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Striking Gold

September 01, 2000|JOANNA DENDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A California gold rush is on for the fall fashion season. Those who do their style homework know that gold is big for the season. Los Angeles designers are putting their own spin on the glitz and ritz seen in the fall collections of Ralph Lauren, Versace, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

Prosperity means good times, and what better way to flaunt it than to dress as if you've been touched by Midas. Fashion's infatuation with gold reminds us of the 1970s disco look and the dress-up 1980s.

Gold is back big time after a decade of playing second fiddle to silver and platinum. "My customers wouldn't think of wearing gold last year--only silver or platinum. Now they only want 18-karat yellow gold and any accessory that has gold in it," says Jennifer Kaufman, owner of the eclectic accessory store in the Beverly Center that bears her name.

Those of us over a certain age remember the gold standard in the 1970s and '80s. But for the younger generation, it's something new. Gold is a fast way to update your fall wardrobe, but there's a risk of looking garish. The timid may want to start with touches of gold cosmetics--MAC's gold face and body shimmer, gold eyelashes and gold lip gloss, for example.

For those who want to go bold with gold, BCBG Max Azria's fall collection offers glamorous, distressed, gold leather sportswear with matching gold boots and shoes. One of the more subtle numbers is a jacket made of cognac-colored buttery leather lined in gold.

Designer Maggie Barry is using gold only for accents--gold leather appliques sewn on a sheer nude net camisole and skirt--in her fall collection. She says gold is "back because deluxe is back. No more plain, austere clothes worn with no or little jewelry. People are deprived of the glamour and decadence we wore during the time of discos. Now they are dying to wear it again."

Niki Schwan, designer and owner of Lura Starr on Beverly Boulevard, says, "I wear it top to bottom every day--including sunglasses." She adds gold touches to the fabrics of her trendier and slightly younger line, called Lura. A jacket and matching pants are made of snakeskin-printed black-and-gold fabric. A halter top is made of a '70s-inspired zebra print overprinted with gold.

Elisabetta Rogiani says that gold is so hot now that every piece of the precious clothing in her Beverly Boulevard boutique was ripped off by shoplifters two weeks ago. Rogiani says that "the reason for gold in your wardrobe this fall is to give the 'light' that silver and white used to bring when worn with colors."

Accessory designers have also gone for the golden touch this fall. L.A. jewelry designer Robin Woodard makes affordable gold-plated necklaces, bracelets and hoop earrings that are delicate but boldly gold.

Designer Tarina Tarantino blames her love affair with gold on her mother. "During my childhood in the '70s, my mother always wore tons of gorgeous gold jewelry." Tarantino thinks the gold trend is not a short-lived one. Besides loving the way it looks, she thinks it is more flattering than silver on most skin tones.

The gold craze does not stop with clothes and accessories. At a new hand and foot spa on Robertson Boulevard called L.A. Vie L'Orange, manicurists have been painting nails and toes with the salon's custom golden colors since the beginning of summer. They think it's only the beginning of a huge trend.

Colors are not "screaming gold," says salon co-owner Kelly P. Brown, but offer a matte finish or only gold overtones with dark red seen when turned to the light. The spa also offers gold rhinestones, bindis and studs to be used for manicure and pedicures.

Go for the gold, like you're in the Olympics.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Gold Fever

1. Gold leather jacket, $750, and halter, $325, by Elisabetta Rogiani, available at Elisabetta Rogiani L.A.; choker necklace, $180, by Tarina Tarantino, from Jennifer Kaufman, L.A.; vintage sunglasses, $249, from Cynthia Benjamin, L.A.; gold matte nail polish with gold rhinestones, available at L.A. Vie L'Orange, L.A.; glitter eye shadow, $25, by Girl Actik, from Jennifer Kaufman, L.A.

2. Camisole, $195, and skirt, $350, by Maggie Barry, both available at H. Lorenzo and Jigsaw, L.A.; drop earrings, $50, and lariat, $200, by Tarina Tarantino, from Fred Segal Tiara, Santa Monica; "Zsa Zsa" pumps, $185, from Charles David, L.A.

3. Bronze "cube" pleather skirt, $225, by Daly Bain, available exclusively at http://www.ewonderfullife.com; bronze mesh halter top, $240, by Bette Paige at Cache, L.A.; gold pearl and amethyst necklace, $385, by Adrienne Teeguarden, available at http://www.ewonderfullife.com.; vintage sunglasses, $249, from Cynthia Benjamin, L.A.; gold bracelets, $85 each, by Patricia Hurley; black and gold paisley handbag, $165, by Sarah Shaw, both from Jennifer Kaufman, L.A.

4. Snake print jacket, $396, and pants, $276, by Niki Schwan, from Lura Starr, L.A.; gold chain choker, $180, and bracelet, $50, by Tarina

Tarantino, from Jennifer Kaufman. Gold-tinted sunglasses, $297, from Cynthia Benjamin, L.A.

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