Made to Mail Order

Mail-order catalogues are now required to list country of origin for both the fabrics and clothing being offered. But that doesn't mean that descriptions have to drown in details -- at least not in the Deva "Natural Clothes" catalogue. The catalogue describes items as "made in rustic downtown Burkittsville -- USA" or "Made in the historic district of Burkittsville, Md. -- USA" and the like.

But that's not the best reason for looking at this seven-year-strong catalogue of all-cotton, machine-washable, cottage-industry-made items. The easy fit, simple items sketched in the 16-page catalogue are very well-priced. Some pants are available in custom inseam lengths for $3 more. (The catalogue even bothers to explain what an inseam is -- the measurement taken on the inside of the leg from the crotch to ankle.) For the catalogue and fabric swatches write Deva, Box W, Burkittsville, Md. 21718. Hair Today, Cont'd.

To give credit where it is due, it was Paul Mitchell who started the trend to sculpted hair more than six years ago. So no wonder more than 3,000 hairdressers showed up in Crystal City for an update on what Mitchell is doing with what he perceptively calls his "liquid tools."

Mitchell, whose mother was a hairdresser in London and enrolled him in beauty school when he was 16, worked for Vidal Sassoon in London before running the beauty salon at Henri Bendel in New York in the 1960s. Unlike those days, he now uses his natural products as a way of styling hair, in place of using pins and clips and rollers. It all started six years back, says Mitchell. "We were desperate to find a new way to style hair, and sculpting lotion was almost a necessity." Mitchell's history of hair styling documents blow-drying as starting in 1965, followed by wash and wear hair, "and then nothing new in styling hair. It was frustrating," he recalls.

Sculpting lotion was the modern advancement of the old sticky setting lotion that was heavy and flaked on the head. "You looked like you had permanent dandruff."

Mitchell removed the sugar and glue from the old stuff and switched to plastic polymers, "but they still caused problems." So Mitchell worked with natural health-food chemists, "using myself to test the products at first." The breakthrough, he revealed, came when they used liquid keratin protein made from processed hair strands.

Mitchell, whose business worldwide will gross $12 million this year, says the best part is that sculpting probably saves women at least 30 minutes under the blow-dryer. "Finally, it's the end of the electric tool era in the hair business." Getting Hip To Padding

Oh where, oh where have the shoulder pads gone?

Right down to the hips, at least in the Karl Lagerfeld collection. Shoulder pads have been rounded, diminished and in some instances done away with in the spring collections from Europe and New York.

"When everybody starts wearing shoulder pads, it is time to do something else," said Claude Montana. Lagerfeld had a different explanation in New York recently: "With the padding at the hips there is no difficulty telling the girls from the boys." Is the Kepi Gone for Keeps?

Where is Casablana's Capt. Louis Renault when we need him? We have a problem . . . we can't tell the French police in their new uniforms from, well, some American police. Erik Mortensen at Balmain in Paris is responsible for the redesign, which includes a flattop hat and a waist-length jacket. Gone are the peaked, stiff kepis (hats) and the long, tailored, four-button jackets.

"Everything is more up-to-date, easy to move in and easy to run around in," says Mortenson, who is best known in this town for his evening clothes worn by Evangeline Bruce and others.

Mortensen, who created the uniforms for the first woman pre'fet in France, likes the new police uniform because it is not "as tight and restricting and strict looking," as the old one.

The house of Balmain has another major project. Just before Christmas, a Balmain retrospective will open at the Muse'e de Palais Galeria, across from the Modern Art Museum in Paris. It will run for three months. Silk in Brief

Silk undies aren't just for women. Many men have discovered the comfort of wearing silk as ski underwear. So it is no surprise that there are now all silk briefs in gray or beige for men at Sy-lene in Bethesda. Don't Let the Turkey Turn You Into a Porky

For those who can't wait till the day after Thanksgiving to exercise away the extra calories of a turkey feast, Body Design by Gilda exercise studio is offering two classes Thanksgiving morning on the theory that: You won't gain the weight you might have if you had not exercised . . . and you will feel less guilty while you are feasting.

The way they figure it, one hour of aerobics burns about 300 to 500 calories and the metabolism stays up for six to eight hours, so you keep on burning calories during that time, even while eating.

So say the stuffing busters at Gilda's. (By the way, you need to reserve a place in those classes.) Sculptured Clothes Many portrait artists insist on choosing clothes for their subject. But Gaston Lachaise, whose portrait sculptures are now on view at the National Portrait Gallery, insisted that "all women wear a tight-fitting bodice and long full skirt."

For the Lachaise portrait of Hildegard Lasell Watson, Watson posed in a bouffant gown, designed by Lanvin, gathered in heavy fluted folds at the hip, which the artist said reminded him of organ pipes