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Fashion Notes

To Heck With Stylists; Ford Zeroes In on Stars

March 09, 2001|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES FASHION WRITER

MILAN, Italy — Hey, listen up, all you Hollywood stylists out there. This fashion service announcement comes from Texan Tom Ford, creative director and designer at Gucci and France's Yves Saint Laurent.

"I'm sick of the stylists. I'm so tired of stylists. . . . And the stars are tired of it too," he says.

Ouch! Molti ouch!

Ford says stars who rely on stylists--glorified shoppers for celebrities who have been brainwashed into believing they are in need of taste, polish and flair--"all are looking so cookie-cutterish. A few celebrities have personal style," but those who employ stylists have the same hair, same makeup, same dress. "Now they all look like they're doing a guest spot on 'Friends.' "

Ford says he's no longer into the stylists' game of "everyone dressing everyone." Besides, he's had it with the calls from stylists who want everything instantly just because, well, they're stylists to stars. "It's become such a rush," he says. Stylists will say, " 'We've got things from 70 designers, send us your sketches.' We say, 'Forget it.' "

Which is why he's decided to work directly with a star--and develop a personal relationship. "I make clothes for people that I like," he says. Faye Dunaway, Heather Graham and Helen Hunt have shown up at the Oscars in Gucci gowns.

He also yearns for the good old days of Tinseltown when stars developed their own style and were unafraid to make a tacky fashion faux pas. "I love the old days when stars did their own thing--and some were frightening. I would love some bad taste" on the red carpet, he says.

With the Oscars about two weeks away, Ford just might get his wish. After all, last year's best supporting actress, Angelina Jolie, who looked like Morticia, is expected to hand out a statuette at this year's show.

*

Speaking of Oscars, one of the hippest cafes in Milan these days is the Oscar Bar on Via Monforte, not far from the Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana palazzo where the duo stage their two shows each season.

While the hangout prides itself on its wide array of drinks--including a "Hollywood" fruit concoction of grapefruit, orange and lemon juices with club soda and sugar, and the "Oscar," made with coconut juice and strawberries--it's the sandwiches the locals gobble up whenever they're in the mood for some Tinseltown chow.

Of course, wouldn't you know it, sandwiches named for Tom Hanks, John Travolta, Kurt Russell, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams and Matt Damon are made with prosciutto, lots of it. Translation: ham, mounds of it.

A few female stars have their own namesake delicacies: Meg Ryan (goat cheese finger sandwiches) and Elisabeth Shue (a club sandwich, Italian style, made with cheese, tuna, sliced tomatoes and tartar sauce.) Others include Olivia Newton-John, Kim Basinger and my fave, Rita Hayworth, who has a simple salami sandwich named for her. Quite apropos--in a sorta, kinda way--since she played Salome in the 1953 flick by the same name.

*

Backstage after the Dolce & Gabbana show, a certain Brazilian supermodel was getting as much attention as the designers. Gisele Bundchen, who has been romantically linked to Leonardo DiCaprio and is rumored to be wearing a huge rock reportedly given to her from the "Titanic" star--was absent on the runways of New York and London last month and will be a no-show in Paris next week.

Only last season, Bundchen was here, there, everywhere: on the catwalk, every magazine cover, fashion award shows. In fact, the only runway show she has appeared in this season was Dolce & Gabbana's. The invitation for their show was a clue that the statuesque and leggy Bundchen would be there--the invite paid homage to the beauty with five photographs of her from their past shows.

At show's end, Bundchen led the models onto the runway for the collection's finale, which also was her own. "I'm not leaving modeling, but this is my last runway show," she told an Italian newspaper.

Before she made her runway exit, Dolce and Gabbana grabbed Bundchen and did the catwalk thing, smothering the model with kisses and gratitude.

Backstage, Gabbana said Bundchen agreed to appear in their show because he and Dolce were the first designers to use the model four years ago.

"She is a beautiful woman on the outside and the inside. And really, she is just an ordinary and simple girl, but she also is very spectacular," Gabbana said.

Dolce added that Bundchen is a hard worker in the world of fashion. "But Gisele doesn't live in this world like a diva, and that is the best thing about her."

*

Word from makeup and hair gurus backstage is that the Brazilian posse of models so popular the last few seasons--thanks to Bundchen--are passe. The hotties at these shows are Belgian, which makes sense, since Belgian designers are also the ones to watch in Paris next week. But equally hot also are the androgynous-looking, tattoo-sporting models with little-boy haircuts--some with Mohawk-type buzzes--and tough-girl struts.

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