Desinger Mary McFadden was wearing a designer quiltd jacket and a wool and silk skirt with a gold Lurex thread. "I've been saved by a thread," she laughed.
John Weitz was wearing a suit made by his licensee in Japan. "It was an accident, chosen from the 30 or more gray suits in my closet," the designer reluctantly admitted.
They were in town recently to tout polyester and also made-in-America fashion, and although it was not apparent by their garb that day, they are both true believers. "All of my Marli-pleated dresses are polyester satin and and all but the Indian hand-embroideries are American-made," said McFadden proudly. "I encourage my licensees to use synthetics and manufacture here," said Weitz, who added that the infatuation with all-wool and all-cotton "is a lot of yuppie hype."
Designs by Weitz and McFadden were modeled following brunch at the Congressional Club by the wives of several members of Congress, including Millie O'Neill, Mary Ann Regula, Cece Zorinsky, Joanne Kemp and Alma Rangel, plus the endearing granddaughter of Tip O'Neill, Michaela Daniel, and several professional models.
During brunch, guests were asked to take a touch-test of fabrics matched in color, one swatch of polyester and the other in natural fibers. Weitz tested the first one, shmushed the fabrics in his hands, threw his head back and said, "My thumbs have deserted me," and walked away from the samples.
Luncheon guest Jerilyn Ross, a psychologist who runs a phobia treatment program in Alexandria, had no such problem. In fact, she was told she had the highest score on the test -- seven correct identifications of polyester out of nine. "I really cringe at polyester," said Ross, who said a friend took her to the luncheon hoping the fashion show would change her opinion. "I guess I just have a phobia," she said.