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Fashion | SENSE OF STYLE

Having Their Dessert and Leaving Too

September 25, 1997|MIMI AVINS | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

No matter how fabulous the food, how stunning the decor, how scintillating the company or how worthy the cause, guests at Los Angeles social events have such a penchant for leaving early that one suspects some twisted Cinderella complex is epidemic: They want to be home by the time midnight strikes--in Chicago.

The fashion crowd is no different. At Sunday evening's Tribute to Style party, a celebration of 25 years of fashionable selling on Rodeo Drive that benefited the Entertainment Industry Foundation, people scurried to pick up their goody bags the minute dinner was over and the fireworks had gone off. Even before dessert, they abandoned the orchid-laden tables for 1,200 that had been set up on the 300 block of Rodeo Drive, surrounding a 340-foot, raised runway.

So Carl Schuster, vice president of Restaurant Associates, caterers for the evening, quickly devised a plan. Waiters circulated among the well-dressed diners heading for the valet parkers, brandishing wickedly beautiful trays of chocolate ice cream bonbons, truffles, espresso meringues, checkerboard shortbread cookies and berry wontons. "If the people couldn't stay for dessert, we decided to bring the desserts to them," Schuster said. "And they loved it. I wish we'd planned it that way, because it kept everyone in a great mood while they were waiting for their cars."

Among the crowd, Sylvester Stallone's Jennifer Flavin shone, literally, in a short, sparkling Escada dress. Frequent David Letterman guest and Victoria's Secret model Rebecca Romijn did justice to a bare midriff gown from the new Halston Signature collection by Randolph Duke, who accompanied her. And Mimi Rogers reminded everyone that Gianni Versace sometimes abandoned his harder edge and designed dresses that were just adorable.

The five co-chairs of the evening, Wendy Goldberg, Kelly Chapman Meyer, Ruth Bloom, Susan Dolgen and Megan Chernin, who spent a year planning the alfresco dinner, weren't surprised by the timely exits. "These people act like they all have to be at their desks at 8 tomorrow morning," film and television producer Leonard Goldberg said.

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A handful of questions (especially for women who buy in multiples):

* How many black trousers is too many if you aren't a flamenco dancer?

* What's the maximum number of khaki pants you should own if you aren't a waiter at Michael's?

* How many denim shirts do you need if you don't work at the Gap?

* How much black leather can you have in your wardrobe before you have to precede your first name with Mistress?

* If your shoes, belt, purse, watch and shirt all flash a designer's logo, are you above the legal limit?

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