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BY DESIGN : He-Man STYLES : Tied Up in Court

August 18, 1994|WILLIAM KISSEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The verdict's in on at least one aspect of the upcoming O.J. Simpson trial. Defense attorney Robert L. Shapiro's wardrobe has been ruled, well, indefensible by picky fashion watchers.

While many courtroom warriors spell integrity with snow-white shirts, rep ties and American-shouldered navy suits, Shapiro's look is strictly Hollywood peacock. Count on the perennially tan, handsome attorney to appear in mind-numbing print ties and a succession of unvented, European-style double-breasted suits.

"His clothes look good on TV," says Beverly Hills retailer Sami Dinar, "but they have nothing to do with fashion. Those bold ties are just no longer happening." The price, however, may have been right: Dinar says he sold Shapiro nearly $2,000 worth of sale merchandise in 1993.

The attorney is known for keeping an eye on the bottom line. "He's primarily a sale customer," says Scott Hill, who recently opened a signature shop on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles. And although Hill says Shapiro occasionally "hits it" with a particular outfit, "he has the most eclectic mishmash of suits, shirts and ties I've ever seen."

Hill, the clothing buyer at Ron Ross for 16 years, recalls helping Shapiro shop at the Studio City store. "He's a great guy. But he always bought the worst suit left on the rack after it had been marked down 75%."

Fashion insiders say that these days, Shapiro does most of his shopping at Bernini on Rodeo Drive. "I really don't think he's that bad of a dresser," Bernini Vice President Stevan Hill says. "He just picks the fringe things."

Over the course of a few recent shopping expeditions, Shapiro bought at least three Italian-made suits, 18 Lorenzini cotton dress shirts and several Brioni silk ties, Hill says. "He still likes those loud, bright ties . . . as if the trial were not enough."

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