Hemlines are up and don't think some members of the U.S. Congress weren't looking into the matter last night.

They did a little on-site inspecting when the spring collection of two-time Coty Fashion Award-winning designer Kasper was paraded at the Congressional Club under the auspices of Woodward & Lothrop.

Mind you, there's nothing quite like a good-looking knee, and a congressman can be as appreciative as the next guy.

Last night, however, prespectives varied. Majority Leader Jim Wright's for instance, was economic.

"He's doing his part to bring back prosperity," Wright decided of Kasper's handiwork.

Elford Cederberg, the former GOP representative from Michigan, shared his wife's global view.

"They say," Peg Cederberg whispered to her husband, "that every time there's a possiblity of war, hemlines go up."

Sen. Henry Jackson (D-Wash) tried to avoid sounding hawkish on hemlines.

"No," he said as his wife, Helen, listened in, "I didn't relate them to anything military. I thought the styles seemed quite efficient, though I don't know how cost-effective they were."

Which is probably what you'd expect the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to say.

The fashion show followed a blacktie dinner reviving a Congressional Club tradition of some years back when the Senate and House leadership used to be honored every year.

But last night the flu took its toll. Only Jim Wright and House Minority Leader John Rhodes of Arizona, with their wives, represented the leadership of either house.

Rhodes was fresh from Capitol Hill where Rep. Richard Kelly of Florida resigned from the House Republican conference in the aftermath of efforts to oust him over the Abscam scandal.

"He convicted himself," said Rhodes of Kelly's earlier admission that he had accepted $25,000 in cash from undercover FBI agents.

Rhodes said his GOP colleagues had had no choice but to recommend expulsion.

"We couldn't stand by and do nothing," said Rhodes. "I don't know if it's had any effect -- the people in the country think we're all a bunch of crooks, anyway."

Rep. Bob Wilson (R-Calif.) said voting Kelly out of the conference was "really only an expression of sentiment not too important since it doesn't stop him from voting." But by resigning, Wilson continued, Kelly "did the decent thing."

Jim Wright, for one, wryly expressed the wish that Kelly "hadn't done that. We hadn't let any Democrats know they could resign from our conference. It's like seceding from the Union, you know. There's enough of them who don't come anyway because they say it's boring."

Partisan politics, though, behaved itself, in keeping with the club's longstanding tradition.

As Beatrix Smith, club president and wife of Rep. Smith (D-Iowa) put it: "Here, we leave politics at the door."