“Miami Vice"isn’t just another pretty cops-and-robbers show. It’s the hottest men’s fashion look around. In fact, its two stars, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, may be doing more for Italo-American tailoring than Tom Selleck did for Hawaiian shirts. Roberto Mitrotti, wardrobe consultant for “Miami Vice” and owner of the Madonna menswear stores in New York (a Los Angeles branch is owned by his brother Sergio), tells Listen that department and specialty stores around the country have been inundated with macho types asking for fashions they saw on the show. But what Mitrotti calls the “post-preppie look of the show” isn’t easily available--yet. Mitrotti says the actors’ pale, sharply tailored and expensive suits--which are worn with bright pastel T-shirts instead of traditional shirts and ties--are literally “grabbed from Italian designers’ hands” as soon as they’re all stitched up. And U.S. television viewers “get to see these clothes on the show even before the editors” of Italy’s L’Uomo Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar get to photograph them for European readers. But not to worry. Mitrotti says he’s been consulting with Universal to find a U.S. manufacturer who can produce an affordable “Miami Vice” line of clothing for sale in the United States. Stay tuned.
Something to bark about: At a store renowned for its shoe department--the new Westside Nordstrom--one of the fastest-selling shoes is a flat pump with spots resembling a Dalmatian’s. Within four days of the store’s opening earlier this month, some 70 pairs of “animal” shoes--including the black-and-white pups (with red dog collars), pink elephants and patent-leather parrots, all by Paradox ($84-$95)--have skipped out the door. Kent Watanabe, shoe buyer for Nordstrom’s L.A.-area stores, surmises that the proliferation of plain pumps for the last few seasons may explain the blitz sellout of flats that are anything but plain. “I guess everyone’s been pumped out,” Watanabe says. A second shipment is expected to arrive in late June or early July, just in time for the, er, dog days of summer.
Brooke Shields has come up with a new twist on the business of writing beauty books. In “On Your Own” (Villard Books), due out in mid-June, the Princeton student not only includes the usual tips for dieting, skin care and exercise, but also tips on developing good study habits, writing term papers and establishing a good relationship with your professor. Among Shields’ suggestions: Don’t study late into the night; do use index cards for organizing papers. Shields also offers this advice to her fans: Grades aren’t everything. Unless you’re heading for law or medical school, B’s are OK, she writes. Being “completely” academic and obsessive about grades “could make a person go crazy.” Listen gives Brooke a B for her book.
How do you make hair look funny? John Isaacs, owner of the Michaeljohn salons in Beverly Hills and London, had to answer that question for the filming of Blake Edwards’ new movie, “A Fine Mess,” a slapstick comedy now filming in Los Angeles. For the dapper-looking Richard Mulligan, one of the movie’s heavies, Isaacs permed his hair a la Harpo Marx. But actor Stuart Margolin got a hairpiece that Isaacs calls “the executive swirl.” Essentially, it’s a part with a few long strands of hair. It’s attached to one side of Margolin’s head, just above the ear, and the hairs are combed up and over to emphasize his receding hairline.
Steel yourself. Catherine Bach could be starting a trend. She commissioned a cuff-style, solid-steel bracelet from Beverly Hills jewelry designer Arlene Altman, who reports that this could be the start of something strong. “Steel is 50 times harder to bend than silver,” Altman tells Listen from her headquarters at the Theodore boutique. But since she’s bent it once, she’s thinking of bending it again--this time in a jewelry collection not for women only. Men of steel, take note.
The Paris jewelry firm Chaumet has created a new collection that you could call a golden opportunity. The necklaces are called Pierres d’Or, and they feature a pure 24-karat gold cabochon surrounded by precious jewels and attached to interchangeable strands of pearls, gold chains or silk cords. What makes these necklaces extra precious, Jean-Baptiste Chaumet says, is the pure gold. He explains: “Gold this pure is seldom used in modern jewelry. It is never used in chain necklaces because its very purity means that it is so soft it would eventually break. Most chains, even for the finest jewelry, are therefore made of 18-karat gold--as in the chains we use for these pieces.” The necklaces, which Chaumet calls “jewels with a heart of pure gold,” retail for about $15,000 to $35,000 and are available at the company’s New York store.
When L.A. interior designer Maxine Smith of Smith Cleary Interiors noticed that fashion designers were using big floral upholstery chintzes in their collections, she decided that turnabout was fair play. Smith was visiting her friend, designer Zandra Rhodes, in London and came away with--not one of Rhodes’ fantasy dresses--but with a bolt of her lily-and-button-flower motif fabric. “I’m doing my bed and walls in Zandra’s fabric,” Smith tells Listen. “Our lives are enriched by fantasy and nobody does fantasy better than she does.”
It seems as if the credit-card ads are true. We mean the ones about the famous faces that nobody recognizes until they sign their bills. Singer Don Henley went shopping for a shirt at the Parachute boutique in Beverly Hills, and Jim Kalin of the shop tells us: “I wasn’t sure it was Henley until he showed me his charge card.” Kalin had less trouble recognizing Henry Winkler’s son, Jed, who stopped by the store and left with a white cotton bomber jacket. Says Kalin: “He was shopping with his mother, and I recognized her.”