The Prince-style regalia that turned up at the Forum for the performances of His Royal Badness was impressive. At Prince's closing concert on Sunday, for example, about one in three concert goers was clad in some sort of Prince-inspired gear: the color purple, black lace, ruffled Edwardian shirts or, on one woman, a copy of the outfit the singer recently wore to the American Music Awards (purple fur tails draped over one shoulder along with a lei of brightly colored flowers). On stage, Prince did not disappoint his fashion fans, performing in a number of opulent, funky costumes that are a sartorial cross between the styles of James Brown and Liberace. But the biggest surprise came not from Prince but from Wendy, Prince's lead guitarist. In the latter part of the show, she played wearing an elegant, open-front gown revealing garters, stockings and running shoes.
"Hollywood Wives," the TV saga, is over but not forgotten, at least not on Rodeo Drive, which got quite a plug in the opening credits of the ABC miniseries last week. Retailer David Orgell, who also happens to be president of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and past chairman of the Rodeo Drive Committee, explains that the Rodeo Drive merchants normally don't like having film crews around because they just clog up the streets and get in the way of police and fire trucks. But the chamber made an exception this time for producer Howard Koch, and Orgell, for one, is glad it did. "If you lived in Madison, Wis., you would have been on the edge of your chair watching the beautiful storefronts and interesting shots of the whole street," Orgell says. OK, so the storefronts looked good, but Listen is still trying to figure out how much reality was in the mind of costume designer Nolan Miller when he was dressing the stars of the show. What was that get-up Elaine Conti (a k a Candice Bergen) wore to her party? How did poor Elaine manage to look tacky in Chanel? Was that shoplifting suit (the one with fringe) for real or what?
Speaking of the incident at Gucci--you know, the scene in which Elaine Conti tries to walk off with a pricey pearl necklace--Listen wondered how Gucci really would have handled an Elaine Conti-type shoplifter. "Producer Howard Koch handled it very nicely," says Gucci managing director Luigi Leonardi, who had read the script before giving the production company permission to shoot inside the store. "We wouldn't have allowed them to use the store if the story led people to believe that a shoplifter could have walked away without being picked up by an efficient security system," he says. "There were minor details we would have handled differently. Personally, I felt the actor playing the manager was too arrogant--you don't sit down at a desk and confront the customer as if you were the police inspector. He didn't have any direct correlation with being a Gucci executive. But the general line of the script was close to reality. Compensation or purchase of the item would have settled the whole matter." Leonardi added that to his knowledge, such an incident involving a famous person has never happened in Beverly Hills. "But in the New York store, we knew of a wife of a very famous man who was a kleptomaniac. We finally had to go up to her and ask her if she wanted to charge something she had taken, and she ended up signing for it." By the way, the pearl necklace in question was for real, and carries a $54,000 price tag at Gucci.
More power to them: L.A. designers John Murrough and Antony Moorcroft for T. J. Boys have been named finalists in the second annual More (as in More cigarettes) Fashion Awards for new fashion talent. All contenders had to be in business for at least one year and no longer than five. Murrough describes the 15-month-old T. J. Boys look as "California sportswear," which includes casual clothing made in cotton and pig suede. The other finalists, narrowed down from a field of 25, are all based in New York. Judges Mary McFadden, Caroline Herrera (who were both out with the flu and missed the judging at Carnegie Hall), Giorgio Sant'Angelo, Willi Smith and Michaele Vollbracht will choose the winner who will receive a vermeil and ebony trophy, designed by Paloma Picasso, on April 29.
Aida Grey,who owns that posh Wilshire Boulevard beauty salon, has been at her paint pots again. This time she's come up with a second lip shade in honor of frequent client Nancy Reagan. It's called Reagan Rose, and Grey says it pays homage to the Reagans' second term in office. To celebrate the first Reagan win, Grey invented Reagan Red, a true red shade, which Mrs. Reagan apparently wears and loves. The new shade "is a bit more coral in tone than Reagan Red," Grey explains. It has been blessed by Mrs. Reagan in a sort of consumer test. Grey says she sent a number of likely candidates to the White House and received word from the First Lady's secretary as to which one Mrs. Reagan preferred. As another part of her capital beautification project, Grey says she'll "do the White House staff" when she's in Washington in mid-March on some business of her own. How come? Listen asked. "Oh, I've done them before. I take care of the entire staff," Grey explained. Grey also takes care of an unusual assortment of others. In recent days, Listen's spies have noted the following personalities hopping in and out of those imported, antique doors: actor Keenan Wynn, boxer Boom Boom Mancini, rock star Madonna, singers Gloria Loring and Marilyn McCoo and philanthropist Sybil Brand, who's such a regular that Grey ought to have a chair named in her honor.
Why did Catherine Deneuve stop doing TV ads for Chanel No. 5? "Because that campaign ran for eight years, and other perfume companies had started to copy it. We needed a bold new approach," Chanel president Kitty D'Alessio told Listen at the recent opening of the Chanel boutique in Beverly Hills. The "bold new approach" is Chanel's current "Share the Fantasy" campaign, which features dream-like happenings in surreal settings. Listen's favorite, so far, is the one with background music by the Ink Spots who sing, "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire."
Dionne Warwick was easy enough to spot Tuesday night at the Grammy Award presentations. At least Luiz Archer thought so. She was the super-singer wearing one of the nine custom-made dresses she owns that are by L.A. designer Archer. "They're all the same style, but in different colors," he tells us. On Grammy night Warwick opted for the black version with a spray of silver beads across the shoulders. But for upcoming appearances, Archer says he just made a new version in red with gold and orange beading. "She says it will be her signature dress," he explains. Listen wonders if Warwick will be willing to try a new style this spring when Archer's first collection of clothes in Pierre Deux fabrics hits the Pierre Deux shops.
Want to know what Julia Child wears around her kitchen? Barbara Gordon, who manages the Forgotten Woman shop for large-size women in Beverly Hills, says it's "sportswear, sportswear, sportswear." The famous food maven whisked in there recently, Gordon says, and bought "an armload" of functional separates in which to coddle eggs and saute onions. At the other end of the fashion spectrum, Gordon adds, is jazz idol Carmen McRae, who made a whistle stop at the shop before leaving on her European concert tour. McRae looked "stunning and svelte" in the two totally sequined Criscione evening gowns she purchased, Gordon says.
The first fashion video for fatsos is being shown around the country. It stars formerly fat TV exercist Richard Simmons, who improves the lives of three unhappily hefty women simply by dressing them in spiffy new clothes. The clothes, of course, are from Simmons' Advantage line of large-size sportswear by Breton Industries. The video cost $65,000 to produce, Simmons spokeswoman Janet Orsi says.
If you're wondering how all of those "Mumford Phys Ed Dept" T-shirts (straight from Detroit's Mumford High School) wound up in Los Angeles, you can look to your local Bullock's. The shirt, which was worn by Eddie Murphy as he tooled around Beverly Hills in "Beverly Hills Cop," is now being sold in the chain's Young Attitude departments. "It's selling like hotcakes," Lisa Engler, divisional merchandise manager for Bullock's, says. "The shirts (in plain gray with black letters) have been in our store for only two weeks, and they've already been reordered."