Gilda Marx

"If we're exercising in space five years from now, I'll design an aerobics spacesuit." Gilda Marx, the designer for Flexatard, says things like this to show that she keeps up with the times. She recently added swimwear, jogging and cycling clothes to what was once a collection of leotards and tights.

Next, she says, she'll introduce a home-video exercise tape. But not quite yet. The market is saturated, according to Marx. So she's biding her time, doing her research.

"I've learned a few things from the mistakes I've seen in the earliest exercise tapes," she says. "You can't turn on an exercise tape and learn from it, for example. You need to learn in a class. You need a professional correcting you, pointing things out that you might be doing wrong. A tape is for the days when you don't go to a class."

These days she wears a one-piece exercise suit--a unitard--when teaching classes at her exercise salon in Century City. But she says, "women who've worn the uniform--leotard, tights, leg warmers, headband--have gone through six different versions of it in the past couple of years. Now they want classic styles made of shining Lycra fabric. And they want a tight, fitted look, because that's the way all fashion is going right now." Prints like the two-piece outfit shown here, available at Nordstrom, are still popular as long as they are tight.

But, Marx says the "T-back" style that exposes haunches, a trend in L.A. right now, isn't playing in Peoria. The body watcher points out: "There just aren't that many beautiful rear ends."

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