Smokin’ Out Cole


A bit dusty from the trail, “Midnight Caller” star Gary Cole and an auburn-haired companion waited patiently the other evening along with other locals for a booth at an intimate Italian eatery in San Francisco’s North Beach section. Listen’s spy by the Bay spotted long-legged Cole--not so fresh after a warm, blustery day of horseback riding--wearing a pair of dirty, lived-in blue jeans, weathered cowboy boots and a bomber-style jacket. Cole, who plays a brooding, chain-smoking police detective turned radio call-in show host in the 3-year-old NBC series, is preparing to play George Armstrong Custer in ABC’s “Son of the Morning Star” miniseries.

PROUD BIRD: L.A. designer Robin Piccone is sending her neoprene swimsuits down runways of the international variety. Her designs for Body Glove are part of the super stylish launch of Virgin Atlantic Airways’ inaugural L.A.-to-London luxury flight May 16. Flight number 007, which lists Roger Moore and other top gun names on board, will feature a film premiere and James Bond-themed fashion show of Piccone’s designs, including her sizzling “Goldfinger” suit. But that’s not all Piccone is up to. She’ll accept Woman of the Year honors by the City of Hope later this month. And she’ll appear in a photo layout in the June issue of Savvy magazine.

THE FALCHI FORMULA: The styles, they are a changin'--literally. Those status conscious Moms on the go with babies in tow are sure to covet Carlos Falchi’s designer diaper bag. That’s right--designer diaper bag--in a decidedly unbabyish shade of gold vinyl, with an au courant matte finish. Equipped with dual elasticized side pockets, a roomy interior for necessities and matching changing pad, it sells for $110 at Neiman Marcus.

TEASING FRAGRANCE: We thought we had heard it all until we learned J.F. Lazartique, the Paris-based hair-care company, has launched a perfume for hair. Called Parfumant a l’Orchidee, the sprayable scent for trendy tresses is currently available only in Europe, but will be in U.S. stores (including Neiman Marcus).


OPERA’S LOW REGISTER: Take note, fashion plates. Mimi Levitas-Cox, who designs Opera by Mimi, unveils a new collection this spring called Soprano by Mimi. The line, in which most garments are priced well below $100, is at stores such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Prices for separates range from $60 to $120, compared to prices of $180 to $400 in the 2-year-old Opera line. The designer says her lower-priced line is a reworking of her Opera collection in domestic fabrics and “without the fabulous pricey buttons.”

LAUDER’S FALL ASSAULT: Prepare for an advertising blitz by Estee Lauder. The Lauder Aramis line will introduce New West for women in response to the success and unisex appeal of New West. And their top-secret natural skin care company, which was code-named Project Green, will debut this fall. Officially christened Lauder’s Origins, it is the first new company for Lauder since Prescriptives.