Zaitsev and the Miniskirt Zeitgeist

When Slava Zaitzev, Moscow's leading designer, was in New York last month, he said of miniskirts at the start of his trip: "In the 1960s women got divorced because of the miniskirt. Everything was exposed ... There was no mystery left."

During his two-week stay in New York he saw a lot of short skirts and a lot of clothes with shoulders and chests exposed as well as knees, a sharp contrast to the covered-up styles he designs for Raisa Gorbachev and other women in the Soviet Union. Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta, for example, gave Zaitsev intimate looks at their designs, a chance to turn dresses inside out, examine fabrics, study workmanship and even witness the sample making.

Zaitsev didn't say he felt differently about short skirts before leaving. However, he left behind several sketches for a friend, including one of a dress with a very revealing neckline and very short skirt, a fantasy, we would think.

He also left a sketch of a red brocade dress, above-the-knee length, with a deep, slit neckline. A suggestion for Mrs. Gorbachev for her visit here next week? We'll have to wait and see.

By the way, some of Zaitsev's designs can be seen here in Washington. They are included on the films presented three times daily during the month-long Soviet cultural exhibition, "The U.S.S.R.: The Individual, Family, Society," which opened this week at the Departmental Auditorium.


Israel's Clothes Call

Batia Dissentshik, a leading model in Washington about 10 years ago, now produces fashion shows in Israel. "Everyone goes to fashion shows in Israel," says Dissentshik, who was visiting Washington last weekend. "The Leumi Bank gives an invitation to a fashion show for their customers who open accounts of $3,000 or more, schools want fashion shows, and, of course, there are benefit shows," she said. "Occasionally I produce three shows in one day." Clothes are provided by Israeli manufacturers. Her most recent production, a school fundraiser, showed the designs of Gideon Oberson to an audience of 4,000.

Both on the runway and in the street, Israeli women are high on short skirts. "It's being worn by the young and the not so young," Dissentshik said. But for herself, her shortest skirt is at the top of the knees. "Others may do it. But, you know, I'm no longer 30 and I don't think it is appropriate to wear anything shorter."



A Pride Of Peacocks

It is not easy for men to outshine women these day, but that's the way it was at the City Club last Sunday night for the party given by Dr. William Funderburk and his wife Marilyn. Most of the women were dressed in black in styles that were very covered up and hedged just around the knee.

The men were much more daring. Attorney Vernon Jordan was in a black-and-white glen plaid suit, black-and-white striped shirt with a white collar and black-and-white pin dot tie; Superior Court Judge Paul Webber wore a black tweed jacket by Daniel Hechter; attorney Mario Cooper had on a broad-shouldered Mani suit under his oversized tweed coat from Value Village; Dr. Robert Greenfield was in a black-and-white pin-stripe suit from Bernard Hill; and Dr. C. David Hinton wore a Pierre Cardin navy pin-stripe suit with a white-collared pink shirt and pink-patterned silk tie.


United Against AIDS

Does Esprit tell Bloomies, does Macy's tell Saks, does Bergdorf's tell Bendel's? Apparently they are all spreading the word about a Carnegie Hall fundraiser Dec. 6 for AIDS research. Because of the large number of people stricken with AIDS in the fashion industry, stores such as Marshall Field's and Esprit already have major fund-raising efforts for AIDS research. The Dec. 6 event in New York is being organized by trade associations to demonstrate ways stores can help employes with AIDS and related illnesses, as well as promoting fund raising and community assistance. Peter Glen, a charismatic moderator of merchandising seminars and a retail critic, will host the event, which is called "90 Minutes for Life."


Passionate Duplicity

You'd never know it from the current passion of Washington women for Elizabeth Taylor's Passion, but there's a bit of frost on the passion for Elizabeth Taylor's fragrance. It seems that there is a perfume from France out first with the name Passion, and a federal judge has ruled that Taylor's purple Passion must be removed from some stores, such as Neiman-Marcus. No worry for Woodies. It has sold more than $350,000 in Passion, mostly in the 1.5-ounce bottle for $25, and expects to sell 25,000 units by Christmas.


Notes De la Mode:

Kids have a special feeling for Tyrone (Muggsy) Bogues, and it is clear the 5-foot-3 Washington Bullet guard has a special feeling for kids as well. He will show it in a line of kids' clothes for Converse, the first athlete-endorsed line made specifically for kids.

It's official: Although she's been on the job for more than a month, Macy's has announced that Sandra Westin, for nine years the public information officer for the National Portrait Gallery, has been appointed community/public relations director for the Washington-Baltimore region of Macy's. Prior to working for the gallery, Westin was PR director in this area for Bloomingdale's.

"With all the people who have lost their shirts, isn't it a shame we are in the shoe business," joked an ad by innovative shoe designer Kenneth Cole after Black Monday. Cole, who has poked fun at political figures through his ads, will curb his political jabs ... now that he is married to Maria Cuomo, the daughter of New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.