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FASHION / INSIDE OUT

A 'Peculiar Link' for a Wacky Guy

October 13, 1994|DEBRA GENDEL | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

Todd Oldham makes clothes for Queen Latifah, Cindy Crawford, Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts. Escada makes clothes for Linda Gray, Deborah Kerr, Joan Plowright and a gaggle of ladies who lunch. Never the twain shall meet? Wrong. The wacky New York-based designer just signed on as creative consultant to the revered German fashion house. He will begin with the fall '95 collections.

"I'm also continuing with my own lines, the fragrance launch in March, the shoes, and MTV," said the busy young Texan. "And my own store opened three weeks ago (in Soho) and is going fantastically.

"I haven't told anyone, but I'm also going to open a store in Los Angeles in the first six months of next year. Probably in the Beverly/La Brea area, where Richard Tyler and Anna Sui have their stores."

As for the improbable connection with Escada, Oldham said it's not so improbable: "I have a deep love of technology, construction and fit. They're fond of those too. We both have a bold sense of color and love ornamentation. It's a peculiar link, but a cozy one that will work for everyone."

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The Jury Is Still Out: Prosecutor Marcia Clark's perm-damaged do got its recent make-over at the Allen Edwards salon in Beverly Hills. Prompted by a makeshift fashion adviser, Suzanne Childs of the district attorney's office, Clark put herself in Edwards' hands not once but twice.

First, he gave her a cut. Then he did more clipping and a light re-perm to get rid of clenched curls. The result is not exactly sophisticated. "Looking cute is better than looking over-sophisticated," Edwards figured. "It's professional. It's together. And if you look together, people look up to you."

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Frank-en-Coco: Claire Maglica, who won a recent palimony suit in Orange County granting her a generous share in the fortunes of the Mag Lite, would have been pleased. A table covered with the slender black flashlights--stamped Chanel --greeted guests arriving at the launch last week of the French company's fine jewelry line. Flashlights in hand, the handsome crowd prowled the loggia of Frank Lloyd Wright's rarely seen Ennis-Brown house near the Greek Theatre, peering at pieces that dripped from the necks, belly buttons and breasts of classical plaster torsos.

The exquisite display, created by French architect Thierry W. Despont (who won the commission to design multibillionaire Bill Gates' Seattle mansion), prompted at least five sales and many intense pangs of desire. "That's my favorite," said our glamorous friend, a woman who could gracefully wear a half-million-dollar necklace and not look overdressed.

We fell for the rings--or "sensuous talismans," as the catalogue puts it. Was it because they start at a mere $1,250? Or were we merely taken by a bit performed the next day by Arie L. Kopelman, president and CEO of Chanel? Over breakfast, Kopelman forced the ring onto his pinky and did a perfect impersonation of, well, the kind of guy who might wear a big, flashy ring on his pinky. Coco Chanel, who abhorred pretension and delighted in mixing the precious with the faux, would have loved it.

The 100-plus-piece collection is available at the Chanel Joaillerie Boutique, adjacent to the Chanel store in Beverly Hills.

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Northern Exposure: Rangy, rock-star handsome designer Nigel Curtiss arrived at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills the other day. But the samples from his spring '95 men's line ended up in Anchorage. So we asked Curtiss, who worked as commercial director of Comme des Garcons before going out on his own, to describe his design direction.

"They're for the guy who's over 35 and wants to feel stylish--but doesn't want to look silly," the 37-year-old Curtiss said.

Hmmm. Sounds like most of the men we know. "If I wouldn't wear it, it's not in my line," he said. And in fact, Curtiss looked pretty cool: black mohair wool five-button jacket, British-style inverted-pleat tapered trousers and a white shirt that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a patchwork of subtly contrasting Jacquard. Peeking out from the subdued look were neon-colored striped socks. "They're Comme des Garcons," Curtiss said, grinning. "Years ago, I talked Rei (Kawakubo) into putting these into the line."

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A Man on a Mission: On an ordinary outing to Bullock's Westwood last Thursday, we noticed a hefty Secret Service type standing guard near the escalator. On the other side--near the Origins display--stood a stocky but friendly looking Los Angeles Police Department officer. "Uh, what's going on?" we asked. "Don't ask," we were told. "It's the Prime Minister of Israel," whispered a saleswoman.

Not quite. It was Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, surrounded by a gaggle of attendants. "We have a very important customer," announced a woman who seemed to be in charge of this high-powered shopping expedition. She led Peres to the earring counter, where he was instantly helped.

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