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FASHION : Politics Just Aren't in His Future

November 17, 1994|DEBRA GENDEL | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

Daryl Hannah is his ideal woman. He dreams mostly in French. And his favorite perfume is Sun Moon Stars.

Who is Karl Lagerfeld?

Good answer! as Richard Dawson used to say.

Lagerfeld touched down in New York recently to promote his astrologically oriented fragrance, and he spoke to us by phone from his penthouse at the Royalton Hotel. "It really is the only place to stay. Upstairs is nice and quiet. Downstairs, you see everybody."

Later that day he held a news conference to answer all those burning questions about fashion and fragrance. After his riot-provoking appearance at the Sorbonne, where students made their contempt for the frivolous world of fashion well-known, was Lagerfeld embarking on a career in politics?

"No, no, no," he said emphatically. "I don't think anybody wants to be a politician anymore, do you? It's not very interesting and nobody likes you."

Besides, Lagerfeld isn't particularly interested in being politic. He's lambasted such iconic designers as Yves Saint Laurent in print; refused to participate in Robert Altman's fashion satire, "Pret-a-Porter" ("I like Altman, but I prefer to see than be in his film"), and said of his New York schedule, "I'm overbooked--like a cheap model."

Speaking of models, Sun Moon Stars spokesgirl Hannah pleased Lagerfeld immensely by looking "even more childlike" in person than in photographs. But maturity can be very salable too. Lagerfeld gleefully noted that an outfit modeled by the legendary Veruschka at the recent Chanel show in Paris was a bestseller.

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A Puff Piece: Tony Curtis immediately accused us of wanting only the anti-wrinkle freebie. To prove we had other motives for attending the Ethocyn launch Tuesday at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, we scurried off to talk to some of the 250 or so guests, including celebrities, friends of the publicist and investment bankers. Jill Eikenberry, mistress of ceremonies, said she couldn't be sure if it was the magic vials of wrinkle cream or just downtime that was plumping out her skin. UCLA dermatologist Dr. Richard Strick was so euphoric it raised a few eyebrows and caused us to wonder why Ethocyn inventor Chantal Burnison had such a furrowed brow. Perhaps she got it from squinting through a microscope for 14 years. Or maybe from answering prickly questions like the one tossed out by actress Rue McClanahan, who wanted to know--as TV cameras rolled-- why she had been invited to the luncheon and what was expected of her? Well, some word-of-mouth advertising would be nice, Burnison meekly replied. If it works, we'll let you know.

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I, Fashion Victim: Do you believe in your heart that brown shoes go with a blue dress? Do you own a pair of leopard-print leggings? Is your wardrobe virtually indistinguishable from Zsa Zsa's? If so, step right up and let your fashion victimhood net you $1,500 and a commemorative plaque.

Mr. Blackwell is giving you a chance to claim the prize money and the top spot in a contest connected with his 35th annual Top 10 Worst-Dressed Women list. Fashion victims (age 18 or older, please) must send non-returnable color photos of themselves in all their sartorial glory to Mr. Blackwell at 505 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 164, Beverly Hills, Calif. 90212 by Dec. 31. The lucky winner will top the worst-dressed list on Jan. 10. More information: (310) 271-4755.

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I, Vendela: If you're on the other end of the food chain, the pay is better, of course. Vendela's people called in hushed tones, saying the supermodel was going to have big, big news. They're not allowed to say more, but it's big. Press releases are being typed, interviews scheduled by satellite.

So what's the big deal? Vendela signed with Almay cosmetics to an exclusive multiyear contract. Supermodels sign mega-contracts for millions every day, of course. We asked the Swedish beauty herself, what's the big deal?

"It was unusual to sign with a new company after six years with someone else," the former Elizabeth Arden model said. "It's a radical change. I'm at a crossroad in my life and it was important to have a change."

Almay, which makes inexpensive, hypoallergenic products, was also an understanding company. Vendela has been living in L.A. for the past three years, taking acting classes, and Almay said she could continue to pursue her acting ambitions and charity projects.

The Cosmetic Assn. will get a chance to check out her speaking talents Friday when she hosts the USC Norris breast-cancer benefit at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.

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