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Confidential

Practice Is Perfect for Lakers Fans

March 13, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

"We didn't even think they would show up," said Nancy Mather of Manhattan Beach, decked out in Lakers jersey, hat and shorts, unable to take her eyes off Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Forget the competition; the 400 or so who gathered courtside at the Great Western Forum early Friday night were content to watch the Lakers play against each other for an hour. "This is totally cool," gabbed one middle-aged man into his cell phone.

Shrieks echoed through the hollow Forum as a bat swooped down over the crowd that had been offered the opportunity to attend a Lakers practice after buying season tickets with American Express cards.

But the players were unfazed--both by the bat and the fans.

Kobe didn't once crack a smile, even as he slammed his third dunk. But he did give friendly rival Shaq a high-five, and, as the two powerhouses left the court, they hurled their high-top sneakers like torpedoes into the crowd, which dived after them.

There were no sitars playing nor incense burning, but many of those who attended the event admitted they were intrigued by the New Age mystique of coach Phil Jackson, who, as of Friday, was on a 17-game winning streak. As he approached the podium to take questions, Jackson, who looks like an aging hippie, grinned as one fan yelled: "Phil Jackson for mayor!"

Toward the end of the conversation, he shared his secret for success: "Be in the moment, and flow will take you to do things that are out of the ordinary."

There you have it. It's just that simple.

*

Actress Tracey Ullman, Fred Segal Flair owner Jeannine Braden and television producer Stephanie Cone ("Tracey Takes On") could easily have been mistaken for the "Absolutely Fabulous" cast in a short film about their new fashion e-tail venture, http://www.purpleskirt.com.

The piece was taped just a few weeks ago, when the three stylemakers went to the fall fashion shows in London, Paris and New York. Between designer engagements, Ullman and friends took their fashion-obsessed humor to the streets, informally surveying consumers using placards illustrated with different body types.

The consensus? Women who are size 12 and over are hungry for great fashion.

"That's what people want," said Ullman, dressed for the site's recent launch party at Culver City's Smashbox Studios in a whimsical William B suede skirt with large orange, hot pink and brown polka dots. "Otherwise fashion is just about skinny minnies. We have skirts that we can make in size 16, 18, even size 20 if they want it."

Purple Skirt carries pashmina skirts, cashmere tees, snug-fitting pants and flouncy dresses ($100-$300) from designers such as Chaiken, Tocca, Katayone Adeli and Staci Woo. Larger sizes from Trina Turk and William B (a.k.a. William Beranek, who is married to Braden) will be available later this spring.

"It used to be if you liked fashion and you were a bigger size, you couldn't get it," said Braden, in a baby leopard print three-quarter-length coat and flesh-toned fishnets. "We wanted to create a Web site where anybody can shop."

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