Lacroix & His Model Muse

When Christian Lacroix comes to New York next week for a Fashion Group dinner honoring designers and their Muses, he will bring Marie Seznec, the gray-haired model who worked with him for two years at Jean Patou before Lacroix started his own house.

"He likes me because I am the only one with gray hair," Seznec said modestly. Now 27, she has had gray hair since she was 15 and it never occurred to her to put a touch of color in it. "My two brothers and two sisters and mother and father all had gray hair at a young age. I could never see anything wrong about it."

Seznec and all the Lacroix models wore their hair in french twists under amusing flower-filled hats. The upswept hair style was the choice of many designers this spring, perhaps as a way to make the neck look longer and the entire figure look elongated to exaggerate the short styles popular for next spring.

The Couture Club: None Too Chummy

"This is the first time I've seen so many couturiers in the same room. We're not a very friendly group," observed Pierre Cardin at the ceremony awarding John Fairchild the Legion d'Honneur.

One designer who was not there was Yves Saint Laurent. Nor was his partner, Pierre Berge, who originally proposed to French Minister of Culture Jack Lange that Fairchild be given the honor. Since then Fairchild and Berge have had an unstylish feud, based, says Berge, on what he says was Women's Wear Daily's unfair reporting of the YSL collection.

Sand & Sequins

Whenis a supershort dress for the beach and when is it for the streets? In the Enrico Coveri collection it is particularly hard to tell since both are the same length and both are sequined. "It's for living very near to the beach," said Coveri after the show, perhaps referring to the fact that his first American free-standing boutique will open in Palm Beach in January. He will open eight more American boutiques soon after.

Like other designers, Coveri used the music from "La Bamba" and his short, colorful clothes had a distinctly Hispanic flavor. He loves the way women dress in Ibiza, Spain, where he has been, and in Mexico and Cuba, where he intends to visit because "the clothes are sexy and the women dress for men."

Sleeves to Fashion

Christian Lacroix admits that the separate sleeves with some dresses were at first a mistake -- they were meant to be attached but didn't work. But Karl Lagerfeld's sleeves, long floating chiffon pieces, were surely meant to be just that from the start. Just to make the point, with one of his short dresses Lagerfeld put the sleeves on the model's legs.

Miyake's Real Corker

Issey Miyake spent the month of May in Sante Fe and it shows in his clothes. No, there aren't any Navaho touches, or anything else ethnic in the collection. But using bantamweight fabrics in the palest tones, Miyake creates a fresh, comfortable and modern way to look. Many of the currently popular themes for next season -- including off-the-shoulder necklines, uneven hems, shorts and short skirts -- show up in the new Miyake collection. But in this skilled designer's hands, with his own innovative fabrics -- this time including knitted cork -- they never look like anyone's but Miyake's own.

The Envelope Please ...

Few designers still send out traditional invitations to their shows. Chantal Thomass' invitation included two cards to hold up during the show to express reaction. One card said tres bien (very good) and the other said tres tres bien (very very good). "I finally will know what you really think," said Thomass.

Patrick Kelly's invite included a paper doll stylized cutout of himself plus clothes for dressing the doll, including boxer shorts, an animal skin and, of course, the overalls Kelly always wears.

The largest invitation, the size of a place mat, was from Etienne Brunel; the most curious, a notebook of black pages, from Junko Koshino.

Weight a Minute!!

The Jean-Louis Scherrer show started 40 minutes late because Washington-born model Gloria Burgess was working out with weights at the gym and lost track of the time. When she finally got backstage, Scherrer, a true gentleman, said: "I knew you would not intentionally forget the show." Burgess did the show with only partial makeup to save time. Also in the show was Scherrer's daughter Lutetia, now an assistant in the house.

Notes de la Mode

Photographersare copying not only Bruce Weber's style but also his look. Several photographers this season had tied bandannas on their heads, a Weber signature.

Lagerfeld's new chain belt for Chanel is made entirely of buckles.

Only in France. Standing under a huge Defense de Fumer (No Smoking) sign in the tents: a security guard -- smoking.

Geoffrey Beene sent a post card to several friends in Paris this week. "You could freeze in those shorts," he teased. "You must think of your health."

Count on Rei Kawakubo to find new ways to wear clothes and accessories. Attached to the hems of several black dresses were oblong crystal beads that looked like chandelier drops.

There was bedlam backstage at the Thierry Mugler show: Some of the models did NOT want to wear some of the wild wigs and exposed clothes.

Saks' Object

Ernest Marx of Saks-Jandel had a copy of his contract with Christian Lacroix in the portfolio he was carrying to several of the shows this week. It has handwritten on top: The collection is confined to one other store in the metropolitan area. So Lacroix's new "luxe" collection will be at Saks-Jandel and Garfinckel's. Saks Fifth Avenue will carry the designer's ready-to-wear a season later.