Natural New Wave : Bobs get the boot as curls again crop up. But permanents now go for a less organized and more feminine look. And they smell better, too.

Cindy LaFavre Yorks is a Times staff writer.

Curls are back in fashion after years of straight bobs, followed by Shredded Wheat distressed tresses. But don't look for the frizzy Roseanne Roseannadanna-type kinky crescendos on those women seeking the new looks. Heads with that style are stuck in an '80s time warp, says Patrick Paul Mc Lynn, a stylist at the Michael Joseph Furie salon in Sherman Oaks.

"It's not just that perms are back in fashion, there is a whole new approach to that look," he says. He's given twice as many perms in the same time period this year as last year.

Perhaps the most telling difference between the new and old perms is that the curl direction is now less organized, resulting in a more natural look. In other words, the perm rods are placed in varied directions so it looks like nature rather than man did the job. "I'm trying to bring back classic hair with curl, after all those razor cuts so many Valley women have been asking for," Mc Lynn says. The shredded, sharp-edged looks are moving out, making room for more feminine looks. With his own clientele, Mc Lynn is touting a new spin on the Dorothy Hamill wavy look, grown out to the chin. Mc Lynn's perms start at $100.

Permanent-wave solutions touting ammonia-free and peroxide-free formulas mean even women with color-treated hair can have their curls and their platinum tresses without reducing their strands to damaged clumps of seaweed. The gentler formulas also feature more fragrant aromas. One such formula by the Minneapolis-based Aveda company infuses Turkish rose, French lavender and Chinese eucalyptus into its new Purescriptions Permanent Waving Systems, rendering the stinky perm tres optional.


SO VERY . . . STILETTO: Ditch the Birkenstocks and make room for spring's sexy, strappy numbers. Skinny spike heels as well as boxier, tall, rectangular shapes are showing up on trendy feet.

"Ugly shoes are finally out," says Bari Levine, manager of David's Shoes in Encino. Customers are embracing the stiletto heel because it's sexy, but the look is still very fashion forward, meaning it may take a while before high heels appear in such mass-merchandise stores as Sears and Target. Chunkier heels are still very much the norm in the new season's shoe collection, Levine says.

At Jack's Shoes in Simi Valley, employee Amy Kimmel agrees that the higher heels are going to be the rage for spring.

"There is more interest in them this season than there was last, now that the waif and grunge looks are out. This season, fashion is more glamorous and feminine, so shoes are naturally following those cues," she says.


DRESS-DOWN DAYS: What will the well-dressed San Fernando Valley male be wearing this spring? At Rick Pallack in Sherman Oaks, the renowned retailer cites the resurgence of the single-breasted, three-button suit jacket, the popularity of linen as a summer fashion fabric and an overall relaxing of corporate dress codes.

"Now that IBM has done it, you will see a lot of other, smaller, companies following suit," Pallack says.

One of the biggest indicators that corporate attire is loosening its proverbial tie: More men are wearing dress-shirt alternatives under their suits and sport coats, Pallack notes. Linen T-shirts, banded-collar sport shirts, polo-style sport shirts and Henley shirts are just a a few of the fashion-forward man's alternatives to staid cotton dress shirts. Another item trendy men might want to think about adding to their wardrobes--the leather dress shoe with side-buckle detailing. "We are seeing a lot of interest in that style of shoe right now," Pallack says. But will they be too groovy for the average Joe? Pallack isn't sure, but concedes, "there are still men who just want the traditional wing-tip shoes."

As far as spring fashion colors are concerned, Pallack says fashionable customers are experimenting with baby-blue separates and are considering brown, a color that has not enjoyed the current level of popularity since the Reagan Administration.

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