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Hot Tips for the Big Night

O.C. Prom Stylists Look to Oscars to Dress for a Winning Scene

April 02, 1998|KATHRYN BOLD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Taking their cue from the recent Academy Awards ceremony, local high school girls attended make-over sessions to learn how to project movie-star glamour on prom night.

Prom seminars are being held at select Macy's, including a session at MainPlace/Santa Ana on Saturday that drew about 150 girls and featured fashion stylists who helped participants put together a prom look from head to toe.

The experts' message: Do what the best-dressed stars in Hollywood did on Oscar night and follow a less-is-more approach to hair, makeup and accessories.

Makeup artists from Clinique showed teens how to apply the understated, natural-looking cosmetics now in vogue.

"In the past, red [lipstick] has been really in. Now the colors are more muted," said Rosemary Robles, who helped orchestrate the event. Soft lilac proved a favorite for eye shadow.

On prom night, hair should be simple but sophisticated. Stylists from Carlton Hair swept the girls' locks into uncomplicated up 'dos.

To keep them from looking too stuffy, stylists added fresh Drew Barrymore daisies and glittery barrettes. On Oscar night, movie stars wore diamond clips and other bejeweled baubles for the same effect.

Each girl tried on a dress of her choice. Picks ranged from full-skirted gowns to slinky and tight sheaths like the embroidered style that Nicole Kidman pioneered at the 1997 Oscars.

Many opted for lighter, pastel hues such as baby blue and lilac (think Helena Bonham Carter in her strapless Oscar number). Unlike at proms of the past, black was a virtual no-show. Also, there was no lace but reams of satin.

Stylists showed participants how to accessorize, pulling from piles of shoes, jewelry and handbags. Strappy sandals looked fun and youthful; so did little clutchlike purses with short handles.

"Wearing a shoulder bag is too old for them," Robles said.

Another alternative: Many of the full-skirted gowns have a pocket for a lipstick.

What look did the girls like best? "It came down to what they felt was most comfortable," Robles said.

* A prom seminar will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Macy's, South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa. Free. (714) 556-0611.

Choices for the Big Night

* Popular designers: Forget Giorgio. Nominees for leading labels among this age group are Zum Zum, Roberta, Jessica McClintock, Jump and Rhapsody.

* Price tag: The average cost of a dress is $100, just a little less than trillion-dollar designer gowns worn on Oscar night. "We know they're in high school and don't have lots of money," said Rosemary Robles, who puts on prom seminars.

* Favorite looks: Vintage-inspired gowns with flowing bias-cuts reminiscent of the 1930s; feather trims and decorative beading, fishtail hems and draped necklines.

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