Far From Amused


Tokyo-based designer Rei Kawakubo joined the ranks of Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier this week by inadvertently, she says, offending a religious group.

Kawakubo, designer of Comme des Garcons, provoked outrage from the European Jewish Congress over a group of striped pajamas she sent down the runway of the Paris menswear shows on Jan. 27, the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

What the congress found "particularly shocking," was a pair of pajamas modeled by an emaciated model with closely cropped hair. Some jackets had boot marks and numbers painted on them.

Tuesday, Comme des Garcons said it would remove the offensive elements from the collection, apologizing that "however unwittingly, (the fashion house) has caused some people to remember the terrible events of World War II."

Last year, Lagerfeld angered Muslims by embroidering Koranic verses on low-cut bodices in his Chanel collection. Two years ago, Gaultier gave his collection a controversial Hasidic flavor with wide-brimmed hats and imitation forelocks.


Till Wrinkles Do Us Part: Actress Juliette Binoche signed on this week as the face for Lancome's new women's fragrance, Poeme, reports Women's Wear Daily. Meanwhile, actress-model Isabella Rossellini, who appeared in the cosmetic company's ads for more than a decade, announced Tuesday at a news conference in New York that she is joining Lancaster Group Worldwide.

Rossellini will help create product concepts for Lancaster, a company that markets fragrances such as Joop! and Davidoff, but, oddly, Lancaster has not decided if she will appear in its advertising. Rossellini may still be seen, even more oddly, in Lancome ads. In an agreement with L'Oreal, which owns Lancome, her image can be used after 1995. Get it?


A New York State of Mind: Across the freezing cold of Central Park South, up the wind sweep of Lexington Avenue, past the gantlet of Adrienne Vittadini perfume pushers, 250 dedicated fans marched to the fourth floor of Bloomingdale's on Tuesday for a panty signing. What? For the debut of his new women's underwear collection, designer Calvin Klein and model Christy Turlington were offering to autograph shoppers' unmentionables. Men and women who'd schlepped in from the suburbs or popped out from work waited more than an hour to have newly purchased panties (and a couple of bras) signed by the fashion superstars. Seven video crews and countless photographers recorded the event for posterity.


Red Alert: When Angela Bassett announces the Academy Award nominees early Tuesday morning, she'll do so in a red pantsuit from Escada's spring/summer '95 collection. Bassett won an Oscar nomination in 1993 for her Tina Turner turn in "What's Love Got to Do With It?" Assisting the actress will be Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Arthur Hiller. No word yet on what he'll wear.


Speaking of the Oscars: We predict that the stunning vintage gown Winona Ryder wore to last year's event will inspire other pretty young actresses and actor consorts to do the same come the March 27 ceremony. In fact, we spotted Jennifer Tilly and Sofia Coppola rifling through racks of '30s and '40s dresses, shoes and accessories over the weekend at Santa Monica's Vintage Fashion Expo. But our eyes were drawn to one vendor's stash of old-fashioned girdles--so important for squeezing 1995-model bodies into vintage clothing.

Judging by the merchandise various shops brought to the expo, the nominees for best cutting-edge resources are: Long Beach-based Meow (vintage sneakers and Katharine Hepburn-style jackets); Torrance-based Eclectibles (freshest collection of kooky purses); Santa Monica's Star Wares on Main (the corset Judy Garland wore in "The Harvey Girls," tube socks worn in "Benny & Joon"), and Burbank's Junk For Joy (fabulous '70s platforms for $150--they weren't quite Vivienne Westwood, but then neither was the price).


The Decorative Arts: When the American International Toy Fair begins in New York on Monday, toy-store buyers will get a chance to see what experts are calling a contender for the top toy aimed at girls. Tyco's Surprise Hat Susie is an action figure that doesn't shoot, destroy or terrorize mere mortals. The "surprise" is that her hat doubles as a purse to carry a brush, curlers and other feminine necessities. No wonder we grown-up girls have such a hard time asserting ourselves. Feeling hostile? Aw, go set your hair.


For the Record: John Martens, general manager of Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, says the store has hosted the Blue Ribbon's annual luncheon many times. Last week's cover story on Bill Blass said otherwise.

Inside Out is published Thursdays.

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