It's chic, but is it safe.
The revival of the '40s look has brought with it the retro trapplings of red lipstick, long gloves, stockings with seams and tiny hats with veils. There's the rub. For safety's sake, veils should come only to the nose, not the chin. The rule is nine inches from the crown, yours or the hat's, and that's at nose length by any measure. Most veilings, which are rayon or silk or both, are too fragile to withstand chemical treatment to make them nonflammable. The current crop is largely French imports that have been around since the last substantial hat-selling period in the '50s.
Marsha Akins, Coty Award designer for Makins hats, says she made all her hats with chin-length veils until the union alerted her to the problem. She snipped them all down before shipping them to stores. Frank Olive's hat with the total face cover is maline rather than veiling. Maline, which is nylon and passes flame tests, is usually used for bridal veils. Tulle too.
Tiny hats with short veils were a popular item on and off the runway at the Ebony Fashion Fair at the Kennedy Center last Sunday.
Elizabeth Taylor Warner is in the chips . . . and she doesn't plan to give them up until after the election. The gold and diamond chip cuff she wears constantly is a gift from her husband -"an anniversary, birthday, Christmas, all-together gift," says Warner, who says she won't remove it until election day. Warner, who was wearing the bracelet plus a classic diamond and gold coin necklace by Bulgari with a pale peach wool leno dress she had made by a local dressmaker, spoke recently at a Washington Press Club luncheon. She's given up plans to go into the diamond business. Apparently things didn't work out well with her partnership.
Ralph Lauren was in Japan for several weeks introducing his line of women's clothes - the menswear is already a success there. Everything is scaled to a smaller size for the Japanese customer, made to perfection in Japan, says Lauren, and cheaper than here.
Lauren took three models to a steak house in Tokyo, split two steaks, shared some sake, and the bill totaled $250. That's more than a Ralph Lauren blazer in Japan.
When he arrived, he found his name (his trademark) already registered by someone else and had to buy it back. The price was minimal because of his strong company connections, he said.
We'll soon be seeing John Travolta in something other than a polyster disco suit. He's got a complete wardrobe of Giorgio Armani clothes for his upcoming film "American Gigolo." Travolta liked the cut of the Armani suits so much that he picked up some for his personal wardrobe while he was in Italy last month being fitted for the movie. He also bought some Armani pieces at Brown's in London. Armani, the hot, hot designer in Milan for men and women, is sometimes called the "king of the blazers" for his unlined blazer of a year ago which changed the direction of jacket fashions.
We told you that the Pierre Cardin signature jet was not the last, not the ultimate, but the penultimate status-signature effort. Here's the next round from M. Cardin. He's linked up with Standard Motors of Miami and is custom saying for them an entire line of Cadillacs. For between $2,500 and $2,900 extra, you can have your plain new Cadillac equipped with an air cushion developed for pilots to prevent fatigue, coordinated fur carpeting in the trunk, a set of matched luggage, the Cardin signature on 24-karat gold plates on four sides of the car, a highway emergency kit and a one-year free membership to the Pierre Cardin Motor Club sponsored by Amoco.
It's been quite a while since a play boosted fashion. Fads, yes, but fashion or style, no. But now it is happening with "Platinum." No particular craving for leather jeans, but inquiries have started about the natural Russian sable which Alexis Smith picks up when she exits during the first act. Sable coats are available in this town from $12,000 for Chinese sable to $135,000 for the top bundle at Saks-Jandel.
Now we know why Vicki Bagley has been faithfully watching all those fashion shows, most recently the Salvation Army show. She's put in for credentials to cover the showings in Paris for This is Sunday, her husband's weekly.
New items: Eartha Kitt becomes the spokesman for Bon Chance, the new fragrance from Flori Roberts. According to Kitt, she worked with the company for several months in the development of the perfume. It's described as having "rich animal notes of oil of armose, oil vetiver Haiti and patchouly Singapore blended with warm notes of musk and amber" . . . Signs of the decline of the West - clear vinyl jeans to be worn with pantyhose, of course, selling well at Beyda's for $32. No chance for these to become hotpants - they are all ventilated with holes in several places, says a store spokesman . . . T-shirt for kids in poly and cotton with "Planned" printed across the front; for adults an all-cotton nightshirt that says "Love Carefully," all from Planned Parenthood's new boutique called Birds 'N' Bees (there's a shirt with that on it, too).
A battle of the seas. Revlon will run two-week spas aboard the cruise ships Sagafjord (Dec. 2) and Vistafjord (March 17), both from the Norwegian-American Line. Helena Rubenstein's Shirley Lord is at the helm of another floating beauty spa on the Queen Elizabeth II, which runs for 13 days from Jan. 4. (Check you travel agent.)