Dressing up with L.L. BeanL.L. Bean, the...

Dressing up with L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean, the Maine catalog company best known for rugged basics, has branched out. This month, it's introducing Freeport Studio, a line of clothes and accessories for women who eventually have to change out of their hiking shorts and T-shirts.

The collection, which includes sandwashed silk dresses, drawstring pants and raffia totes, marks the first new brand in the company's 86-year history.

"This is something our customer has been asking for ... garments that fit the Monday-through-Friday part of their lives," says Fran Philip, senior vice president of Freeport Studio. "We see this as solution dressing."

Prices are moderate, with clothes ranging from $35 to $150. Catalogs are being mailed this week. For more information, call 800-554-4071.

A tie for fun

Maybe we should have seen this coming.

After the jokes comes ... the tie.

Viagra, the most-talked-about drug since penicillin, has made it into Nicole Miller's funky neckwear collection.

So far, the black tie - festooned with yellow bananas and blue pills - has been such a hit at J.S. Edwards in Pikesville that the store has had to reorder several times. Owner Edward Steinberg even created a display around the $60 ties adding a playful prop: an empty Viagra pill bottle.

"People are taken aback at first," he says. "But then they chuckle,

- M.C.

Geoffrey Beene goes to China

Geoffrey Beene, who has shown his designs at American embassies in Italy, France, Belgium and Austria, is going to stage his first fashion show in China, on March 26 at the China International Clothing and Accessories Fair in Beijing.

"It's a new adventure, a new continent, a way to further the cause of American design," says Beene (below).

Dorothy Fuller, an inter-national apparel-industry consultant who is working with the Chinese government to prepare the event, says about 100,000 people are expected to attend the four-day fair, which will end with the Beene show.

A longtime advocate of American design that is free of European influences, Beene, 71, will show highlights from his career including his sequined football-jersey dress of 1967, his "Little King" sequined comic-strip evening dress of 1971 and his "ballgown of the 21st century" (a black silk-crepe jumpsuit) of 1989.

- New York Times

Supermodel makeup

Would you want to look like supermodel Stephanie Seymour, and for only $19.99, plus tax?

Many women would jump at the chance, which is probably why the Victoria's Secret model was asked to write the latest book in the popular "Dummies" series: "Beauty Secrets for Dummies" (IDG Books Worldwide).

Not that Seymour's promising a miracle in a yellow-and-black paperback. "I'm not telling everybody they can look like me if they buy this book," Seymour says. Instead, she hopes women will use the 322-page paperback as a reference.

She says there's one beauty product she can't live without: Lip gloss.

"I'm a lip-gloss junkie," she says. "I have it in every coat pocket, purse, car and drawer in the house."

Her favorite: Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. It's only $1.50 per tube, proving that the right makeup doesn't have to cost a fortune.

- Knight Ridder/Tribune

Style File welcomes fashion news and tips. Send suggestions to A.M. Chaplin, Style File, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519.

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