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A Line That's Tyler-Made for Your Soles

August 15, 1996|MIMI AVINS | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

A designer who sees his creation defiled by the wrong choice of accessories feels like the chef forced to watch a diner smother an exquisite dish with catsup. One way to avoid fashion-induced nausea is to offer the consumer a total package--shoes, belts, hosiery and bags that bear the same name and share a common vision. With his inaugural shoe collection, Los Angeles designer Richard Tyler is on his way to providing that for his loyal followers.

During the year he was responsible for the Anne Klein collection and its licensees, Tyler designed shoes, but the pumps, evening shoes and boots now available at the South Coast Plaza Nordstrom are the first footwear to bear his own label. The textures and colors are striking, ranging from shiny calf, kid and lizard to python, suede and pony skin. The seasonless bright pink, silver or blue metallic ankle-strapped sandals are all a party girl could wish for.

Tyler's known for his wonderfully detailed suits, so it's no surprise that his version of a basic pump is embellished with beautiful stitching. The bootlegged pants surfacing again for fall work wonderfully with the narrow, single-breasted jackets Tyler does so well. But what kind of shoes to wear, especially when the object is to separate the boys from the girls in man-tailored suits? Most wanted: square-toed shoes or ankle boots with stacked heels no more than 3 inches high, in a waxy leather, maybe in a rich color like oxblood or rust.

"We tried to have shoes in the collection that would work with any of our clothes," Tyler said. "There are strappy shoes that I like with long dresses or with suits. Those have a lighter feeling, which I think can be great, even with suits."

Although the shoe collection Tyler has already designed for next spring includes more flats, the current group shows a decided preference for heels. "I just love the look of a woman's leg in heels," he said. "A high heel makes everything longer and leaner, and it's sexy. When you're designing clothing, that's what you're trying to do--make a woman look sexy."

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And The Winner Is: The BMW Z3 Roadster is sponsoring the 1996 California Designer of the Year awards. Does that mean the six nominees announced this week get cars instead of crystal trophies? Janice Levin for Poleci, Janet Howard, Joel Fitzpatrick for Pleasure Swell, Max Azria for BCBG, Michele Bohbot for Bisou Bisou or Mossimo Giannulli for Mossimo will receive the honor on Oct. 6 at a black-tie dinner at the Beverly Hilton to benefit Stop Cancer. Maybe the winner gets a Bimmer at 40% off.

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You Always Hurt the One You Love: Calvin Klein and his wife, Kelly, have announced that they are separating after nine years of marriage. Only time will tell whether their prenuptial agreement actually prohibited Kelly from wearing clothes by Jil Sander, Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan or Ralph Lauren, minimalist style rivals of Calvin's, until the year 2010.

* Sense of Style appears Thursdays in Life & Style.

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