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Ray-Ban Getting a Shade Funky--or Is It Elegant?

RAY-BANS GET DOWN AND GET FUNKY: Norman Salik, a vice president for Ray-Ban, didn’t care for my language when I inquired about the “funky” new look of Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer sunglasses. “They’re very elegant ,” he corrected, describing the tricolor “Mosaic” style.

It’s a very big deal when the traditionalists at Ray-Ban monkey around with their shades. The firm, which introduced its classic aviator style in 1937, brought out the Wayfarer in 1952 in solid colors only: basic black or tortoise-shell brown.

In 1983, red and white models were added but, Salik says, “weren’t very successful.”

By contrast, he says the Mosaics are part of a “Street Neat” line and they’re “going great.” Salik adds that the Wayfarer model is now tied with the aviator style in national sales, but in Cailfornia, Wayfarers are far more popular.

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“Thirty-three percent of our Wayfarer sales are in California; 13% are in the Los Angeles area alone.”

DEAR HOT: I love to shop, but it’s depressing shopping for the holidays during a recession. All I think about is what I can’t afford. Any tips?

DEAR HOT SHOPPER: I like the advice of writer Sondra Ray in a chapter called “The Art of Enlightened Shopping” in “How to Be Chic, Fabulous and Live Forever":

“Even when I did not have any money, I had a fabulous time shopping. I loved looking at all the pretty things, I loved going out and about. . . . Never did I say, ‘Well, I feel really sad I cannot afford that.’ I said, ‘Now, someday, I will have that.’ ”

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I’D RATHER BUNGEE JUMP FROM WATTS TOWERS THAN SHOP: Chef Wolfgang Puck says he almost always entrusts his partner/wife Barbara Lazaroff to do his shopping.

About the only thing that will get him into a store is the purchase of a new suit--the execution of which he arranges as delicately as he would a spinach-ricotta mousse.

“I went to Neiman Marcus the last time I went shopping,” he recalls. “I needed a suit so badly. I needed it the day after tomorrow. Since Barbara and I know the manager there very well, she had several ready for me to try on. I never looked at the price. I told them to send it to my house. They didn’t ask me to pay for it. A month later it was on the charge card--for $1,500 or $1,600, I’m not sure.”

Wishing somebody would shop the Swedish Bikini Team out of their TV beer ads and into the ‘90s? Hot to Shop is based on conversations and reader mail. Write to Beth Ann Krier, Hot to Shop, The Times, Los Angeles, Calif. 90053. Questions may also be faxed to (213) 237-4712.


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