Battle of the Bridal Gowns

Consider all the celebrity brides recently and the hands-down winner in wedding dresses was the Carolina Herera design for Caroline Kennedy. The dress was flattering, special, perfectly suited for her and the occasion. It didn't even seem out of place next to the bridegroom's funky linen WilleWear suit.

Kennedy asked for short sleeves and a fitted bodice. Herrera suggest a dropped waist to show off the tiny waistline of Kennedy's Size 4 figure. The designer gave her swatches to consider and proposed the three-leaf clover appliques for the dress and 25-foot train. "It never occurred to either of us to call them shamrocks," laughed Herrera, who now refers to the appliques as shamrocks. "Do shamrocks have three leaves?" she asked. (They do.)

Herrera also designed the dress for the bride's mother, Jacqueline Onassis, who looked stunning in a heavy silk crepe dress in pistachio green with fitted midriff and long sleeves. Herrera prompted Onassis to chose the color. "I thought she should look different from the usual mother of the bride in pale beige or grey," added Herrera.

Willi Smith, who made the garb for the groom and ushers, also made the bridesmaids' dresses but didn't design them. Caroline Kennedy gave Smith a dress and fabric and asked him to make copies in his workroom. "She asked me as a friend. I couldn't refuse,' said Smith. Carolina Herrera's wedding designer a pistachio green silk crepe dress for mother-of-the-bride Jacqueline Onassis, above, and Caroline Kennedy's bridal gown with shamrock appliques, right. Wedding Watchers Sallie Ann Hart was the first to notice the S and A monogram on Sarah Ferguson's wedding dress. "Looks like the monogram on my towels," she laughed. Hart, a real estate agent, had gone all-out for the early morning television tea party at the home of Marilyn Funderburk, a former deputy White House social secretary. Funderburk, who was wearing a lace appliqued bathing suit and pareo, had asked guests to wear something romantic and Hart was done up in a lace-trimmed blouse, long pink skirt, sash, bustle and a big-brimmed, flower-trimmed straw hat.

Amy Ryan, who worked in the White House social office, too, wore the white bridesmaid dress and floppy hat she had worn in a wedding almost 10 years ago to the day. She brought to the strawberry-and-scones breakfast pictures from some of the eight or nine other weddings in which she had been a bridal attendant.

Alicia Karanian, a logistics analyst, was dressed for work in a beige suit but brought her wedding pictures to the party. Hart came empty-handed. "I didn't know which wedding to bring," she explained. Bill Blass: A Friend to Frumps Bill Blass isn't a fashion snob. He even kisses his frumpy friends.

Blass, at neiman-Marcus here to show his fall collection, gave a big kiss-kiss to Dorcas hardin and Betty Lou Ourisman, listed among Washington's "frumpy" women in a recent edition of W, the offshoot of Women's Wear Daily. Blass got serious on the subject, "I never thought of Washington as frumpy," he said. "I think there have been times when women looked quite frumpy here but certainly not recently."

Blass, who travels across the country with his collection each season, says he's seeing a change in the way women want to dress. "The public is sick to death of sportswear, except of course at the level of the Gap," he said. "People want to dress up more and be more glamorous for day."

This Charles Wilson, a University of Mississippi professor of history and southern studies more glamorous look showed up throughout his new collection. Best are the double-faced wool suits, lean and elegant with jersey blouses and hoods and the cashmere jackets and coats with smocking. The favorite daytime outfit of the Neiman's crowd was a black and white jacket with long black trumpet skirt.

Below-the-calf skirts are selling about equally with knee-length skirts, according to Blass. "Many women feel taller and rangier and even younger in long skirts," he said. Concludes Blass, "A really smart woman wears her skirts the same length she has worn them for years." Tres Beene A post card from Geoffrey Beene in Vienna: "What a delight to be back in this city of such fanciful architecture and imperialistic manners. And so much sunshine as well. The only terrorist I have seen was John Fairchild on the Concorde coming over."

Fairchild, the publisher of Women's Wear Daily, and Beene had a falling out three years ago and Fairchild hasn't spoken to the designer or covered his collection since. A Lauder, the Lauded And the Lawless Notes de la mode:

* Call her Dr. Lauder, please. Estee Lauder recently was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. "Mother Nature doesn't have a premium on beauty," the citation read.

* No worry that shoemaker Terry Fortuna's five children aren't well heeled. Fortuna, who is working on a graduate business degree at Marymount College, manages Fortuna's in Bethesda, winner of the highest honor in the shoe repair field. This week Raul Guayta, 30, an employe of the shop for more than 10 years, was given the 1986 Grand Silver Cup by the Shoe Service Institute of America at the Nnational Shoe Convention in Baltimore.

* Flat out the best way to let people know counterfeits won't be tolerated is to crush them with a steamroller. That is just what Cartier did last week, crushing 2,000 counterfeit Cartier watches, with a 12-ton steamroller near the Fifth Avenue store. Cartier Chairman Ralph Destino expects makers of the phony watches, whom he calls "Fifth Avenue parasites," have gotten his message "that Cartier will not tolerate any further counterfeiting of its products." Stitch, Stitch, Stitch In September, The Washington Post will again publish a list of sewing classes available to the public. If you offer such a course, please send a full description, including skills required, time, place and fee to Martha Dalley, Fashion Department, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW 20071. Information must be received before Aug. 20 to be considered.