New Design on Life: Costa Goes Legit at Dior

COMPILED BY THE FASHION STAFF

Victor Costa, whose "interpretations" of haute couture are worn by the likes of Ivana Trump, has a new feather in his cap. He has been hired by Christian Dior to design and manufacture a line of women's wear that will be sold exclusively in the United States. Costa's name won't be on the garments but that's fine with him:. "I'm very flattered and honored to be chosen and to be 'legitimized.' " The bulk of the merchandise will retail for $600 to $1,000, which is higher than the $250 to $700 suits and special occasion dresses Costa designs under his own label. The customer will be somewhat different, too. Costa describes her as "a more sophisticated lady who is a little quieter in her elegance. I always think of myself as making more obvious clothes. I would never hide the richness in a lining." He's referring to a velvet coat lined in silk satin appliqued with Alencon lace. That little number is in his first Christian Dior collection, which will be ready for the holiday season.

SEA-WORTHY: Some of the hottest names in Los Angeles swimwear are getting together for the sake of the environment. The fledgling Swim Environmental Awareness (SEA), which so far counts Jimmy'Z, Ocean Pacific, Jag, Brenda Welch, Why Things Burn, La Blanca and Too Hot Brazil as members, plans to make a splash with a gala fund-raiser on Oct. 6. On the evening's agenda will be a fashion show and silent auction of original, environmentally oriented swimsuit designs and entertainment by David Crosby of Crosby, Stills and Nash. The group has chosen the Cousteau Society to receive the first annual SEA Award, recognizing a nonprofit organization at the forefront of environmental awareness and education. (213) 651-0852.

NO TIPPING ALLOWED: If you're expecting Roger Forsythe, men's wear designer for Perry Ellis, to sport something from his latest collection and delve into sartorial rights and wrongs when he appears at Bullock's in Sherman Oaks on June 14--don't.

"I like to dress simply," Forsythe told us from New York. "That comes from being in this business, fussing with clothes all day and talking about them all day. (These days) I always end up going to the same suit in my closet."

The suit is a Prince of Wales plaid in Tasmanian wool that Forsythe designed for fall '89. It retailed for about $1,100.

As for dispensing tips, Forsythe says he turns "a little self-conscious when people ask me what they should wear. It's all in your point of view. You have to make decisions based on who you are and your own personal style."

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