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Oscar’s Fickle Fancies

<i> Compiled by the Fashion89 staff</i>

Wondering what to wear Oscar night? Well, wander past the “Hold” rack at Fred Hayman Beverly Hills for some hints. That’s where four of Hollywood’s finest have set aside their tentative selections, Listen hears from Hayman’s spokeswoman Kay Sweet. With the big night less than two weeks away, award presenters Anjelica Huston, Anne Archer, Jacqueline Bisset and Olivia Newton-John are still thinking it over. But Sweet, who’s helping to coordinate the show, says she’s been advised that the burning issue of what to wear is always decided at the last minute. “And even people who say, ‘I’m going to wear this,’ may show up in something else,” Sweet says. Meanwhile, this is a definite: The sanctified Oscar fragrance will be Hayman’s new 273. On the night of the awards presentation, Hayman will present each female nominee and presenter with a bottle of his new fragrance.

Having Designs on Towels

The folks at Hermes, the venerable and conservative French leather and fashion house, were in for a bit of a shocker recently when a “proper, three-piece-suit type of Japanese businessman” purchased 12 large beach towels at $450 each at the Rodeo Drive boutique. Manager Francine Bardot said the man told her he owned the towels in every pattern and design. When she politely inquired why, he explained that he was a dentist and used the towels instead of paper bibs to cover his patients. The cheery-looking towels--which come in fish, bird and balloon designs, to name a few--made his patients feel warm and less nervous, he said.

He’s Maxed Out

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About those rumors: No, Leon Max is not going out of business, and yes, he is hooking up with a Tokyo manufacturer for a line of women’s clothes, sold only in Japan. The rest of the story is less encouraging. L.A.'s high-profile fashion designer says he’s cutting his newest and priciest Leon Max label from the women’s-wear line. And, he already abandoned his menswear collection. “It never quite got out of the gate,” he says. “It was a drain on the business.” Add his name to a list of local menswear designers biting the belt. Glenn Williams says he’s slashed his collections from 5 to 2 per year. And Christian de Castelnau halted production of his fall collection but expects to be back for the holidays.

A Heartfelt Party

Phil Collins had himself fitted for a Perry Ellis tuxedo this week, on his way to a party honoring him, Lamont Dozier and their Grammy-winning song “Two Hearts.” Sen. Edward Kennedy’s sister Jean Kennedy Smith was at the party too. She wants to use the tune to promote the International Very Special Arts Festival for handicapped children in Washington in June.

Grace Under Pressure

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It appears that former Vogue editor Grace Mirabella will go to just about any lengths to make her new namesake fashion magazine, Mirabella, become a hit. Grace and several members of her staff showed up at a cocktail party for Geoffrey Beene, wearing T-shirts that sported her photo and were printed with: “Magazine, thy name is Mirabella.” Actually, it was nice to see the usually painfully chic fashion pack having a little fun with their wardrobes. The first issue of Mirabella debuts in June.

Talking Back

“Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” may be a new motto for the fashion industry. Two magazine articles in April address critics of some of our most important designers. Elle magazine is running a piece by writer Sarah Ferguson called “Style Wars,” in response to last December’s controversial Newsweek cover story that asked, “Who Would Wear This Stuff?” Details magazine is debuting a new commentary column with a piece by designer Ronaldus Shamask. It’s a rebuttal to a review of his spring collection that appeared in the New York Times, stating some of his styles were “obviously inspired by the recent showings in Paris” and that “echoes of Claude Montana were particularly strong.” Shamask points out that his samples were designed and finished by the time the Paris shows got under way.


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