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It's the Little Things

April 16, 1999|CHRIS RUBIN

A self-proclaimed shoe fetishist, L.A. Eyeworks co-owner Gai Gherardi first spotted miniature high-fashion footwear in a Paris boutique. Tracing it to its source--a French company called Pixi that has manufactured die-cast figures for more than a century--she discovered a related line she dubbed "fashion soldiers": tin soldier-like men and women crafted from lead and hand-painted in couture.

Gherardi was among the first to import the miniature shoes and figures to the United States, and she sells them (shoes $44, figures $52) at her Melrose eyewear boutique. Both classic and contemporary fashions are represented on the models, with designs from Gaultier and Kenzo to Givenchy, Jean Patou and Karl Lagerfeld. L.A. Eyeworks stocks about 50, including "Jupe Pour Homme," a striking Gaultier male in a topcoat and long skirt from 1984; and "Mondrian," an Yves Saint Laurent female in a dress with geometric patches of bright colors in the style of the late Dutch painter, from 1965.

Other designs in the histoire de la mode collection date back to 1911, with pieces from Schiaparelli, Lanvin and Worth, while some, including Issey Miyake and Sonia Rykiel, are as recent as 1989. What can't be found in L.A. Eyeworks, including other fashion lines and accessories from miniature chairs to trees, can be ordered from Pixi's Web site at http://www.pixishop.com. Collect them and put on your own fashion show.

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