Princess of Tides

If you saw the paparazzi shots of Princess Diana cavorting like a schoolgirl in the Caribbean, it will come as no surprise that the sort-of-single princess likes her daily dip. Diana’s fitness and beauty rituals are itemized for the curious in a book: “Royal Fashion and Beauty Secrets: An Intimate Look at How Princess Diana Achieves Her Radiance, Style and Grace--Revealed for Women Everywhere.”

Her Royal Highness, as it turns out, is not that different from the rest of us.

These days, according to author Ann Chubb, her favorite earrings are those Metropolitan Museum gift shop copies from Rubens’ “Venus Before the Mirror.” (We treasure our mid-19th Century neoclassic faux tortoise shell Met earrings, $18.) She wears DKNY pantyhose. (Us too, Princess Di!) She’s into colonic irrigation. (Uh, we’ll just irrigate our gums.)

* OPTICAL ILLUSIONS: “That is not a bra strap.” OK, so we were wrong. But at first glance, it seemed that some kind of undergarment had slipped from beneath Hillary Rodham Clinton’s shoulderless Donna Karan bodystocking in a Page 1 photo in the New York Times this week. “We’ve looked at it with a jeweler’s loupe and it is very clearly a shadow,” said Nancy Weinstock of the newspaper’s picture desk. What appeared to be bra straps were, she explained, shadows cast by two tall candles on a table in the foreground. “With all those stylists around, who would allow the First Lady to stand up for a portrait with her bra strap showing?” The New York Times wouldn’t permit us to reprint the photo.


* VIEWER DISCRETION: Speaking of undergarments, what is it with those “Northern Exposure” fans? “People write in about the strangest stuff,” notes the show’s costume designer, Katharine Bentley. “Like ‘what kind of bra does Shelly have on?’ I don’t know, it’s just a Maidenform or something. And that bathrobe she wears . . . people love that thing. I could sell a million!” What fans may not have caught on to--and Bentley is far too discreet to discuss--is her genius at concealing one undeniably beautiful cast member’s ample southern exposure.

In coming episodes, Maggie’s forest-green and maroon wardrobes will give way to something brighter and less overexposed than the plaid, Seattle-style stuff Bentley dreamed up three years ago. “I’m going to back off those colors,” she says, “and go into yellows for spring.”

* WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: The arrestingly androgynous model on the cover of this month’s Harper’s Bazaar is no overnight success. Kristen McMenamy has worked hard to ascend to the rarefied heights of those handful of women chosen to sell a magazine’s image. The story of McMenamy’s perseverance was chronicled by writer Holly Brubach several years ago in the New Yorker. But the unforgettable tale probably frustrated as many readers as it entertained. McMenamy apparently made it without appearing in the New Yorker. Thousands of words about McMenamy, but nary a picture.

* THE OLD SOFT SHOE: On a very rare visit to Ross Dress for Less, Dossier spotted a handsome long-sleeved navy T (marked down to $12.99) made by Sam & Libby of the inexpensive ballet flat fame. It seems that if things go as planned for the San Carlos-based company, it won’t be making its sportswear anymore. On the heels of recent reports of staff layoffs and a dramatic drop in the value of its stock, company co-founder Sam Edelman said this week that the company is negotiating a licensing agreement with a “well-known junior apparel company in L.A.” to take over its clothing end.


Some observers say fickle consumers grew bored with the 5-year-old company’s ballet shoe look. But Roger Kase, vice president of operations, said a licensing agreement would allow the company to “concentrate on our core business. The new footwear is really exciting.”

* HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE’S OUR BUBBA: What makes President Bill Clinton a Bubba? According to a satirical quarterly premiering Tuesday called Bubba, it’s partly his wardrobe. President Clinton wears shirts “that look equally good on the golf course, the racetrack or a Baptist church supper.”