Gently worn Ungaros and almost new Adolfos go on sale this week at the annual "Designer Dress Days" benefit, sponsored by the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington. Old and new clothing, accessories and furs will be priced from $5 to several hundred dollars. Last year the council raised $15,000 from donated fashion, which benefits nonsectarian community service projects.
The sale begins at 8 p.m. Saturday with informal modeling and continues Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Monday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The place is Blair Club, 1220 East-West Hwy., in Silver Spring.
Bogie: So now you're a beauty expert, eh kid?
Bacall: I don't know what you mean, Steve.
Bogie: And all because that outfit in Paris -- what'sit called? Collagen Biomedical? -- asked you to show up at the Ritz next Sunday and talk about sexier lips.
Bacall: Well, it is the Ritz.
Bogie: Just tell me one thing, Slim. How come they picked you to hustle collagen injections?
Bacall: It's that line, Steve. Remember? "You just put your lips together and blow."
Bogie: That's all?
Bacall: Well, a girl's got to earn a living, doesn't she?
East Block Chic to West
Anyone in the market for a brand new East German officer's coat? Cheap at $39!
"They're quite stylish, actually," insists Mark Richards, owner of Full Metal Jacket, an army surplus store in Alexandria for people with sudden cravings for jackboots, helmets and fuzzy hats with crests.
Richards is importing crate-loads of East German surplus, which he describes as being more fashionable than American warwear. "Now, the West German stuff, that's really stylish," he says.
But if there's only one Germany, who wants East Bloc inventory? "It has a lot of collector's value," reasons Richards, who does well at Halloween with peaked officer's hats. "Some of them end up on punk rockers too."
Gucci Gumption, Reviving the Old Look
In Milan last week, while designers were mounting their semiannual theatrics in a convention center, Gucci staged a very quiet retrospective of its designs at the Palazzo Dugnani. Behind a series of shadow boxes that glowed like shop windows at midnight, the soft leather mocassinos and sensuously curved handbags from the '50s recalled a less frantic time, before fashion was accompanied by hype and rap music.
Gucci is in the midst of a revival, and the exhibit was really intended to show off its swifter new image. Since last year, when Maurizio Gucci took control of the 84-year-old Florentine company, a sense of direction has emerged that wasn't apparent in the past two decades. For one thing, Gucci has cut off distribution to department stores and sells its products only in Gucci stores. Eventually, 75 percent of its wallets and bags will be made in leather, an about-face from the initialed canvas that diluted the label's image. In fact, initials are now out of fashion at Gucci.
"We went back to the archives and reinstated many of the original designs from the '50s and '60s," says Dawn Mello, who last year left Bergdorf Goodman, where she was president, to become Gucci's creative director. The classic Gucci loafer, or mocassino, as Italians call it, now comes in 12 colors for women, eight for men. Bags are more rounded.
Gucci loyalists have sent in their favorite handbags, suggesting they be reproduced. After an Englishman dropped off his 1949 leather travel bag at Gucci in London for repair, it wound up with Mello, who had it copied for the current collection. "To return the favor, we'll present the gentleman with a new travel case," she says.
It will take a lot longer, however, for Gucci to recoup the business it lost by limiting distribution -- roughly $30 million in department store sales last year -- and Mello predicts the last of Gucci's 12 lines won't be restored until 1994. But she may be getting some help already from her friends in the fashion business.
"There are a lot of editors in Milan with Gucci bags on their arms," reports an observer of trends on the run.
Ruffles and Flourishes
Ruffles tend to unruffle people, more so now that they are in fashion again. They are suspect: Think of old maids, dancing school, Queen Victoria, badly dressed poodles, Prince. Shall we go on?
Fact is, ruffles are more raffine' than rakish, deliberately conspicuous and intended to mock dullness. A ruffled shirt is reverse chic -- fussy but campy enough to deflate the average black jacket. And more's the better. Franco Moschino, the Italian designer who issues seasonal slogans ("East is Hot!") the way some designers issue press releases, prefers a gush of ruffles down the front of lace blouses. Picture bordello draperies pinch-pleated at the neck.
There is reason to believe the young and the restless have adopted ruffled shirts with a little help from the Purple One. In any case, frilly white blouses are high on a short list of street fashion.
Spare No Expense
By now, of course, the fashion bessies have moved on to London for the British shows, which end tomorrow. By the time Yves Saint Laurent shows his spring collection on Oct. 24 in Paris, they will have seen, oh, maybe 6,000 outfits. And if Gianni Versace's dagger dance with Mondrian squares is any indication, they probably will be color blind too.
And counting their spare lire. Wholesale prices in Milan reportedly are up as much as 25 percent over last season, combined with a weaker dollar. At Versace, expanded promotions in the United States and Far East mostly account for the 15 to 20 percent price hike there, according to company president Santo Versace. Manufacturing the designer's vibrant prints will also be costly.
In fact, the silk shirt printed with Vogue covers that Versace made to benefit the New York City AIDS Fund will retail for around $1,800. There's no word yet on how many shirts the designer expects to make.
Meanwhile, Rifat Ozbek in London and Jean-Paul Gaultier in Paris are making a small line of sports clothes, in conjunction with a charity album called "Red Hot & Blue," to benefit AIDS research and relief. And in New York, designer Charlotte Neuville will forgo her usual spring show this month and give a comparable donation to AIDS relief programs instead. A spokeswoman wouldn't say how much.