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Briefs: Waistbands to head north

| Friday, Feb. 23, 2007

Just when you were getting used to the feeling of wearing waistbands on your waist, the fashion industry has decided to move things up.

Waistbands on both jeans and trousers will be headed north as the year moves on. At New York Fashion Week this month, designers showed plenty of higher-waisted jeans and trousers. And just as there were tricks and tips to making lowriders flattering, there are definite dos and don'ts for high waists, too.

Plan the right top -- "The most flattering way is how it was on the runway, with a tie-front blouse that you unbutton for a sexy '70s vibe or something with a billowy sleeve, like Phillip Lim did, which accentuates the waistline, making a longer, leaner silhouette," said Ann Watson, vice president and fashion director at upscale Manhattan retailer Henri Bendel.

Watson also suggests wearing a cropped sweater or double-breasted jacket over that tucked-in top. "If you're going to wear a high-waisted jean, emphasize it."

Wear high heels -- Try a cylinder heel, Watson suggested. "And don't throw away your platform shoes just yet. The higher the heel the better with the high-waisted jean." High heels can help keep the look lean, and reduce the chances you'll end up looking stout.

Go for pants that have the right shape -- "Everyone's first fear when they hear 'high-waisted' is 'mom jeans,'" or jeans that are roomy in the middle with tapered legs, Viera said. "This is completely different. It's a different construction." This look is more defined. It often places the yoke just above the hips and includes a wide waistband or a double button, she explains.

Pay attention to your own shape -- High-waisted pants are good for hourglass figures or straight, athletic figures because they create a waistline, Bendel's Watson says. And if you are built differently, you can still find flattering styles. Earlier this month, J Brand's bell-bottom jean was the store's top seller, she said. "The bell bottom still has a slimming effect through the hips and thighs. It's a very sexy jean at the end of the day," Watson said. The most universally flattering style• A pant that sits on the natural waist, or even slightly lower, is good for almost every figure, according to Watson.


Fashion show planned at Chadwick luncheon

A Coldwater Creek fashion show will highlight a luncheon set for 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. March 17 at The Chadwick, McCandless, sponsored by the Greater Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines International. Gram & Gramps, Pine and Upper St. Clair, also will show children's wear.

The chorus will perform at the luncheon. A sale of secondhand books and jewelry also will be available. Tickets are $22; $8 for children. Deadline to purchase tickets is March 13.

The Chadwick is at 1 Wexford Square (off Route 19), McCandless. Details: 877-336-0037 or 412-781-6081.


Angel's Place show to feature local fashions

Angels' Place -- formerly Mom's House of Pittsburgh -- will feature fashions from Stein Mart, McCandless; e.b. Pepper, Shadyside; Capriccio, Squirrel Hill; and Grams & Gramps, Pine and Upper St. Clair, at a fundraising luncheon set for 11:30 a.m. March 18 at Le Mont, Mt. Washington.

All proceeds from this annual "Generations of Love" event help fund programs and services for single, low-income student parents and their children. Angels' Place offers its free services -- including parenting classes, child care and job placement help -- at sites in Brookline, Swissvale and the North Side.

Sally Wiggin, of WTAE-TV, will emcee the luncheon and fashion show by Folio Productions. Tickets are $40.

Le Mont is at 1114 Grandview Ave., Mt. Lebanon. Details: 412-321-4447.


Mirren dress boosts Morgane Le Fay

After Helen Mirren appeared in a gorgeous Morgane Le Fay creation at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, interest in the designer exploded. The label's Web site was inundated with hits, and one customer urgently called the SoHo branch to order an exact copy for her wedding dress.

Unlike Armani, Versace and Carolina Herrera, the New York-based fashion house is not particularly known for its red carpet wear, and Mirren's choice of outfit garnered huge publicity.

"She is such a big star, and I was so grateful to be associated with her," says Morgane Le Fay founder Liliana Casabal. "She raised our profile in such a brilliant way."

Now, with the Oscars just days away, other top designers are fighting tooth and nail for their share of glory and increased business after the awards.

Endorsement by a hottie like Reese Witherspoon or Jennifer Hudson is a major coup and can lead to a 10 percent or 15 percent increase in sales.

"The Oscars is the Super Bowl of style," says Mary Alice Stevenson, celebrity stylist and fashion commentator. "Just as advertisers spend a fortune planting commercials, designers will invest a whole lot of money dressing the stars.

"Designers will think nothing of giving them a $100,000 gown which took 200 hours to create as long as they are photographed and talked about."

The cost of the outfit is a drop in the ocean compared to the endless gifts of jewelry, five-star hotel bills and private jets that ferry PR reps, tailors, "targeted" celebs and their entourages to fittings and fashion shows in Europe.

Then there is the seldom-discussed "wearer's fee" commanded by many in the showbiz elite.

"Of course they get paid," insists Kelly Cutrone, who owns the New York fashion PR firm People's Revolution. "Rather than spend a quarter or half a million dollars on a fashion show in Paris, designers will throw the money at a celebrity."


Dolce & Gabbana goes for fetish appeal

Dolce & Gabbana spiced up the sixth day of winter womenswear shows in Milan on Thursday with metal masks, crops and corsets that eschewed cosy warmth for sizzling fetish sex appeal.

The audience of buyers and journalists waited nearly an hour for the show, but impatience was quickly forgotten when the models hit the black catwalk in high gold and silver stiletto heels wearing sculpted leather, leopard print and feathers.

The designer duo of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who gave us big cat prints and disco gold at their more informal D&G show on Monday, showed off fur-like fabrics and leathers with corset-shaped metallic belts.

One "dominatrix" carried a silver twisted riding crop and another wore a shiny metal Carnival-style mask. Slim chains looped from hips in what the designers called an "indefinitely fetish" style.

Net tulle wrapped up leopard fur fabrics or provided a gauzy covering for wolfish grey coats.

Standing out from the fur and feathers came a grey silk short dress with a bodice which looked sprayed on with metallic paint -- far too exposing to wear out in the chill of winter.

Next up among leading designers is Versace today -- where Donatella Versace is likely to continue the glitzy theme -- before the shows end on Saturday.

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