Malibu's Chic Beachcombers Keep the Summer of '85 Sizzling

Times Staff Writer

Everybody on Malibu beach seems to know what's happening. You can tell by the way people dress that they know about sushi and surfboards, celebrities, straw cowboy hats, the right oversize swim trunks for men. Things that hip people are supposed to know about.

And everybody's somebody out there. There aren't any nobodies. No ordinary people. Everybody you run into is the first this, the last that, the newest, the oldest, the only. Really, it's quite a place.

So when we wondered about the latest looks for the beach, we headed to Malibu. Water wear is one of their fields of expertise.

"We don't overdo it like city people do," Kelli Cureton says. "City people come here with carloads of toys, beach chairs, picnic coolers. And they dress too coordinated. Swimsuits, matching bags, cover-ups. They wear what they think people are supposed to wear to the beach. When you live at the beach, you dress more casually."

Cureton may change her clothes three times a day at the beach, but she dresses down. She likes a one-piece suit for a morning jog, a bikini for sunbathing and a big shirt for a cover-up. If she puts on a swim cap and goggles, she says, "I wear them after swimming. They're accessories. And the cap protects my hair from the sun."

Nicolette Sheridan, an actress who is between soaps (she used to be on "Paper Dolls," and she will be on a new TV series, "Dark Mansion," next fall), often walks along Malibu

beach. Sometimes, Sheridan wears a bikini top with a pair of skintight athletic pants.

"Nicolette dresses fashionably for the beach," observes Tiffany Salerno, who is named after the jewelry store. "No one walks down the beach dressed dumpy. In Malibu you dress up to walk on the beach."

When she dresses for public viewing, Salerno doesn't want to look ordinary. So she walks wearing a dress rolled down to her hips like a skirt, with a big belt around it. She puts on a pair of anchor earrings and her bikini top. She likes to put on nothing but anchor earrings and a swimsuit too. "Lots of people are wearing big jewelry and bikinis this summer," she says.

Salerno wants to be a fashion designer after she graduates from UCLA. She has already been a fashion model. "I've modeled swimsuits in Japanese fashion magazines," she says.

Sepp Donahower wears swim shorts designed by an L.A. artist, Jim Ganzer. The two men are partners in a company called Jimmy'z. They went into business 10 months ago. It started in Ganzer's garage, Donahower says. Now, Ganzer transfers his paintings to fabric. And big, baggy, Jimmy'z shorts are selling in department stores "and in every surf shop in the world," Donahower jokes.

A California beach dweller of more than 20 years, Donahower says he has seen the big look in men's beach shorts and swimsuits come in and go out of fashion. "But it's always been around, because it's so comfortable."

Nadia Oliviera may be the only woman on Malibu beach who goes to Brazil to buy her bathing suits. (She was born in Brazil.) Suits are smaller there, she finds.

She likes one-piece suits with G-string backs or bikinis she can roll down to look even smaller. "My suits are bare compared to typical American suits," she says. "Men in Brazil are used to seeing that. Americans think you're a bad girl if you wear a bare suit. Here, people aren't too sexy. That's the problem."

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