At the Ebony Fashion Fair, stylish women walk by trendy nonsense


They say this is not a fashion town. They should get out more often. Style is alive and well here, but it takes special events like last Sunday's Ebony Fashion Fair to make it perk. Quality is a given 36-year tradition for the all-out international designer lineup. It's the audience that proves fashion has a place in women's lives. We're talking women, not trendies. The guests and alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, sponsors of the show, understand polish. There were no sneakers, no grunge, no message T-shirts. There were women who know fashion can be a simply cut suit or a sparked up cocktail dress, women who wear a hat with confidence, women who are comfortable in their pumps.

That approach to dressing falls right in with Eunice W. Johnson's philosophy. She believes in finished looks. Ms. Johnson is the doyenne of style for Fashion Fair enterprises. "I go to Europe twice a year for couture and ready-to-wear collections," she says. "It is a grinding schedule and I attend as many shows as I can. I do have many favorite designers -- among them Louis Ferraud is a great designer and a sweet man and makes my trips to Paris worthwhile." She covers American designers, too. "I have Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta in the show and also buy personal clothes from them."

It's not every woman who can shop couture, but Ms. Johnson understands that and stages the show to highlight fashion direction. "Last season, after a round of shows and glitter, I decided this year's concept was 'The Shining Hour of Fashion.' " She was right and so was the evening here -- glitter and glamour for the cause of education and scholarships.

Jewelry that pops: Designer Robert Lee Morris, whose sculptural designs define the modern jewelry movement, has signed an agreement to create a line of jewelry and accessories for Warner Bros. Studio stores. The designer, who has accessorized the shows of Geoffrey Beene, Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Karl Lagerfeld and Donna Karan, will be creating pins, buckles and tabletop pieces inspired by Looney Tunes critters such as Bugs Bunny, DC Comics characters and maybe even Batman. Not a huge stretch if you think about fashion's funnier edge.

Take comfort: Fruit of the Loom, you know what they make, ran a national survey focusing on the key issues that bring comfort or discomfort to women. The findings were that 64 percent of women found family as their greatest source of comfort.

However, balancing the responsibilities of work and family brings the most discomfort.

They also found that 82 percent of woman agree that uncomfortable underwear ruins their day. Would someone please, then, make a move to abolish thong undies and bras with hardware?

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