NEW YORK -- If, like Vahida Hodzic, you're a self-respecting up-to-the-minute city kid, there's one fashion accessory you simply can't be without, dahling.
Your bubble necklace.
According to Vahida, who is in fourth grade at Public School 111 here, it's all the rage. "Most of my friends have them," she says.
"Watch," she adds, as she slips around her neck a miniature perfume bottle attached to a black cord. She dips the top's attached wand back into the bottle's sudsy liquid, and, bringing it to her lips, blows a stream of tiny soapy spheres.
"See. It's fun," she says. "Everyone just loves to blow bubbles."
Over the last couple of months, toy stores have seen a steady lathering of interest in this new kiddie-jewel. "I got 200 pieces on the shelf," says 34th St. Kiddie City manager, Mark Jordan, explaining that his plastic versions go for $1.49 a pop. "I'm selling 100 a week."
It was adults who started the fad in the first place, claims Providence, R.I., costume jeweler Luca Razza.
Razza, who popularized the best-selling Mood Ring over a decade ago, takes credit for inventing the bubble pendant, as he calls it.
Razza was the first to market the product last summer starting with $20 Milan-made bottles in Lord & Taylor and Macy's.
Madonna and Christie Brinkley were seen using the bubbler.
Millions of cheap imitations, geared to the kiddie-market, have since arrived in stores. Even Barbie has jumped onto the bubblewagon. Her plastic bubbler, $3.99, comes in pink or blue bubbles.
Regardless of what manufacturers comes up with, there'll be one group who will never be won over.
"The boys," explains Vahida Hodzic. "When we begin to blow bubbles, they yell 'Bubbleface, Bubbleface.'"