Maxi Clothes For the Mini Set

It's never too early to get your fashion legs steadied. Gianni Versace, Italy's most inventive designer formen and women, has been inspired by hisnieces and nephews to make children'sclothes.

Just as with Versace's grown-up designs, there isno difficulty telling the girls from the boys, even as infants.

For the girls, he has designed bubble skirts, cartwheel dirndls and puff-sleeve blouses with layered collars. He pairs a powdery pink spencer jacket, for example, with a petticoated black-and-white printed skirt that any grown-upVersace fan would love to own.

Little boys mirror Versace's signature menswear style with cuffed, tapered trousers, although these occasionally stop midcalf. The shirts are made in necktie patterns and weatherproofed chintz.

The clothes are available only in Italy, but they should be sold here next season.

Get a Whiff of This!

After scratch and sniff comes patch and sniff. The transdermal patch originally developed to deliver continuous relief from motion sickness, angina pain and menopausal symptoms may provide a new way to wear a fragrance. A transparent dime-sized patch, developed by Thermedics Inc., is about to be tested as a way of applying a scent ... and removing it easily.

"People can change fragrances in seconds, wearing what they like for as long as they like," said Dr. Michael Szycher, vice president of Thermedics. "If they don't like a fragrance, they simply remove the patch and the scent disappears."

Nothing is forever. The patches emit a true fragrance for a day before fading.

Plain & Fancy: Louis Feraud's Camargue Collection

Christian Lacroix isn't the only designer to have grown up in Arles or to be influenced by the traditional styles of the cowboys of the Camargue Plain and the laces worn by the women in this region.

Louis Feraud, who left his home town of Arles at age 17, returned there not long back for a presentation of his couture collection. The show, held in an ancient Roman amphitheater before an audience of 3,500, celebrated the opening of the International Photographers Convention and the Arles Music and Dance Festival. While the matador-inspired collection shown in the amphitheater consisted of Feraud's couture designs, the same influence shows up in his ready-to-wear collections now in the stores.

Streaming, Gleaming, Flowing, Flaxen, Waxen

Have you noticed how many fashion slicks this month have models with long curly hair?

It started with designers like Romeo Gigli in Milan more than a year ago. Whether he did it because a few pretty young blonds started to wear their hair that way, or the girls started wearing the style after seeing Gigli's models, we can't be sure. But no matter.

Now many salons are doing this soft-perm look. For some it is a remembrance of an old hippie look. At Bruno Dessange, they say it is a reminder of "Brigitte Bardot's long libertarian locks."

Washington's Southwest Passage

Which came first -- the Georgia O'Keeffe show or the Southwest-inspired items currently in Washington stores? Corrie Wickens, owner of the former Georgetown shop Liberty and of the Willard shop the American Store, has always focused on indigenous American clothing.

"I didn't know that the O'Keeffe show was coming to the National Gallery when we planned our Southwest promotion, and only later did I learn about the American Indian Dance Theatre at Ford's Theatre. But things seem to be in the air and they just coalesce," she says.

And Wickens has made it happen. Besides Diane Beaudry's O'Keeffe-inspired clothes with flounced skirts and Stetson hats, there are Indian-inspired sweaters, scarves and jewelry.

Across town, there's a new store in Georgetown with eyes west. It's called Santa Fe Style. Nancy Jones, owner of the shop with her mother, describes it as a mostly eclectic mix of native American, Mexican, Western and Eastern. "It's a little of everything," she says. Desert colors, natural fabrics, Native American designs and some Mexican items are essential ingredients. While the shop includes some wonderful furniture, pottery, skulls and other decorative items, there are a few fashion items, including belts on colorful cotton strips and woven bags, handmade and decorated with beads, and dolls, chili peppers, mirrors and charms, and a Santa Fe variation on the Kenya bag.

Notes de la Mode

Themini is the message at most of the stores inside Mazza Gallerie. But outside, the message is, well,confusing at least. The banners outside the shopping center feature a knee-length suit for day and a ruffle-hemmed dress that droops below the knees for evening.

The video fashion sell is hardly a new idea, but here is a worthy twist. Fashion Ease, which features clothes for the arthritic, senior citizens and the handicapped, has a 20-minute video showing the adaptive features of much of its clothing. The video is sent free for 30 days, or can be bought for $19.98 by writing Fashion Ease, 1541 60thSt., Brooklyn, N.Y.11219.

Calvin Klein has done more than just change the name of his lower-priced line Classifications to Calvin Klein Classics. Due to slow business with other divisions and sluggish business generally, Klein will close down the redubbed Classics label next spring.

If you have ever had an overwhelming desire to turn over letters and dress the part, you might want to know that the Vanna White dress collection is at Bloomingdale's.

The fashion designers have gone so crazy for stretch fabrics, WWD reports, that the fabric people are running out of stretch fiber.

Neglected knees and uncared-for calves? Of course there is a 30-day course and a book to kick around, prompted by all the mini styles. It is called "Knockout Knees and Great Legs in 30 Days," by Babbie DeDerian (Price Stern Sloan Inc.), and suggests, among other things, leg scrubs and masks for knees in the rough.