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INSIDE OUT / FASHION

A 'Do for Di Situation

February 02, 1995|DEBRA GENDEL | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

Channel 7 Eyewitness News teased its way through ABC's Tuesday night lineup with promises to show us "Princess Diana's new look."

"You'd better watch this," advised Mr. Inside Out. "I think she's had a boob job or something."

Was it the lascivious tone of the teasers, we wondered, or Mr. I-O's testosterone-laden receptor system that prompted his rush to judgment?

Diana, we calmly explained, had set the fashion world atwitter with her appearance at Monday night's Council of Fashion Designers of America annual awards dinner in New York. Not with cleavage--which is old hat to that crowd--but with her new slicked-back hairdo (pictured on E1).

"Yeah," said a crestfallen Mr. Inside Out, "that's probably it." (Though he stayed awake through the 11 o'clock news, just to be sure.)

The 33-year-old princess racked up so much publicity during her brief visit to the States that it was easy to forget that the point of the CFDA gala was to honor designers, including Richard Tyler, Cynthia Rowley and Victor Alfaro. But even the designers went gaga over Diana's long, bare-backed navy dress and a sapphire choker.

"She looked divine--such stature," gushed Donna Karan.

"She looks sexy," gushed Mr. Inside Out.

*

Hitting the Big Time: Actress Delta Burke certainly knows the trials and tribulations of, uh, size fluctuations. So who better to put her name on a collection of large-size designs? (And don't say Jaclyn Smith, whose Kmart clothes will soon include a large-size line.) "The line is about style and state of mind, not the false restrictions of size as in the past," says Burke, star of "Women of the House." Scheduled for a spring 1996 launch, the clothing and accessories under the Delta Burke Design label will be produced, licensed and merchandised by Delta Blues Inc., Nashville, Tenn.

*

Lost in the Translation: Spiegel Inc. is pulling back from the home-shopping venture it launched with Time Warner last March, reasoning that upscale customers watch far less television than the average Home Shopping Network customer. So Spiegel is jumping on the Internet. Coincidentally, we also jumped aboard the Net this week.

Under the subject "Gun Talk" were dozens of listings. Under the subject "Fashion," we found just two entries: Lands' End and Spiegel. As eager as we were to forge a fiscal connection, it's not easy to get worked up over such entries as "Ceramic Table Lamp, 18 inches" or "Black Turtleneck." There are no pictures, but even worse, the comforting catalogue-ese is gone. No "Two-piece boucle knit outfit has a rich, looped texture." No "Our cotton/Lycra spandex legging is the basic you'll wear with everything--it's so easy to dress up or down." We may be upscale, but, hey, we like to be schmeared as much as any couch potato.

*

Princess of Poise: A tribute to Lula Fields-Walker, whose nickname is "the black Miss Manners," gave the Council of Fashion Designers of America gala a run for its money. A crowd of about 200--including former students, beauty queens she had helped win crowns, friends, fans, City Councilman Nate Holden, state Sen. Diane E. Watson and pals of her late husband, educator and jazz musician Klovis Z. Walker--celebrated her retirement last week at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Fields-Walker had run the Lula Fields School of Modeling and Professional Image Development since 1967.

"Some of the people who came to me weren't polished, or didn't know how to dress," said Fields-Walker. "I saw good people who just needed nurturing." Like a woman named Jamie Gordon, who told the audience she had risen from the "ignorance of rural poverty" to owning her own business because Fields walked her through the basics of grooming, dressing and self-confidence building.

After working as a fashion model, then as a fashion coordinator for Sears, Fields-Walker started her charm school in the Crenshaw District with rules such as "Never wear curlers in public" and "Always write thank-you notes." The evening gave her graduates a chance to thank her.

*

Style Notes: Members of the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra wore black tie for Saturday night's concert at UCLA's Wadsworth Theater, but the audience followed a dress code of its own. Andy Garcia went professorial in a drab tweedy blazer; the ethno-musicology crowd favored boiled wool jumpers and Pakistani hats, while the ingenues liked vintage beaded sweaters . . . The California Fashion Industry Friends of Aids Project L.A. has announced it will honor designer Gianfranco Ferre on May 10 at the group's Century Plaza Hotel gala. After last year's Hollywood blowout for Isaac Mizrahi, insiders say this year's bash will look positively tame . . . Sharon Stone has traded her pale mane for brown hair, says her stylist Matthew Bogner, to play a woman on death row in a film called "Last Dance."

Inside Out is published Thursdays.

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