DOES IT make a difference?" repeated a groggy Donna Karan, who with Louis Dell'Olio her co-designer for Anne Klein and Company, copped one of fashion's Coty Awards Thursday night. "I don't know how I would feel it I lost, but I feel fabulous now," she said, after celebrating at New York's Studio 54, till 7 a.m.

Karan, who had been the late Anne Klein's co-designer, has the same partnership arrangement with Dell'Olio.

Alexander Julian, who won for menswear design, admitted that he had set himself the goal of getting a Coty Award before reaching age 30. He did it five months before his 30th birthday. "It's the only public recognition in the fashion field other than making a lot of money," said Julian afterward. (Julian will be at Montgomery Mall this evening coaching the Britches staff on his clothing, which he calls "nouveau traditionalism".)

Designer Stephen Burrows, won his second Coty Award. A second Hall of Fame award went to Ralph Lauren, and special awards were given to Fernando Sanchez (lingerie), Ted Muehling (jewelery), Jeffrey Banks (men's furs), Marsha Akims (men's hats) plus Geoffrey Beene (already in the Hall of Fame) to note his international success were given at the benefit presentation at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Karl Lagerfeld is scouting heavier models for his presentation in Paris next month. The designer of the Chole collection, whose Casanova blouses with velvet knickers and convertible chemise dresses from the last collection have strongly influenced current fashion, says, "Such models will give a new 'atmosphere' to the clothes." Heavier means "roundish with good corners" but not far, says Lagerfeld, who was at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York this week with his current successful designs. "Photographer Guy Bourdin agrees," says Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld hasn't completed his next collection, which will be shown in Paris in less than a month, but says the theme will pick up from the musketeer mood of the last collection and take inspiration, in part, from the dress of the women leaders of the small French civil war in the 17th century, particularly one called La Grande Mademoiselle. Hair will be long, he emphasizes, and the look will be very feminine.

In his drive for constant invention, this season will bring totally seamless dresses and at least one style that can be worn rightside up as well as upside down.

Bonnie Cashin, in town this week for the Salvation Army fashion show, also was doing some quiet lobbying for what she calls the Knit Corps, her plan to get a lot of people knitting by hand again. "We are losing the talent of our hands to big machines," says Cashin, who has started a small scale knit corps in New England as well as England and Scotland to make hand knits for her collection. "There is something marvelously satisfying about knitting," she say, "as well as a need, a big market for this kind of beautiful thing when it is well styled." Cashin hopes to find government funding for a program that would encourage lots of people, particularly older people, to revive knitting as an art form.

Cashin, whose knitwear designs make up a special division called the Knittery, lives in her own cashmere knits. "They are the most sybaritic things," she says and recommends wearing as little as possible underneath. "They are wonderfully cozy on the body so I often sleep in them" Cashin said. Most of hers are Scottish cashmere - "The water there is good for both whisky and cashmere," Cashin said.

In her book "A Fashion Alphabet," Janie Ironside on London's Royal College of Art credits Cashin for taking the essentially functional concept of layering and turning it to something decorative. "Her ideas stem from one of insulation, several layers of light clothing being warmer and more practical than one layer of heavy clothing. The look has been copied and is almost classic in shape." Among other Cashin classics adopted by others are the big "bubble" shaped jacket, leather edged tweeds, hardware closings.

Jewelry as art is hardly a new concept - Picasso, Caldeer, Man Ray, and Arp are among well-known artists who have made jewelry - but a gallery devoted to jewelry artists may well be Artwear was founded in New York by jewelry artist Robert Lee Morris, whose silver, copper and brass pieces are on display at the Fendrick Gallery on life-size body casts (made from the body of New York model Jordan Harrell) that can be purchased as well as the jewelry for display at home.

Neiman Marcus is making its promotional debut in this town Texas-style with the arrival of a specially decorated Lear jet Monday bearing senior vice-president Tom Alexander and leather-bound copies of the NM Christmas catalog for Katharine Graham, Joe Albritton, Art Buchwald and others.They've dubbed the flight, which will continue on to several other cities, the "Christmas Cat Patrol."

Two worthwhile mail-order items: For those who like their clothing rules in black and white (or in this case, black and tan) Gentlemen's Quarterly has a super, succinct do's and don'ts guide, glossary and how-to instruction for all neckwear and even how to fold a pocket square, that's available through the mail. Among the tips: No French cuff shirts with sports jackets; no white socks ever except with white pants; don't close the bottom button of your vest; ties should be tied to touch the top of your belt, and never tucked into trousers. Pants and jackets should be hung up with pockets empty; knitted ties stretch easily so should be rolled up and put in the drawer, (This booklet available by sending 75 cents to Promotion Department, Gentlemen's Quarterly, 488 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022.

Avon Products also has a helpful consumer guide. It's guide on cosmetic ingredients and is free from Avon's Consumer Information Center, 9 W. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019.

Few fashion presentations encourage the viewer to feel the garments but that was an essential part of the fashion show at Mount Vernon College last night, put on by the Volunteers for the Visually Handicapped. Gail Sweeney, a volunteer with the visually handicapped, says it is usually very difficult for the blind, who are often very clothes-conscious, to communicate with salespersons. Thirteen Montgomery Mall shops participated in the showing, which had blind models escorted by sighted persons. Commentary was geared to the most helpful descriptions for the visually handicapped. Checking prices and receipts are among the major problems for the blind. Sweeney explained, adding, "Maybe one day we'll have price tags in braille."

Fifteen teen-age girls currently under supervision of the Arlington Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for delinquent behavior, took part in a seminar and demonstration workshop this week offered by Charles of the Ritz in the courthouse library. "It's a reward to help these girls build their self-confidence and possibly explore some new career possibilities," says Carl Beyeler, acting court administrator.