If the beaded dresses worn by the young women on the U.S. Olympic figure-skating team were full length instead of skating-skirt length, they'd look like Malcolm Starr dresses from the 1950s. In fact, the hair styles and white eye makeup of many of the young women looked equally dated at the U.S. Ladies Skating Championship tryouts. Shades of Sonja Henie. In an earlier tryout, the men didn't look any more contemporary.

So, we asked Giorgio di Sant'Angelo, honored by his peers last week for his innovative use of stretch fabric, to offer some fresh ideas on skating style.

"I think a young woman with a good body should be very simply dressed and just show her figure skating, not hide it with an old-fashioned dress," said di Sant'Angelo, who sent along a sketch of his idea for a one-piece body stocking for skating.

"And I put something on her head to elongate the figure. The body stocking could be done in the American colors, and the piece on the head could be almost gold -- or the hair could be pulled up. I attached a soft piece of fabric to the shoulder, like a Japanese kabuki dancer, so the fabric could show the movement of the figure as it dances."

According to Dale Mitch, editor of Skating magazine, there are no restrictions on what a skater can wear, "except no advertising." Current champion Debi Thomas will be wearing a black unitard for the short program, he says. Mitch said the trend in men's costumes is away from a glittery look and toward costumes that simply suit the music.

On Their Honors

"More women have taken their clothes off for Arnold Scaasi than for Warren Beatty," said columnist Liz Smith as she presented Scaasi one of many awards from his peers at the Council of Fashion Designers dinner Monday. Both Giorgio Armani and the late journalist Hebe Dorsey had asked that Ralph Lauren present their awards. Dorsey had chosen Lauren as the epitome of American design. But Lauren stepped aside and presented neither, he said, since he didn't really know Dorsey well and Armani did not attend the dinner. "{Armani} had the best possible excuse. He was presenting his collection in Milan the next day," said Bill Blass.

Tidbits from the evening: Donna Karan forgot the name of the men who were getting an award for creating her hosiery campaign ... Nancy Reagan, who presented an award to Brooke Astor, wore the James Galanos gown she wore to the Gorbachev state dinner ... Scaasi had three tables of guests done up in his long gala gowns; Astor also was in a yellow and black Scaasi ... best dress of the evening was a vintage pailletted Geoffrey Beene worn by Anna Wintour, House & Garden editor ... New York Times Fashion Editor Bernadine Morris was in a Geoffrey Beene jumpsuit to receive her award. Bill Blass summed it up: It was a fashion event at its best -- "slick, quick and no extremes."

Carolyne Roehm, Long on Short

"I'm just too neurotic to sit at a table, so I have to go backstage during the show," said designer Carolyne Roehm Tuesday before her spring line was shown at a benefit luncheon for Wolf Trap at the Park Hyatt.

As predicted, Roehm was kneeling behind the curtain once the show started -- fussing over the lanky Washington models before they loped onto the runway.

As the models appeared wearing Roehm's very short and splashy clothes for spring, the 225 well-dressed and perfectly proper Washington ladies at the lunch laughed self-consciously. But seconds later, as though caught up in the spirit of bold sartorial adventure, the crowd, which included Wolf Trap founder Catherine Filene Shouse and Helene de Margerie, wife of the French ambassador, broke out in enthusiastic applause.

"This collection does make me a little nervous because it's quite short," said the designer before the show. "And I want the ladies to know that we are not dictating anything to them. They should wear what's appropriate for them." Still, Roehm suggests, "They will look younger in shorter lengths."

The show and the luxe lunch -- lobster claws, then veal, then fresh raspberries -- were sponsored by Nordstrom. This was the first event in Washington for the Seattle-based specialty retailer, which will open a store at Tysons Corner in March. It'll be Nordstrom's first venture over the Rocky Mountains.

"We'rean unknown entity here," said one store official before the show. "They did a survey in Washington and found out that most people thought Nordstrom was a refrigerator ... or an aerospace company."

Martha Sherrill Dailey

The Lacroix Lottery

Update on the Lacroix de guerre -- the war over Lacroix fashion.

Score a big one for Garfinckels, one of the three stores in this town, with Saks Jandel and Saks Fifth Avenue, to carry the Christian Lacroix label. Garfinckels Neal Fox has invited 12 of the store's best customers to accompany him to Paris on Pan Am later this month, to stay at the Hotel Intercontinental to see the couture showings of Emanuel Ungaro, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and, of course, Lacroix. The names of more than 200 top customers were put in a hat and the winners chosen in a drawing.

The fortunate: Wilma Bernstein, Jean Fuller, Pat Dixson Hoffman, Mary Walker Eames, Rene'e Korengold, Elaine Miller, Linda McCausland, Sarah Gewirz, Debbie Sigmund, Linda Haan, Suellen Estrin and Sheray Hodges.

Fur &

Far Between

What'sbrought on the big rush to fur hats this season? Raisa Gorbachev's fur hat? The variety of fur hats in the movie "The Last Emperor"? The cold weather has had a lot to do with it. Unfortunately few are to be found in Washington, particularly the high-demand classic Russian style.