Runway hairstyles not bound by reality


I'm thinking of changing my hairstyle and have been looking through magazines to get ideas. All I find are crazy looks that no woman I know would wear in real life. I makes me mad. Why do designers do this?

For an answer I checked with Manhattan's Bumble & Bumble, hairstylists who have done shows for designers such as Miuccia Prada, Gianni Versace and Alexander McQueen. Owner Michael Gordon urges you to bear in mind that what you see on the runway (and in the fashion pages) are uncut hairstyles.

"We don't cut the models' hair at the shows. What we do is create styles, which -- like the clothes on the runway -- produce a mood of fantasy and illusion. They are designed to be shocking and entertaining. They can, of course, be modified for real women.

"We do a look for the runway and then we take bits of it to create a style that is appealing and suitable for the customer sitting in our chair."

Our sixth-grade Spanish class is working on a fun fashion project. My friends and I have collected the names of lots of French, Italian and American designers, but we don't know many designers who are Hispanic. Do you?

You will find Hispanic designers showing collections in London, Milan, Paris, New York -- as well as Madrid and Barcelona.

Three of the best-known Hispanic designers in New York are Carolina Herrera from Venezuela, Oscar de la Renta from the Dominican Republic and Fernando Sanchez from Spain.

For information about designers from a particular country, write to the trade department of the country's embassy in Washington, D.C.

While you are checking out Hispanic designers, you might do a little research on the Spaniard who was one of the great designers of this century -- Cristobal Balenciaga.

Balenciaga was born in 1895 near San Sebastian on the Bay of Biscay when it was the summer residence of the Spanish court.

By the age of 14 he was copying couturier clothes. He went on to train as a tailor and at the age of 21 opened his own shop in San Sebastian.

Twenty years later, after establishing himself as Spain's leading couturier, Balenciaga moved to Paris in the mid-'30s.

Renowned for his mastery of tailoring, he was responsible for many postwar fashion firsts, including the three-quarter-length sleeve, the stand-away collar and the "sack," the dress we now know as the "chemise."

Balenciaga closed his Paris fashion house in 1968 and retired to Spain. He died there in 1972.

We are members of a travelers' club that is having its annual black-tie dinner next month. Instead of the usual beaded dress for this occasion I want to be more original and find an outfit that calls to mind the places we have visited and the fun we have had. Our last trip was a safari in Kenya. Have you any ideas?

It would be much more romantic and fun to dress in the spirit of the party. One point to remember when putting together your outfit is that the difference between day and evening wear is becoming less apparent.

Simple daytime shapes look great for evening in glamorous, shiny fabrics. You can also mix daytime and evening looks -- such as a safari shirt with a glamorous skirt or pants.

Milan designer Miuccia Prada, a major influence on '90s dressing, delights in doing this.

In her spring collection she put a military shirt with a brocade skirt that was slit high at the sides to show sexy legs. She added high-heeled sandals in an antiqued floral print. The total look is romantic, mysterious and modern.

I take after my late father, who was tall, thin and bony.

I usually hide my skinny frame and legs under separates, but now that dresses are back I'd like to get one that would flatter me.

What shape do you recommend?

A shirtdress. We have quite a selection of shirtdresses this season. Look for one in a soft fabric so that when you tie the belt you can blouse it gently to make your figure look fuller. Breast pockets are a good idea, and so are long sleeves that you can roll to the most flattering length.

A dusty earth color could look good and so could a small print -- perhaps a medium dot, a geometric or an animal. (This season's newest look is a reptile.)

Pub Date: 2/13/97

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