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FASHION / SENSE OF STYLE

To Dress Is Human; to Wear Gucci, Divine

December 12, 1996|MIMI AVINS | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

Guccified girls ruled the podium at the Divine Design gala dinner at the Pacific Design Center on Sunday night. When Cindy Crawford, taller than ever in black suede Gucci high-heeled platform ankle-straps worn with a sleek, navy double-breasted Gucci pantsuit, accepted an award for photographer Herb Ritts, an observer commented: "That's a pretty understated presentation for her. When she was with Richard Gere, she always showed up in those cut-out bondage dresses."

The cut-out dress squad at the event to raise funds for AIDS organizations was led by host Jane Leeves, who wore the same shoes as Crawford with a black jersey halter dress from the Gucci fall collection. Jennifer Tilly, who accepted the Fashion Design award for Gucci Creative Director Tom Ford, shared with the crowd in true 12-step fashion. "I call my salesperson at Gucci 'Flora the enabler,' " she explained, "because she convinces me that buying five pairs of shoes is not excessive, as long as they're all in different colors."

Tilly slung a silver belt across the hips of her long-sleeved, black jersey gown with a deeply plunging V-neckline. "The great thing about this dress," she said, "is I can wear it next year with a completely different belt or jewelry and everyone will think it's new."

Accepting an award for corporate humanitarianism, shoe designer Kenneth Cole said, "I believe what we stand for is even more important than what we stand in." That sentiment would surely have comforted Tilly if she hadn't scored a pair of the gold platforms before they'd sold out.

Diana's Dior: Every December, the Costume Institute of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art stages a black-tie dinner they call the "Party of the Year." Monday night, the ball celebrating the opening of a retrospective exhibition in honor of Christian Dior's 50th anniversary lived up to its name, according to several beautiful people who attended.

Harper's Bazaar Editor in Chief Elizabeth Tilberis was chairwoman of the benefit, which raises funds for the museum. She wore a narrow navy silk crepe and velvet gown from Gianfranco Ferre's final collection for Dior. Not surprisingly, she was upstaged by Diana, the Princess of Wales, whose ink blue lace-trimmed slip dress was created for her by new Dior designer John Galliano. Diana obviously retained custody of her favorite pearl choker with the golf ball-sized sapphire center stone.

"For once it wasn't a sea of black," said Dolores Barrett, former head of public relations for Ralph Lauren. "Women wore very elegant gowns, in all sorts of colors, from red, lavender and pretty greens to champagne and white."

Lace and the slinky Halston-Gucci clingy white dress look were popular among the crowd of fashion professionals and socialites. Lilies of the valley, Dior's favorite flower, were liberally used in the decor--embroidered on organdy tablecloths and clustered in centerpieces with roses, moss and ivy. The walls of the museum's cafeteria were transformed by charcoal murals of Parisian street scenes populated by women wearing Dior designs from a variety of eras.

"It was the most beautiful party I've ever seen at the Met," Barrett said.

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