Washington jewelry designer Susan Tamulevich is mad about the new Japanese clothes. "I'm not very elegant myself," says Tamulevich, whose current jewelry collection has the same free-form, overscale, layered look of the Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo clothes she admires. "Japanese clothes are not so refined in the way they are put together.
They don't look man-made," says Tamulevich whose jewelry may be the first made expressly to go with these clothes. In fact, they work ideally, anchoring the pieces of clothing and making the full silhouette fit closer to the body.
Her new collection "captures things I have been close to this summer," says Tamulevich of her silver-like stones, spiral shapes inspired by shells and ripped-edged and punched suede, that is her interpretation of seaweed. This season she is using lots of copper foil; "my major working tool has become a paper cutter since the foil is so thin," says Tamulevich whose jewelry will be at Bloomingdale's.
"She blew it when she walked into the courtroom," said a caller expressing disappointment in the appearance of Christine Craft, the 38-year-old television anchor who is suing her former employer for sex discrimination. You could chalk the phone call up to a hot Friday afternoon, except that he made several good points about the clothes she has worn during the trial: sandals (he called them "mules") are less dignified than closed shoes, totes are less professional than attache' cases . . . "it looked more like a back pack . . . I don't think she depicts a professional anchorwoman."
Added the caller, who admired women of the Pauline Frederick/Meryl Comer school, "Fifty percent of her case rests on her appearance. If I was on the jury I would have been sympathetic until I saw her in person."
"Now I know how Brooke Shields' mother feels," commented Fran Redmon, who has just returned from New York where she has been introducing her son, Gant Redmon III, to the fashion modeling circuit. The mother, who started modeling for Woodies in 1961, and worked in New York on Seventh Avenue in 1964, occasionally models still. She is also a fashion consultant and substitute teacher in speech and drama in an Alexandria school.
Gant, a senior at St. Stephen's, is a clothes freak. "If you see someone coming down the street in a lavender short, peach madras plaid tie and orange trousers and white bucks, it is Gant," she laughs. He's passed the first test, she says. "I asked him: What would you do if they wanted to grease your body and punk your hair? And he laughed and said 'Why not?' " Admits Fran Redmon, "I cannot resist. If he was a girl I'd say forget it, too much work. But for a guy, why not try?"
The great model search goes on . . . and on . . . and on. Woodies is searching for two teen-age models and the reward is an appearance in the Woodies spring catalogue. Bonnie Pfieffer, the Elite model who got her start working on a teen board of a Baltimore shop, will be one of the judges.
Also noteworthy from Woodies: the American Tourister gorilla will star in the store's back-to-school fashion promotion at the Convention Center on Aug. 20.
Richard Pryor mixed some serious shopping with some serious rehearsing before his performances in Washington this week. At Neiman-Marcus he bought, right off the mannequin, a short fur cape. Some lucky lady will also get some very precious jewelry, also from Neiman's.
The big news from the Paris couture shows, according to the fashionaficionados, is the chemise. Yves Saint Laurent did it, so did Hanae Mori, Valentino, Pierre Cardin, Hubert de Givenchy and probably more.
But it is a little hard to get too revved up about it, considering it has been a key message of the American collections for the past two or more seasons. And it will be for the resort season to come, as well. In the just-presented Calvin Klein collection, for example, the designer showed a black wool jersey, above-the-ankle length T-shirt dress, with buttons on one shoulder.
Washington is becoming an increasingly important designer menswear town. Our gauge is the fashion event calendar for the month of September, once the prime time for local stores to show off their best talent. This year, a great number of the designers scheduling Washington visits specialize in menswear. Far fewer designers of women's clothes will make appearances here than have in recent years. Even Bloomingdale's will not feature the designers in person. "Our timing is bad for the French designers. Our promotion opens the week before the big Paris showings," explained Kal Ruttenstein, Bloomingdale's fashion director.
Among the menswear designers heading this way are Milena Canonero, designer of the costumes for Brideshead Revisisted, who will show her first commercial collection for Norman Hilton at Arthur Adler (Sept. 14); Lou Myles at Bernard Hill in Washington Square (Sept. 20 and 21); Alexander Julian will be down to check out his menswear (and his new designs for women) in his own Georgetown boutique (Sept. 12 and 13); Alan Flusser will be back at Britches (Sept. 24)
Additionally, jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane will be at Impulse in the Old Post Office at the Nancy Hanks Center (Sept. 12); Tarquin Ebker will be at Saks-Jandel (Sept. 21 and 22); Victor Costa (Sept. 10) and Frank Olive (Sept. 13), both at Neiman-Marcus; and Fiamma Ferragamo (Sept 23) and Joan Boyce (Sept. 29), both at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Calvin Klein, Bob Mackie, Jhane Barnes and Willi Smith will be the guest speakers at The Washington Post Fashion Symposium on Sept. 26 at Consitution Hall for the benefit of The Hospital for Sick Children.
Even Stanley Love, the head of Joseph Love Inc., doesn't understand it. But so far he has sold more than one million of one style dress that he calls the "ribbon dress" for its ribbon trim at the neckline, sleeve and hem. "It's never happened in the 62 years we've been making clothes for girls," admitted Love, who says the dress is selling with both short and long sleeves. The ribbon dress, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's costume collection, is well-priced (under $35) and fits everyone, including some mothers who are buying it in preteen departments. "People are dressing up again and wearing dresses rather than jeans or sportswear," says Love, who now has a patent pending on the dress. So far 6,000 miles of ribbon have been used on the dress, which is sold locally in Garfinckel's, Woodies and other stores.