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Fashion Notes

Some Fancy Footwork for Summer

The foot tube, the toe topper and the Moroccan foot thong keep blisters at bay during sandal and mule season.

April 12, 2002

The "foot tube" may appear to be one of those completely useless inventions like crystal deodorant and the Inside-the-Shell electric egg scrambler. But the simple band of stretch fabric designed to be worn around the arch of the foot, and its cousin the "toe topper" are helping the hosiery business, especially during the summer months.

"Women have stopped wearing socks in the summer," said Mimi Merkin, the designer for Hue Legwear. "We had to make something to wear with sandals, open-back sneakers and mules."

Introduced last spring, the "foot tube" was followed by the "toe-topper," a mini-sock that just covers the toes. "They make shoes more comfortable and they prevent blistering," Merkin said of the two designs, some of which have nonskid bottoms to help keep the foot in the shoe. "And they are multi-functional; In the winter foot tubes can be used to fasten ponytails."

The company's newest design is the Moroccan foot thong, a crocheted wisp of fabric meant to be a sexy accent for the bare foot. Merkin said, "We are always trying to stay one step ahead." So to speak.

Collage Vest Is a Case

of Designer Deja Vu

The work of late Kaisik Wong, a little-known San Francisco designer, is being newly appreciated. One of his designs has been copied by none other than Nicolas Ghesquiere of Balenciaga, one of today's hottest designers.

The similarity of a collage vest designed by Wong, who died of leukemia in 1990, and one in Ghesquiere's spring collection was first noted March 27 in the weekly Chic Happens column on Hintmag.com. An intern at the Web site spotted a picture of Wong's work in a 1974 book, "Native Funk & Flash; an Emerging Folk Art," by Alexandra Jacopetti.

The designer, when contacted by Cathy Horyn of the New York Times, admitted he had copied the vest, which came to his attention from a photocopy of the page from "Native Funk & Flash."

Copying is common and lucrative in fashion, so the discovery hasn't created much buzz. Still, if imitation is the ultimate flattery, then Ghesquiere's discovery of Wong speaks to the late designer's talent.

Major Appliances Get

Nicole Miller Touch

What's new in Nicole Miller's design portfolio? Refrigerators. The designer has dressed the front panel of a line of Jenn-Air's new Luxury Series Built-In Refrigerators. Her mosaic front uses a stained glass technique to give an impression of a flower through a window.

Miller is the latest clothing designer to expand into home products. "More and more designers are turning to home design, and as the kitchen is the center of the home, it's becoming the hottest new room to focus on," she said. "The size and shape of the blank refrigerator panel reminded me of a window. What nicer thing to be able to see from your kitchen than a beautiful floral display?"

The original Miller-designed refrigerator will be auctioned later this year to an anti-poverty organization.

Salvation Army Show

to Benefit AIDS Facility

Fashion designers have milked the concept of Salvation Army chic for so long, it's about time the organization got something for it. For an April 27 fund-raiser, L.A. designers Richard Tyler, Jared Gold, Eduardo Lucero, Estevan Ramos, Petro Zillia and others will reshape vintage garments from Salvation Army stores for a fashion show and sale.

The event includes a shopping boutique filled with clothing and accessories selected and re-styled by the designers, as well as a runway show. Proceeds will benefit Alegria, an AIDS treatment facility in Silver Lake funded by the Salvation Army and other partners. Information: (213) 553-3268.

From Times staff

and wire reports

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