The most notable new model accessory is the petit chien. Juggling the leash with the cell phone and the assistant is a seemingly big task, but Fi Fi is just usually happy to be out of the house.
One definite fear monitoring censor is the overabundance of Khaki seen in spring and summer store racks and immediate trade shows. We've decided that Khaki is not a color. It's a lifestyle, and it's boring. I urge you, be brave, wear white this summer, it will help the cause. Leisure and no-frills ease needn't be a death sentence. The world of leisurewear spawned, among other things, well, leisure suits (think velvet for fall), and also brought us modified golf and suburban bridge looks that are still going strong in Madras and floral prints. Any of those little edgy housewife shift dresses should fill in spring wardrobe blanks for now. The grooviest plaid golf pants for women still come from the boy's racks of vintage stores, and it's really easy to split that back center seam and nip the waist to fit. Please try to have some fun this summer.
The leisure suit and personal variations of relaxed uniform dressing (vintage golf shoes included) are among the few things that make sense these days. Assuming that just because last winter's street uniform was a peacoat,"military", for the most part, is a blank stab in the darkness of fashion themes. In reality, it still looks like the belted version of wardrobe from Welcome Back Kotter episodes. Call a spade a spade, the '70s have not left us yet. The patchworked hippie and two-toned piecing thing is still happening, in summer cottons and knits, and in a lot of suede for fall. Yokes abound. Still baffled by the existence of the overpriced Ultrasuede - we always opt for the real thing.
Suede piecings from Van Buren's Fall Collection.
One very cool headway making look that has evolved from the '70s, is the upper crust chic hippie. The interesting thing about this trend is that although it has infiltrated the streets, it didn't start there. It seems to have sprung from the combined efforts of stylists and editors, namely Harpers Bazaar, rather than the other way around.
Fall hippie chicks from Parallel by Katayone Adeli. (Photos: Corina Lecca.)
Influences were all over the place for fall, with the delightful game of "name that knockoff" being played fervently. Answers ranged from Versace '87 to as recent as Laura Whitcomb '93, which didnÍt help the quest for the common thread. Centuries old and still ticking, velvet certainly appeared over and over again, but either in shapes that would have suited a bad remake of Dangerous Liaisons or the same ol' thing. Stretch velvet T-shirts does not modernity make. Velvet at every turn, without any road signs, until thoroughly modern Girbaud came through. Shaped for real life with pajama ease, these pieces looked great and made a lot of sense (pictured as Francois explains the process to Elsa Klensch). The Girbaud team also did a little known jam-up job on an unshown velvet evening collection available via boutique in Beverly Hills and Chicago. Don't try this at home but, their velvet version has been ingeniously treated with peroxide to give it that shimmery iridescence.
Speaking of peroxide, with Spring in the air, the urge to go blonde is upon us once again. If you're toying with a new you, the two best no brass over-the counter natural blondes are REVLON's Colorsilk #'s 10N &11N and Clairol Complements 12N-P (hi-lift natural blonde). "N's" seem to fare better than "G's" which tend to turn brassy faster. Both work best if you're not much darker than mousy brown to begin with and improve each time.
If you're in Los Angeles and are suffering from the same stagnant fashion blues that seem to be going around...there's an inspiring exhibition that explains the journey from shawls to swimsuits for the Jewish immigrant woman. The Skirball Cultural Center presents: Becoming American Women: Clothing and the Jewish Immigrant Experience, 1880-1920, through September. This incredible story surrounds a million Jewish immigrant women who bravely adapted to American life, and how their change in Old World dress, represented a careful embrace of New World consciousness. Proof that evolution does indeed exist, and that there's hope for the future. Skirball Cultural Center: 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd 310-440-4500 (Closed Monday)
Searching far and wide for something that makes perfect sense there's a new product on the make-up front that does just that. And just in time for summer travel. A set of tools, developed by make-up artist industry pro Jo Ann Di Lorenzo, is catching a huge mail- order business. ooVo is the result of Jo Ann's scouring the planet for make-up tools that actually work. Especially the voyager case pictured here. See for yourself@1-800-996-6686...Chin-up, it's not the end of the world.