They've Grown Accustomed to Her Face

"You can be very dressed up in a short dress," said actress Catherine Deneuve. She was wearing an Yves Saint Laurent knee-length costume with a black beaded jacket at the French Embassy party in her honor, the only guest in a short dress. "Had I known, I would have worn my tuxedo -- at least I would have been in black tie," she said, laughing.

Deneuve, who was saluted by Ambassador de Margerie as "our major trump card," was in town for an appearance at the French Film Festival's benefit opening at La Maison Francaise the next night and to present a crystal model of the Statue of Liberty to Ronald Reagan on behalf of French President Franc,ois Mitterrand the morning after.

De Margerie pointed out to the guests -- who included the Prince de Faucigny Lucinge, his daughter the Marquise de Ravenel and her daughter the Comtesse de Ravenel and her husband, as well as Georgetown undergraduate Prince Guillaume de Luxembourg, ambassador-designate Ronald Lauder and Jo Carole Lauder, singer Phyllis Bryn-Julson, AFI head George Stevens and his wife Liz -- that Deneuve has a new role, that of Marianne. Marianne is the personification of the Republic of France, and Deneuve was chosen by a poll to replace Brigitte Bardot in that role. "It's like being a citizen of honor," she said proudly. "It's a civic responsibility."

After dinner Sen. John Warner circled near Deneuve several times but never succeeded in meeting her. Embassy chef Francis Layrle was far luckier; the ambassador introduced him to the actress.

Later this month Deneuve will be introducing her new floral-based fragrance at a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "It took a long time, more than a year, to get the scent I wanted," said Deneuve, who until now was partial to Guerlain's natural scent. "It is not easy to improve on something that good."

It took no time to find a name for the scent. It will be called Deneuve. Ordering a Carr, Tailor-Made

The room at the top of the fashion business is so filled with firmly entrenched big names that it is hard for new talents, even very good ones, to get a start in business.

Of course, there are exceptions. And we'll put a very safe bet on Zack Carr, former assistant to Calvin Klein, whose first collection, meant for delivery to stores in June, will be presented in New York this week.

Carr has a lot going for him, starting with his own taste level, his working with Klein for 9 1/2 years and his linkup with GFT in Turin, manufacturers of the ready-to-wear designs of Giorgio Armani, Valentino and Emanuel Ungaro -- lines distinguished for the quality of workmanship as well as design.

Carr worked for Donald Brooks before Klein. He left Klein almost two years ago "to see if there was a professional life for me without Calvin. It just was time to leave." A month later he had a lengthy phone call from Marco Rivetti, president of GFT International, who reportedly wound up the conversation by saying, "I'd like to make business with you."

Carr had once tried on a jacket made by GFT. "It was so incredible; you could move your arms freely. It had cut and style and yet was not conspicuous," recalled Carr. "I knew that if I ever did anything on my own I would want it to be with a factory like this."

With Rivetti's encouragement, Carr took off for Turin, but a meeting with Rivetti, who was ill at the time, never materialized. Carr returned to New York and started discussing business prospects with others. But it was clear that a liaison with GFT was his ideal. "Everything else seemed like second best."

Carr made another trip to Turin and started serious talks with GFT. "I knew I wanted to make American clothes with European craftsmanship." Negotiations continued for five months with Carr speaking not a word of Italian.

He still speaks no Italian. "I don't think it is a disadvantage," says Carr, who now lives in Italy so he can stay as close to the production as possible. "I work with tailors who speak no English, but they understand through my temperament what it is I want done. It's a constant discovery."

The tailors discovered they liked the clean and simple style characteristic of the Carr clothes, a far cry from the more complicated and detailed designs of others. When they completed the final fittings for Carr's first collection recently, the tailors told Carr, "We feel very satisfied with these clothes." Said Carr, "It is hard to imagine a bigger compliment." Holmes, Home Again

Who says you can't go home again? Some people do. They just dress a little differently.

Washington was home to Carole Holmes when she was a student of international relations at Georgetown University, class of '83, as well as while she was an intern first for Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and later Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.). Holmes, now merchandising editor of Vogue magazine, will be coming back to Washington to moderate two fashion shows at Woodies Chevy Chase next Saturday.

"I was a great admirer of Adrienne Vittadini and Mary Ann Restivo in those days," says Holmes, who says she stood out a bit from the preppy crowd at Georgetown, particularly when she returned from Paris with a "tres French look," as she calls it, wearing her hair very short and always wearing white anklets. "Georgetown is a very international school so maybe it wasn't too noticeable," she says.

As she was then, she is still partial to very comfortable, casual clothes, particularly those of Calvin Klein and Anne Klein, she says. She's become skilled in using accessories not only to distinguish something new, but to update an outfit from the previous season. She likes the current trend to more fitted clothing, "as long as the clothes flatter the figure and aren't too tight," she says.

Her fashion awareness started long before Georgetown. Holmes is the daughter of Arlene Dahl, the actress, who once designed clothes and wrote a syndicated column on fashion and beauty, and until recently created a collection of clothes for Vogue Patterns. Gaultier: Skirting the Issue

The showing of designer menswear always follows the couture shows in Paris. Sometimes it follows quite literally, responding to similar influences, using similar themes, colors and shapes.

Not so this season. While the couture showed lots of slim, pared-away shapes with a minimum of detail for women, the menswear shows that followed continued a very full-blown silhouette with oversized jackets and pleated pants. Only a few of the designers made a point of men's jackets with a slimmer line and indented waistlines.

Jean-Paul Gaultier, who makes some of the best jackets around for men and women, continued on his provocative pet theme of skirts for men. In his recent menswear collection he showed one model in a gray double-breasted jacket over a black shirt with a stiff turtleneck collar and a black straw miniskirt, shiny black tights and silver high tops.

That outfit was a hit on the Paris runway, but will it make it at the Department of Agriculture? And From the Local Fashion Scene . . .

Woodrow Wilson High School, which has long had a large group of fashion-conscious students and an active fashion club, will include a fashion show March 7 as part of the school's 50th-anniversary celebration. According to Sheila Bruner, who is chairing the program, the show will feature local designers and local models.

To find the top local talent, a committee will look at the work of designers at Watha Daniel Library at Eighth Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE, from 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19. Designers should bring a selection of actual garments, not sketches.

The model call will be the next day, Feb. 20, and will be held at the Cleveland Park Library, Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Street, from 5 to 9 p.m. Models should bring a portfolio or pictures.