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FASHION / SENSE OF STYLE : Finally, an Answer to One of Life's Mysteries

May 02, 1996|MIMI AVINS | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

Gloria Estefan provided the perfect answer to the question "Where would you wear that?"--often directed at Jean Paul Gaultier's most unusual designs. Wearing a body-hugging nylon gauze wrap dress printed with a riotous patchwork of gilded tattoo markings, she made every other woman performing at Sunday's "VH1 Honors" concert look like she'd left her party dress at home.

Sure, pop stars can, and do, wear anything on stage, but Gaultier's trend-defying dress, the fruit of complex patterns married to a simple silhouette, would have been as dazzling on any woman in the audience as faithful to her exercise routine as Estefan is. Gaultier's spring collection is available at Neiman Marcus and Barneys.

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Magic Bubbles: Magic Johnson is a bath man. Supine, in a tub full of bubbles, isn't the image of the Laker star that first comes to mind, but he does frequently unwind in a custom-made, extra, extra, long tub in his home, and has just introduced Magic's Elixir, a foaming "bath soak" that is the latest product to benefit his 4-year-old charity supporting HIV and AIDS causes. The Magic Johnson Foundation will receive all the profits from each $12.50 sale at Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Fred Segal. Kiehl's, America's oldest cosmetics company, makes the elixir and also sells it via mail order--(800) KIEHLS-1.

Johnson says he thought the scented bubbles would appeal to sybaritic soakers, but especially to amateur athletes of either gender. "We get bumped and banged around on the court. When you play like we play, you like to soak," he says.

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Well-Dressed Crooks: I wasn't the only one enthusiastic about the beautifully made suits in Canadian designer Dean Hutchinson's new Robertson Boulevard boutique. A month after I described his sleek women's clothes in this column in January, discriminating thieves made off with everything but the sale items. A replacement shipment was also taken by burglars who entered the shop at dawn, breaking the dead bolt on the back door.

"It's incredibly frustrating, but I'm not discouraged," Hutchinson says. "I love Los Angeles, and I've developed a nice customer base here, so my plan is to go forward." If it's any consolation, Hutchinson is in good company: Early in his career, Richard Tyler's Beverly Boulevard boutique was burgled too.

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Beauty Note: In some ways, cosmetics aren't that different from breakfast cereals. Sweet and crunchy treats compete for shelf space in the supermarkets; in department stores, limited counter space must be shared by an ever increasing number of makeup makers. Yves Saint Laurent is no longer carried at Nordstrom's Westside Pavilion store. Bobbi Brown Essentials now occupies its real estate. Women addicted to YSL's creamy, fragrant lipsticks, offered in colors that make the fashion for brown lips seem like a bad joke, can still find them at Nordstrom in Topanga Plaza, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

* Sense of Style appears Thursdays in Life & Style.

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