Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Style Extra

Styles inspired by 1920s made for today's woman

The swingy, light flapper styles from Nicole Miller's drawing board will be at La Bella Donna in Glendale Saturday - harbingers of spring in supple fabrics of downy pink with ivory and black. Owner Donna Wesselman says late spring, summer and early fall eveningwear, dressy sportswear and some bridal designs will be shown. Miller sales manager Kim Salerno will be at the shop 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The New York designer, whose influence has spread to eyewear, fragrances and cosmetics, menswear and bed and bath designs, took a few minutes to talk with us about her spring line.

Question: Where do you get your ideas?

Answer: It doesn't usually come from one place. I do a lot of research on old things ... or from draping fabric on a mannequin. Sometimes, I can pinpoint where I got something ... but I don't remember one single thing really for this spring line.

Q: Where did the criss-cross bodice trim come from?

A: I started with one dress, draping ribbons across it, and it had a '20s feel to it. I just kept working with that '20s feeling. I have a couture background in draping, so I have my clothes draped instead of flat-patterned. I think it's really important to get the aesthetic look of the clothes by putting it on the form first.

Q: The hemlines aren't really handkerchief. What do you call them?

A: I was actually moving away from the handkerchief hems. We did a lot of "panels" for spring instead. And the patterns came from a vintage swatch. I use a lot of vintage.

Q: Do you wear vintage clothing?

A: I like looking at them. Vintage is something in the air right now. But I don't really wear it. For example, I went to a '20s party recently and wore a vintage dress I bought years ago at Christie's. I had it 10 years and it was the first time I wore it.

Q: Tell us about designing dresses for the Oscars?

A: Each girl gets dozens of dresses, and they pick and choose what they want. It's a lot of work. I pick a few (actresses) I like and don't go after the impossible ones. The new actresses are more interesting to me anyway.

Q: Do you pick them by body type or how they'll look in your designs?

A: You pick them by fame and personality. I know a lot of actresses say they are going to wear something, then change their minds. People have been disappointed. I think at the last minute they are still trying things on.

Q: What kind of woman do you design for?

A: A go-getter, always on the move, someone who works or is a mom and goes to the gym, juggling a busy lifestyle ... very much a today's woman.

Q: Is the mini skirt really coming back?

A: I don't think it's going to be the '60s' mini. It's going to be a 17- to 19-inch. I'm glad the mini is back. I love minis and boots for winter.

Q: What do you most like to wear?

A: Pants. I'm a real pants person.

Contact Joy Kraft by phone: 768-8467; fax: 768-8330; e-mail: jkraft@enquirer.com.

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