Jill Richards

"Who's Valentino?" Jill Richards asked teasingly, as a model strolled in wearing a full cocktail dress that hinted at the Paris-based designer. Indeed, Richards' new dressy fall collection, shown one recent morning in her Downtown Los Angeles studio, spoke of familiar themes ranging from Chanel-look classics to Richards' own past work.

There were touches of Grecian draping, flirty full skirts, and plenty of strapless necklines. Richards, who's designed in Los Angeles since 1970, says she created the fall collection "with a strong feeling for the fitted torso," as well as short hemlines.

Buyers at the preview seemed most intrigued by her new day-to-evening designs--classic, covered-up dresses in shiny, snakeskin-patterned metallics. Richards, whose trademark is glamour mixed with a bit of body camouflage, says to expect more stretchy fabrics and close silhouettes from her by spring '88.

"I think women will have had it with the bubble by then," she said.

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