of America's premiere designers, who are showing their winter resort collections in New York.

Richard Tyler's bathing beauties wear strappy high-heeled sandals. So do Isaac Mizrahi's. But then, Miss America is nothing if not an eternal fashion anachronism. Now that we're all in the mood for tall hair--inspired by "Absolutely Fabulous" Patsy and her Ivana Trump-esque beehive--want to bet that Miss America shows up in a deflated do? Just watch. We certainly will.

* Inside Out is published Thursdays.

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