Using a Little Enterprise, Local Model Goes on a 'Star Search'

It doesn't take a technically perfect studio to make a worthy fashion video. Kelly Koehler, a senior at the University of Maryland, found that out when she submitted a homemade video in her bid for a place in the modeling competition on the television show "Star Search." "Our only props were a ladder, a broken fan and a broomstick handle," says Koehler.

She submitted the video in September, and two weeks later she was told she was being considered and was invited to New York for a screen test and video. Two weeks ago she taped the show that will be aired tonight. "I was told that I was the only person selected on the basis of their video. Most others are discovered by talent scouts."

Koehler, a senior in textiles and merchandising, is from Churchtown, near Annapolis. Her first modeling assignment was as a flower girl in a Woodies bridal show. Now she works free-lance primarily, she says, and is affiliated with several local modeling agencies, including the Doran Agency.

Although she did well in the "Star Search" competition, she lost out to the current champion, who (Scoop! Scoop!), according to Koehler, "went on to win the rest of the shows." London Locks, Long & Short

While there is a strong hint of longer hair becoming more popular among women, Antenna, a leading London salon that until recently specialized in adding braids to lengthen the hair, is featuring one of the shortest crops around. The studio calls it the "Lad." The Kensington High Street shop attributes the hair style to a currently popular London street fashion called "Lads and Lasses."

We'll put our money, however, on pretty, longer hair.

But if the choice between long and short is giving you fits, maybe you need to go to Baltimore, where several barber shops now offer a cut as well as a blood pressure check. No word on whether they give it before or after haircuts. Donald Brooks: Ready to Go on Ready-to-Wear

The first clue that costume designer Donald Brooks was going back into the business of making ready-to-wear was that he had lunch recently at Bill's, a New York bar and restaurant popular with designers because of its location, off Seventh Avenue at 40th Street, its friendly ambiance and its very good food.

Another clue was that the men with him looked very "financial district," suggesting they might be his backers, which, in fact, they were.

Brooks, who plans to show a fall collection in April, thinks the time is exactly right again for the kind of clothes he likes to make. "I feel neither too old nor too young. And I think women are ready again for clothes that are pretty and seductive, but subtly so."

He won't literally return to Seventh Avenue -- his new showroom is on 57th Street, "with 57th Street prices," he said, referring to a fairly upscale range of $600 to $700 for daytime wear, "on up past $6,700 for evening things."

Brooks, who won Oscar nominations for "The Cardinal," "Star" and "Darling Lili" and the New York Drama Critics Award for "No Strings," once made wonderful, easy-fit dresses and stylish suits for day, and evening dresses that were feminine and glamorous without being tricky. He's right . . . this is the perfect moment for him to go back into business. Lounging in Luxury: Sonia Rykiel

When Bendel's president Geraldine Stutz suggested to Paris designer Sonia Rykiel that she make a collection of sleepwear, Rykiel was stymied: "How can I do that? I sleep in the nude."

In fact, she has made a splendid collection, taking some of the best clean and lean shapes that are her signature in knitwear and using them in peignoirs, pajamas and jumpsuits in luxury fabrics, really more for lounging than for sleeping. The collection has just been bought by Dolly Kay in Washington and Ruth Shaw in Baltimore and will be in the stores before spring. Wear It's At: Fashion Elite Meet

What do the fashion elite wear when they meet to eat?

The top American designers all turned out to honor their own at the Council of Fashion Designers Awards (CFDA) dinner at the New York Public Library last Sunday night. It was a superluxe evening -- a $750 donation to the CFDA for the privilege of being there. For women designers, retail executives and the press, the long, lean black dress was almost a uniform. There were a few short black dresses and a rare bright color, such as Paloma Picasso's lipstick red, slim Yves Saint Laurent gown worn with a large gold, diamond-studded necklace of her own design.

There was only a rare digression from the traditional black tie for men. Jewelry designer Robert Lee Morris of Artwear, a CFDA award winner, was wearing a handsome black jacket with scattered colorful embroidery that looked, from a distance, like colorful jewels. Designer Willi Smith was wearing stenciled black-and-white calf shoes, and Andy Warhol had on white sneakers with his black suit.

If the hors d'oeuvres served from baskets during cocktails were a bit precious -- caviar with eggplant mousse and cre me frai che was one, Scotch salmon on tarragon-buttered bread another -- the meal itself was a variation on the New England boiled dinner, with chicken, beef and bone marrow plus a me'lange of steamed vegetables including yams, cabbage and celery. The service plates were black, the tablecloths white, the chairs black with white cushions. The centerpiece was blooming narcissus in a raw wood crate.

One disappointment of the evening was the Rudi Gernreich retrospective, honoring the avant-garde designer who died last year. "He created a milestone in the way women dressed in the waning years of the 20th century," said John Weitz in his introduction.

The Gernreich clothes themselves were wonderful -- "We should only have such good clothes from designers today," said one store executive. Body suits, jersey dresses, colored panty hose, cutouts and a series of superb, bare dresses that would have fit right in with the party crowd although they were designed more than a decade back. "He was wonderful, and his clothes still are," said designer Geoffrey Beene, another award winner.

What disappointed were the trumped-up accessories, the posing and the gimmicky hair styles. Where was Vidal Sassoon when we needed him?