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Just T-Shirts but, Oh, So Glamorous

May 14, 1999|KASTLE WASERMAN

What would you wear if you were hanging out with the Rolling Stones in 1972? That's the kind of question L.A. designer Leslie Gardner asks herself every time she adds to her T-shirt line, Smashing Grandpa. The collection, which features glitter-enhanced silk-screen logos and photos of rock icons, has become a favorite in local boutiques--and on the bods of hip club crawlers.

Gardner, a graduate of New York's Fashion Institute of Technology and a former wardrobe stylist for MTV and Playboy, has always been inspired by rock 'n' roll. Smashing Grandpa began as one T-shirt--the now-signature silk-screen photo of a young Mick Jagger with red-glitter lips. But after getting orders from stores like Fred Segal and Tracey Ross, Gardner began creating more designs, and a line was born.

While her shirts feature many icons of '70s glam rock, such as T-Rex and David Bowie, Gardner admits that's not where her passion lies.

"A lot of the stuff is becoming very glam because those images lend themselves to glitter. But it's not my favorite music," she says. "I like it as a social phenomenon. It's fun to dance to, but at the end of the day, it's the Stones for me."

Gardner also says she didn't want to ride on the coattails of any trendy movement. Ready to move away from glam, she says her next line will feature more metal and '60s pop culture images.

"I just love that late '70s weird metal before MTV," she says. "But I'm not getting into punk, because I'm just not into the music. I have to love it, or I can't put it on a shirt."

Smashing Grandpa shirts are available at Wasteland, Jigsaw and Jennifer Kaufman, or order online at http://www.smashinggrandpa.com.

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