For the Gap, Credibility

Where do companies get inspiration for their advertising? Few are as quick to admit where their ideas come from as the Gap, whose handsome campaign for its Work-Force collection of jeans and shirts is dedicated to photographer Dorothea Lange. Lange's photographs from 1935 until her death in 1965 documented the American worker.

The photographs in the Gap campaign by photographers Herb Ritts and Lance Staedler are a far cry from those in other jeans campaigns, which tend to be sleazy -- the new ads for Guess jeans, in fact, may win a prize in that category. The Gap's Work-Force ads, however, are tasteful, not trashy, with black-and-white photographs appropriately set in work situations.

"Once the term 'blue collar' had a ring of condescension. Today it is a term of pride, of believability, of endurance," says the copy. The garments in the Work-Force collection, the copy continues, "are the kind of clothes Americans talk about when they say 'flying by the seat of their pants.' The kind of clothes an American means when he says he'd 'give you the shirt off his back.' "

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Fashionable Forays

If you are worried about the new clothes -- particularly short skirts or very long ones, stretch fabrics, high heels, whatever -- you can talk to the sources of those styles when a parade of designers passes through the Washington area next month. Here's where you will find some of them: Geoffrey Beene (Sept. 9 at Nan Duskin, Baltimore); Kay Unger, who designs for St. Gilliam (Sept. 9 at Woodward & Lothrop Metro Center); Carolina Herrera (Sept. 14 at the Hispanic Designers Fashion Show, where she will get an award from Paloma Picasso; call 822-7895 for ticket information); Harriet Winter (Sept. 10 and 11 at Garfinckel's downtown); Tarquin Ebker (Sept. 15 and 16 at Elizabeth Arden, Chevy Chase, and Sept. 17 and 18 at the downtown store); Linda Allard of Ellen Tracy (Sept 16 at Garfinckel's downtown); Kathryn Conover (Sept. 17 at Garfinckel's downtown); Eleanor Brenner (Sept. 17 at the "Working Women's Breakfast," Sheraton-Carlton Hotel); jewelry designer Carol Dauplaise (Sept 18 at Garfinckel's downtown); John Anthony (Sept. 18 and 19 at Harriet Kassman); Victor Costa (Sept 22 at Garfinckel's downtown); menswear designer Bill Robinson (Sept. 26 at Woodward & Lothrop Metro Center); Stanley Sherman (Oct. 1 at Lord & Taylor, Washington, and Oct. 2 at Lord & Taylor, Falls Church); Mortan Myles (Oct. 15 at Woodward & Lothrop, Chevy Chase); Bill Blass (Oct. 15 at the Sheraton Washington's "Best of Washington" show, where he will receive an award).

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The Windsor Glitter

The Duchess of Windsor never wore her jewels in clusters on her lapels, but she wasn't snapping them up in stores at popular prices, either. Jewelry designer Carolee -- she doesn't use a last name -- started her research on the Windsor jewels almost a year ago when she read that Sotheby's was auctioning them. Now Carolee has introduced her Estate Collection, which is inspired by the duchess' jewelry, and is sold locally at Garfinckel's and Neiman-Marcus.

Carolee is impressed by the Duke of Windsor's taste in jewelry. "I'm amazed that he spent the amount of time he did developing the individual pieces with Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels," she says. She's not surprised by how well they sell. "Women seem to need outrageous faux jewelry, but things that are whimsical and amusing." And can be worn in amusing ways -- clusters of animals, for instance (the flamingo and panther pins are the current best sellers).

"I'm even more shocked at the public awareness of the real thing," says Carolee. When the designer was making a personal appearance at Bloomingdale's in New York recently, many women commented that the scale of the jewelry was different from the original pieces.

But it didn't keep anyone from buying them.

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Head Master

Graham Webb is turning heads ... into profits. Webb, an English hair-biz wiz who has eight hair salons in London and southeast England, opened his Academy of Hair this month in Arlington.

The instructors at the Graham Webb Academy will be a rotating group of hair stylists from England -- flying in, no doubt, with the latest London trends. Classes will be offered to aspiring stylists as well as to practicing hairdressers who want to pick up a few more techniques.

American hairdressers are taught science and theories, says Webb, but not enough technique. "People in the States become hairdressers passing the state board, which is largely theory," says Webb. In Britain, it seems, a hairdresser simply has to be good to stay in business. In London, anyway, the clients are a very fussy group.

The fussy Londoners these days are wearing their hair longer overall, says Webb's art director and main hair man, Jed Hamill. Very feminine '40s hair styles are coming back, Hamill says, to complement wasp-waisted clothes and short skirts. "The wet waves and gelled hair is gone," he says. "Now it's a softer type wave and curl." Ah, the wet head -- dead again. -- Martha Sherrill Dailey ----

Note de la Mode

With so many designers cultivating crests at this moment -- Ralph Lauren, Bill Kaiserman, Enrico Coveri among them -- it is no surprise that some with legit crests are cashing in as well. The latest is O. Stillman Rockefeller, great-great nephew of the late John D., who is planning to put his family crest on T-shirts, denim jackets and jeans, according to Page Six of the New York Post. They say the crest will bear the latin motto "Non quam propius erunt," which loosely translated means "Follow the straight and narrow."