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Show and Shops Cover a Lot of Territory : Designer Buttons Down the Latest Trend

What makes old clothes look new is something Linda McDowell can tell you in a word: Buttons. Buttons shaped like bows, boots, boutonnieres. She makes them all and more, and calls them Click-Its.

Transplanted here from New York last fall, McDowell found her niche right away. “Button covers, not buttons,” she corrects.

Today she’s wearing the red satin roses on a vintage white blouse. They’re bright red and they cover some very ordinary-looking buttons underneath.

There’s a method to this: “You find a great shirt with ugly buttons,” she begins. “Change them and the shirt can look like a Chanel.” Then she adds with a nervous giggle: “I hope Coco Chanel doesn’t call me from the grave.” Yes indeed, there are Chanel-inspired Click-Its too.

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Ask how she got interested in making a career of buttons and McDonnell gets metaphysical. “It’s a concept of change,” she says. “I believe in owning not many clothes and dressing them up with a lot of different accessories.”

Her anchor-shaped Click-Its, for example, belong on bell-bottom pants as well as on blouses. And her clip-on cuff links open up whole other vistas for conversation.

McDowell introduced her Click-Its at Chameleon on 3rd Street in Los Angeles. Her New York-based partner, Regan Caton, couldn’t be there for the event.


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