All sewn up


Feminine fashion is back, and one of the prettiest looks is embroidery.

Whether it's a sweet rose on a sheer top or elegant gold designs on a silk organza scarf, decorative needlework adds a romantic flourish to summer dressing.

In a season rich with beading, lace and tulle, embroidery still stands out, embellishing even the most casual styles. Those who adore the detail needn't worry about leaving their summer love behind. Embroidered sweaters look big for fall.

Changing fashions at Saint Laurent

The fashion world is abuzz over the recent appointment of Alber Elbaz (right) as designer and creative director for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.

The legendary Saint Laurent is stepping down, leaving all eyes on Elbaz, the tousle-haired, 37-year-old designer.

Elbaz was hired away from the French fashion house Guy Laroche, where he earned a reputation for fresh, exuberant styles that met with mixed reviews.

Born in Morocco, he was raised in Israel and moved to the United States in his 20s. He got his start as an assistant designer at Geoffrey Beene. Elbaz will officially begin after presenting his last collection for Guy Laroche in October.

Saint Laurent will continue to design haute couture. But curiosity seekers will have to wait until March 1999 to see Elbaz's first ready-to-wear collection for Yves Saint Laurent.

A scent of the East

Dani Levin was wandering through the trade show when she noticed it: the beguiling scent of jasmine, the sweetness of vanilla, the hint of sandalwood.

"It kept smelling better and better ... clean and fresh," says the buyer for Fields of Pikesville. She followed the fragrance to the source: The perfume was Datura by the Parisian company Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier.

Dani and her husband, Jeffrey, owner of the store, admired the complexity and originality of the scents, which, for instance, bring together Moroccan roses, papaya and musk. The store now carries seven of the company's fragrances for women and five for men.

Even the packaging -- a jeweled crystal bottle -- is ornate. Prices PTC begin at $70 for 3 ounces.

It's a guy thing

Finally, fashion help for the befuddled male.

"Men's Wardrobe," the latest book in the Chic Simple series, aims to take the guesswork out of guy attire.

Kim Johnson Gross and Jeff Stone, who created the series and contribute to In Style magazine, have come up with a book that's part how-to, part encyclopedia - with plenty of pop culture references thrown in.

Divided into chapters that cover work, home, sports and social dressing, the book includes tips on what to wear for casual Fridays, how to master the bow tie and where to shop.

Some of the advice seems silly - "Never blow your nose with a pocket square" -- and the soundtrack suggestions (play Fred Astaire's "Steppin' Out" while dressing for a night on the town) are a bit much, but "Men's Wardrobe" is still practical and fun - and if you run out now you can still buy one as a Father's Day gift.

Pub Date: 6/21/98

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